After a wet and rainy week, the weekend saw some impressive performances both on the road and off.

Down in Portsmouth, the weekend was kickstarted with the Great South 5k Run. After a second-place finish last year, Sonja Vernikov returned with a title to claim. Vernikov did just that and stormed through the line to first place in a time of 17:36.

Following a tough battle with injury since the start of the year, Portsmouth’s own Rhiannon Dunlop made a fighting return to the road and proved her strength is back. Dunlop was second lady to the cross the line, taking home a shiny new 18 second road 5k PB of 17:41.

Completing the women’s podium was V50 athlete, Lucy Elliott of Winchester. In what was Elliott’s first 5k on the road since 2007, she ran an impressive 18:09 which puts her at the top of the V50 5k road rankings for 2019 so far!!

The men’s race along the Portsmouth promenade was just as speedy. Giving him the chance to spin his legs out ahead of next weekend’s Frankfurt Marathon, Paul Navesey ran himself to a first-place finish. Navesey clocked 14:56, proving speed is definitely not an issue for the marathon runner.

Just 10 seconds behind in 15:06 was James Heneghan. The U23 athlete ran an incredible 54 second road PB for second place. In third position was Portsmouth’s U20 runner, Sam Charig. In yet another PB time, Charig ran a 63 second lifetime best of 15:21.

McColgan dominates Great South Run

The main event took place on Sunday. The Simplyhealth Great South Run saw an abundance of strong, fast athletes take to Portsmouth’s roads over the 10-mile distance. Finishing off her season on a high, after a 10th place finish at the IAAF World Championships, Eilish McColgan dominated the women’s race.

The conditions couldn’t have been more different to those in Doha with a chilly start to the morning. Eilish took on the 10-mile challenge for the second time and defended her title from last year. McColgan ran a gutsy race, pushing the pace on from the get go, distancing herself from her opponents straight away.

After sustaining an impressive lead throughout, she smashed her mother previous best, clocking a Scottish record of 51:36 and putting herself second on the British all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe.

After a fight to the finish for second-place, it was Swansea athlete, Verity Ockenden, that secured the silver medal as she pushed away from Jenny Nesbitt in the final 200m. In what has been a successful year for Ockenden, she clocked a time of 55:15. In her 10-mile debut, the 2019 Inter Counties Cross Country champion, Jenny Nesbitt, crossed the finish line just behind Ockenden in 55:18. A very impressive debut performance!


Scott beats a high quality men’s field

The men’s race was just as exciting. Whilst there was quite a pack in the early miles, it was Mark Scott who pushed away to become the 2019 Great South Run champion. Scott took the title from the 3-time winner, Chris Thompson, in a time of 46:57 with a clear lead.

After what can only be described as a breakthrough year for Ben Connor, he continued to prove his strength over the 10-mile race. Connor stormed his way to a second-place finish in 47:16. Emile Cairess gave one of the performances of the day, achieving an U23 British 10-mile record for third position. Cairess, who has been going from strength to strength crossed the line with 47:32 on the clock! Very impressive!

England team take on Toronto

Across the seas, was the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Representing Team England was Nick Earl for the men, Johanna O’Regan and Katie Drew for the women. Also competing was Welsh athlete, Josh Griffiths.

At the halfway mark, it was Wales’ Griffiths who was leading for the British men in 13th place, followed by Earl in 18th. Griffiths did well to hold onto his position and finished just 1 minute outside of his PB in 2:15:20! Earl too held onto his 18th position and crossed the line in 2:18:03.

In the women’s race, O’Regan gave a strong performance doing England proud. The Riverside athlete finished 4th in her age category and an impressive 22nd woman overall in a time of 2:45:43 and Kate Drew finished in 26th in 2:49:31.

England Team. Credit: Andy Hobdell

Davis continues her stunning form

Around the 4-lap course in Battersea park, the Self-transcendence Golden Leaf 10k took place. The men’s title went to Serpentine’s Chris Wright, in 31:12, a 21 second seasons best. Just behind Wright in the silver medal position was Paul Piper of West4Harriers. Piper had an astonishing race and ran himself to a 33 second life time best! Completing the men’s top 3, with a time of 32:16 was Paul Prothero.

Stealing the show in the women’s race was Clapham Chasers’ Steph Davis. After a phenomenal summer season clocking 33:07 at the Night of 10,000 PB’s, Davis’ strong form continues after a win at last weeks Oxford Half Marathon.

The Clapham athlete crossed the line in 33:21, 22 seconds faster than her previous best time. Davis told us, “Chinmoy races are great events, and I was delighted to run a PB as part of my marathon build. Also enjoyed winning a pineapple, as it’s my coaches favourite fruit!”.

Quick times in Cambridge

Also over the 10k distance was the Cambridge Town & Gown 10k. The run takes its competitors along a scenic route through many of Cambridge’s historic landmarks. However for our leading runner’s, the sheer speed at which the ran meant there was little time to take in the sights.

It was Cambridge & Coleridge AC who achieved mass domination across the board. After just missing out on breaking the 30-minute barrier, C&C’s Joseph Smith front man ran his way to this year’s gold medal in 30:01. A devastatingly close, but extremely impressive time which was a 1 minute 40 second PB for Smith.

Adding to the success of Cambridge & Coleridge was Ben Jones, who ran himself to an impressive 30 second lifetime best, clearly breaking the 32-minute barrier in 31:40. Concluding the men’s top three was Chris Darling in 32:01, another incredibly close performance.

In the women’s race, speedy times and lifetime bests were also in abundance. It was Georgina Schwiening of Cambridge Runners who secured first place and a 15 second personal best in 34:06, improving on her time from the Vitality 10,000 earlier in the year. The second female athlete was Emma Hodson of Cambridge University in 36:03, another PB by over a minute! The final medal went to High Harriers AC’s Rachel Doherty in 37:02.

In a weekend filled with 10k’s, The Hove Prom 10k took place. It was Matt Bradford of Lewes who took home the men’s title with the overall win in a time of 32:38. Only 4 seconds behind Bradford in second place was James Skinner. Skinner stormed across the line in 32:42, a 6 second lifetime best. Rounding up the men’s podium, was Richard Clayton in 33:12. A strong run from all three men.

It was Arena 80 AC that dominated the women’s race with the top two positions being secured by their athletes. Caroline Hoyte ran herself to a clear gold medal position finish in 36:15. Hoyte currently stands second on the 2019 V45 10k rankings for 2019 so far with a time of 35:30 behind Jo Pavey. Hoyte was followed by clubmate Tara Shanahan in 37:51. Shanahan was just 5 seconds of her best time for 2019. Completing the medal positions was Elspeth Turner of Horsham Blue Star Harriers in 38:17.

At the City of Preston 10k there were some speedy winning times. Mohammad Abu-Rezeq of Altrincham & District AC secured himself the men’s title in a rapid time of 30:59 in his 6th road 10k of the year. The champion of the women’s race in 35:49 was Kirsty Longley in her 8th road 10k of the year!!

Brits on the streets of Amsterdam

Over at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon Ross Skelton at a fine run to finish 17th in 2:19:03. Robert Wilson ran 2:27:08 and Nathan Harrison was the third Brit across the line in 2:28:33.

Hannah Oldroyd had a fantastic run clocking a negative split on her way to 2:44:53 to improve her PB of 2:45:39 set in London this year. Hannah’s performance saw her finish 11th female overall. Perhaps the performance of the day was Victoria Park Harrier Mary Hammond who destroyed her previous PB of 3:03 to run 2:49:25 to finish 15th. In what appears to be her first full year of running Hammond is clearly a huge talent. Rachel Davies was the third British female n a time of 3:00:39.

In the Amsterdam Half Marathon five of the top 10 were British or Irish athletes. Sean Renfer was the finished 5th in 69:34 just ahead of 6th placed Jonathan Johnson who ran 69:52. Luke Grenfell-Shaw was 7th in a time of 70:27. Claire Hughes was the first British female in 84:45 narrowly ahead of Emily Cousens in 84:55 with Susie Starr finishing in 85:02.

Wycombe and Wimbledon win the Southern XC Relays

Through the mud and over the hills, the South of England Cross-Country Relays took place at Wormwood Scrubs. For the second year in a row, it was Wycombe Phoenix Harriers that took home the win. The winning trio consisted of Mel Wilkins, Alexandra Cook, and Zoe Doyle, with Mel Wilkins running the fastest leg of the day followed by Zoe Doyle.

In the men’s race, it was Hercules Wimbledon that trudged through the mud and water to a first-place finish. The 4-man strong team was led by Will Woodcock followed by Charlie Eastaugh, Finn Johnson, and Ross Franks. It was Alexander Lepêtre of Highgate Harriers that took the fastest leg, followed by Wimbledon’s Ross Franks.

Marathons and Half Marathons across the UK

Over the slightly longer distance this weekend, was the Chiswick Half Marathon. The race ventures through one of West London’s most scenic areas in what is a flat, but challenging course. Plenty of runners proved they were up to the challenge. It was the men’s title, in a time of 1:10:54, that went to Serpentine’s Tony Payne. The runner-up was Bradley Smith in 1:13:36 ahead of third place finisher, Nigel Rackham, in 1:16:59.

Datchet’s Jill Collett ran a strong race to achieve a first-place finish. Collett stopped the clock on 1:22:00 as she ran across the finish line. Following Collett with a time of 1:23:10, was Harriet Freeman of London City AC before another one of Serpentine’s athletes, Annie Emmerson in 1:24:28.

On one of a few marathons of the weekend, the Abingdon Marathon marked the 38th year since its inception. Serpentine’s Jonathon Poole came home in first place in his first marathon of the year, therefore guaranteeing himself a best time for 2019. Poole clocked 2:29:52, just under an impressive 6 minutes ahead of second place. The silver medal went to Sean Edwards of Lytchett Manor Striders in 2:35;46, shortly followed by the Army AA Marathon champion, Gareth Crossley, in 2:39:45.

In her marathon debut, Emma Navesey appeared to be no novice at the 26.2-mile distance. Navesey lead in her brother’s (Paul Navesey) footsteps, proving marathon success runs in the family, and earning herself a gold medal in 2:57:07! Shortly behind the Haywards Heath Harriers athlete was Lisa Rooney of Collingwood AC in 2:58:27. Rounding off the women’s podium was Becky Tovey in a 13-minute personal best of 3:03:16. An impressive performance heading into the final few months of the year.

Impressive performances in Yorkshire

At the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon, there were plenty of fast marathon times clocked, alongside representation from one of Fast Running’s own. The first female finisher was Charlene Jacobs-Conradie with a time of 2:46:50, a cracking 6 minutes faster than her previous best time! Following on from Jacobs-Conradie was Sarah Hill with yet another PB of the weekend in 2:52:21. Third place was obtained by Kate Owens with a superb time of 2:55:14. Fast Running’s Gill Bland was among these runners, giving a strong performance and clocking 2:56:07. Time for Gill to rest up now ahead of Valencia!!

The first male to cross the line at the Yorkshire Marathon was Mark Buckingham in 2hrs 21mins and 42 secs, followed by Daniel Kestrel in 2:24:47, dipping just 8 seconds under his personal best. Richard McDowell completed the men’s podium with a solid 2hrs and 25mins.

In the 10-mile event Matt Kitching ran through the line in first place in a time of 53:10 and Sharon Barlow won the women’s race in 58:56.

In the Chelmsford Marathon it was Alex Manton who took the winner’s title, crossing the line in 2:39:02. The women’s winner, with an impressive 10-minute lead, was Emma Prideaux in 2:53:01. Prideaux proved her strong form by running herself to a 3-mintue personal best.

At the Chesterfield Half Marathon Richard Start secured first place with a time of 71:52 and Susan Lewis ran herself to the top of the women’s podium in 84:29.

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