Philippa Taylor won the Wolverton 5 on Saturday but her race was nearly undone by a flapping shoelace.
The 49 year-old Nene Valley Harrier had to stop mid-race to tie her lace up after it had worked itself loose and risked tripping her up at any moment.
The lead which Taylor had built up vanished as she frantically re-tied her troublesome lace.
To her horror, disaster nearly struck in the last mile when the same lace came undone again. But this time the England international carried on and crossed the line safely in a time of 30:34 which gave her a slender two-second advantage over runner-up Emily Antcliffe of Harrow AC.
The race doubled as the Eastern Masters 5-mile Championship and Taylor took the gold in the regional event.
Phil Martin of Bushfield Joggers was also an Eastern Masters gold medallist, finishing the race in 21st place with a time of 27:33. Martin was joined on the podium by Peterborough AC’s bronze medal winner James Sadlier.
Evergreen Eric Winstone won the male Over 65 silver with a 36:19 clocking.
Ruth Jones was the 11th lady home in 34:38 as she progresses towards full fitness after a protracted spell on the sidelines.
Jones’ former team-mate at Nene Valley, Paul Lunn, ran impressively as he finished eighth in 26:04. Lunn now races in the colours of Bedford and County AC.
Nene Valley’s Charlotte Taylor qualified to represent England after storming to 17th place at the weekend in the European cross-country trials in Liverpool.
Taylor showed no signs of jet-lag after her flight from San Francisco during the week, and continued the rich vein of form which saw her finish 10th in the USA National Collegiate Cross-Country Championships last week.
Taylor will now line up as a member of the GB Under 23 team at an international fixture in Italy later this month.
Two other Harriers raced at Liverpool with James McCrae finishing 50th in the Under 20 race and Megan Ellison 32nd in the Under 17 girls race.