As the track and cross country seasons coming to a close, attention is very much focused on the roads. With spring marathon season just around the corner, plenty of athletes have taken to the streets in search of fast racing. James Rhodes brings you the highlights of this weekend’s action.

Loughborough Love

One of the most competitive races of the weekend took place in Loughborough. Prestwood Hall played host to the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, with wins for Mahamed Mahamed and Grace Carson. The races also acted as the final stop on this season’s British Athletics Cross Country Challenge.

Mahamed Mahamed, in his first race since the World Cross Country Championships in Australia last month, recorded a dominant win. Moving clear from the pack after the first lap, he crossed the finish line almost half a minute clear. Behind him, an excellent sprint finish saw Tom Evans just get the better of Jack Gray as the pair completed the podium. Zakariya Mahamed and Jack Millar finished in fourth and fifth respectively.

Jack Gray (44409) alongside Zakariya Mahamed. Photo: Mark Hookway

Grace Carson led the senior women’s race from the early stages, with a 15 second lead at the halfway point on the pack. It was not a lead she was to relinquish, finishing 14 seconds ahead of Gemma Steel and Julie Emmerson. Steel suffered from a fall in the early stages of the race before recovering well.

Luke Birdseye and Megan Harris won the respective U20 races. Innes Fitzgerald continued her dominant form to finish over a minute clear in the U17 race. Craig Shennan won the U17 boy’s competition.

Gemma Steel at Loughborough. Photo: Mark Hookway

Half Marathons Galore

With so many domestic road races this weekend, it is in a way hard to know where to start. As many racers fine tune their marathon preparations, there have been a plethora of half marathons to pick from.

The most competitive of the weekend’s half marathons was in Scotland at the Inverness Half Marathon. The race, in its 38th year, hosted the Scottish Half Marathon Championships for the first time. Impressive depth saw the top three men finish in under 66 minutes, with Fraser Stewart (65:24) leading Lewis Rodgers (65:37) and Hamish Hickey (65:46). Natasha Phillips (71:53) was quickest of the women racing, followed by Fionnuala Ross (72:16) and Virginie Barrand (74:00).

Staying in Scotland, it was a good day for Central AC at the Alloa Half Marathon. Both Jennifer Wetton (78:54) and Cameron Milne (67:27) took victories.

Moving South

Anya Culling produced one of the fastest runs over 13.1 miles this weekend, clocking 75:17 at Saturday’s Battersea Park Half Marathon. Ryan Hogan (71:59) was quickest overall. Josh Grace (65:51) finished with a near two-minute margin at the Paddock Wood Half Marathon ahead of Nick Dawson (67:50) and Dale Seddon (68:55). More impressive, perhaps, was Chelsea Baker (75:38) in finishing over four and a half minutes clear of Rachel Brown (80:10) and Helen Gaunt (80:13).

Taking place as a RunThrough event for the first time was the longstanding Surrey Half Marathon. The Woking-based course continued to be a quick one, with Ruby Woolfe (77:29) and Ed Shepherd (66:49) recording commanding victories. Behind, there were good runs for Eliza Hawthorn (78:14) and Sarah Holt (78:23) to complete the women’s top three. The men’s podium was rounded out by Patrick Martin (68:54) and Ollie Garrod (69:07). The latter somewhat impressively racing less than 24 hours after the XC in Loughborough.

Staying in areas within commuting distances of London, Stephen Bullough (72:46) and Rebecca Piggott (82:41) won the Brentwood Half MarathonalHaHalf Mararhon.

There were wins for David Haylett (76:24) and Rose Waterman (86:51) at the Great Yarmouth Seafront Half Marathon, whilst the Carlisle Half Marathon went to Lydia Barker-Chapman (81:12) and Jonathan Cox (71:12). Nia Rose Noakes (85:53) and Will Draper (68:38) took wins at the Stafford Half Marathon.

Finally, Alisinn Darvell (88:10) and Chris Edwards (80:11) were winners of the Lydd Half Marathon.

Racing Abroad

Tom Mortimer (28:17) took a considerable chunk off his personal best at the Villa de Laredo 10k, finishing third overall. Ellis Cross (29:08) was tenth. The race was won by Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi, his 26:33 the second fastest 10k in history.

A number of Brits took to the streets of Portugal for the Lisbon Half Marathon. Quickest times were recorded by Weynay Ghebresilasie (64:31), Josh Griffiths (65:40), Lily Partridge (71:44), Steph Twell (73:08) and Anna Bracegirdle (75:36).

Milton Keynes Fun

There were four distances for athletes to choose from at the MK Festival of Running on Sunday. Starting with the shortest distance, John Wayland (16:45) and Ally Roskilly (18:55) were quickest in the 5k.

Elliot Hind (33:23) and Elana Albery (40:42) won the 10k, whilst Lizzie Parry (87:40) and Andrew Crossley (77:11) were victorious in the half marathon. It was a good day if your surname was Delderfield and you were racing over 20 miles. Sophie Delderfield (2:08:24) and Luke Delderfield (1:53:34) crossed the line first.

Reducing Distance

As would be expected, there were some excellent performances at the MBNA Chester 10k. Competitive fields in both the women’s and men’s races produced some excellent times. Just eight seconds separated the top two women racing, with Kirsty Langley (35:33) getting the better of Carla Davies (35:41). Almost a minute behind, Joanna Marsden (36:40) completed the top three. Jonny Mellor (29:20) raced well to cross the line first, 16 seconds ahead of Omar Ahmed (29:36) with Charlie Hulson (30:09) third.

Jonny Mellor at the Chester 10k. Photo: Tom Craggs

Given the number of races, a quick fire run through some of the other 10k races this weekend. There were wins for Richard Lovejoy (32:50) and Bethan Jones (38:20) at the Shrewsbury 10k, with Jade Tomlinson (40:41) and Cameron Hannon (33:54) victors at the Tatton Park 10k. Ben Riddell (33:23) and Rachel Brown (38:00) crossed the line first at the Carlisle 10k, Katherine Streams (40:03) and Connor Mcgurk (35:28) doing the same at the Goring 10k.

Staying with G, William Browne (35:37) and Sophie Barnard (44:01) won the Great Yarmouth Seafront 10k. In more multi-terrain conditions, Yi Yang (44:19) and Anna Hicks (45:37) won the Stanton Park Spring 10k and Will Baker (46:55) and Tor Tuckey (54:10) the Deep River Trail 10k.

Earlier in the week, Marley Godden (33:10) and Anne Taylor (44:13) won the Chase the Moon Olympic Park 10k.

Metric Measurements

Max Davis (51:25) and Lucy Richens (64:38) won the Chippenham Spring 10 Mile and Natalie Bunce (64:49) and David Hill (54:07) the Notts 10. It was the turn of Claire McGuigan (58:56) and Scott Rankin (52:32) at the Walled City Derry 10 in Northern Ireland.

In Wales, the San Domenico 10 went to Jacob Tasker (55:00) and Elinor Keetch (68:27). Doubling the distance, Elizabeth Dimond (2:08:30) and Samuel Richards (1:57:22) won the San Domenico 20. Winning by over five minutes, Thomas Brooke (1:55:09) took the honours at the Lydd 20 Mile, with Maeve Kenny (2:16:56) the fastest female.

Elsewhere, Helen Cross (60:26) and Rob Scott (52:05) were victorious at the Thirsk 10. In a lesser raced distance, Elliot Smales (36:13) and Natasha Martin (44:24) took the Burghley 7. Alice Bernstein (47:21) and Rob Webb (38:21) did the same at the Garstang Gallop 7.

Parkrun Alternatives

There remain opportunities for those who want a 5k race that isn’t Parkrun. Dan Pettitt (16:00) and Katy Casterton (18:57) went quickest at the Chase the Moon Olympic Park on Wednesday. A day earlier, it was the turn of Lauren Baker-Little (19:00) and Rob McTaggart (15:54) at the Boscombe Winter Series organised by Poole Runners.

Josie Rawes (17:13) and Jacob Smith (15:14) crossed the line first at the York 5k. Ending this week’s round-up, Paul Riley (18:46) and Sophie Hodson (26:54) doing the same at the Tatton Park 5k.