With the road season well under way, this weekend saw Brits flying over the distances, all around the world. It also saw the close of the cross-country season as well as the indoors in Belgrade at the World Championships
There was no debate about where to start this week’s round up except with Scott’s superb performance in Serbia. Over in Belgrade, it was a mixture of emotions for Team GB, but the men’s 3,000m final was where GB dominated and the excitement was brought home.
Following on from his British and European indoor 5,000m record of 12:57.08, we knew Marc Scott was in shape to contest with the world’s best. He ran a smart race and held on to the back of the front pack to be sure he remained in the mix. It was in the final 200m lap that he pushed on and made the other competitors work. He slotted into third place and consolidated his bronze medal position in the final straight.
He ran a season best of 7:42, and his medal is the first to be won by a Brit in the World Indoor Championships over 3,000m since Rob Denmark’s bronze in 1991. Scott was beaten by Selemon Barega and Lamecha Girma, both from Ethiopia.
The women’s 3,000m saw some impressive running from the USA as they took home a silver medal in between two of Ethiopia’s finest. It was a close race until the last lap when the front five proved their class and pushed away from the pack.
The win went to Lemlem Hailu (8:41.82) followed by Elinor Purrier St. Pierre (8:42.04) and then Ejgayehu Taye (8:42.23). Great Britain’s Amy-Eloise Markovc finished 15th in a solid time of 8:53.57.
As she announced on her Instagram later that night, she was disappointed with her performance, in what was a messy race, and feels it does not accurately reflect her current fitness and strength, but 15th in the world is an impressive start to the year. Unfortunately, GB’s second representative, Amelia Quirk, had to withdraw from the event due to injury.
Selman steps up
What was expected to be a huge indoor champs for Keely Hodgkinson with her going in as the favourite, instead saw her faced with a difficult decision. With a small tear in her quad diagnosed following a scan the day before she was due to race the 800m heats, it was between racing a risking making things worse or withdrawing from the meet.
Alongside her incredible team, Hodgkinson made the mature decision to withdraw and focus on getting healthy ahead of a busy summer season. Hodgkinson was gutted, and as stated in her BBC interview, her entire family and ventured out to Belgrade to watch her race, but we all know she is here for the long run. Therefore, we commend her on her brave decision.
With Hodgkinson out of the picture, the gold medal was up for the taking. GB’s Jenny Selman had a brave and strong race in the heat, finishing third behind Hailu and Goule. Sadly, her time of 2:02.00 fell 0.01 seconds short of pushing her through to the final. Selman’s first GB vest was as a junior in 2009 at the European Championships but she was determined to make it as a senior on the world stage and this year it happened.
The women’s 800m final had not happened at the time of publishing, so we will update you as soon as the results come in.
Gourley claims 5th
It was GB’s Eliot Giles who we were all excited to watch in the men’s 800m. Sadly the 800m event wasn’t meant to be at this meet, as Giles too withdrew due to an underlying injury. Guy Learmonth had a solid run to narrowly miss out on making the final but is more determined than ever to prove his strength over the summer.
In the women’s 1500m, it was Erin Wallace in the GB vest. Despite a strong run of 4:12.46 to come 5th in her heat, Wallace sadly didn’t progress into the final.
The men’s 1500m however saw GB’s Neil Gourley transition into the final after a win in his heat. In the final, Gourley proved his strength on the world stage as he hung on to the front group led my Ingebritsen as they began to pull away in the final 400m. He ran strong and held on for 5th place. It was a dramatic race as world record holder Jakob Ingebritsen had the win taken away from him by Tefera.
Tearing up the tarmac
Over in the big apple, some of GB’s 2021 Olympians took to the roads. The NYRR Half Marathon begins in Brooklyn in Prospect Park before crossing East River via the Manhattan Bridge.
They then race through Times Square before finishing in Central Park. Following on from her pacing duties in the Nagoya Marathon, where she paced to 30k in 1 hour 41 minutes, Charlotte Purdue proved she was in cracking form.
She came in 6th in 69:50 which puts her fitness in a strong place ahead of Boston Marathon. Ben Connor, also testing his current fitness, took to the roads of New York. Connor crossed the line in 63:59. Hoka athlete, Steph Twell, also took place in the event and finished in 74:40.
— David Monti (@d9monti) March 20, 2022
Marathoners shape up for Manchester
It was Team New Balance Manchester that dominated at the Wilmslow Running Festival in the half marathon. Jonny Mellor took the win ahead of teammate Ross Millington. Mellor continued to prove the form he is in with a 64:24 clocking. Millington crossed the line behind Mellor in 65:14. Vale Royal’s Chris Perry was a close third, stopping the clock on 65:36 for third. Mellor and Millington feature on the start list for the Manchester Marathon in two weeks which’s forms the England trial for the Commonwealth Games as well as the British trial for the European Championships and European 50k Champs.
The women were just as speedy as the men with Anna Bracegirdle (Salford Harries &AC) dominating the race running 73:21 – a PB by 90s showing her form just two weeks out from Manchester Marathon. It was Alison Lavender who came in shortly behind her in 75:18, with Abigail Howarth (Vale Royal AC) take home the bronze medal position in 75:41. Kirsty Longley also had a very strong race to come in fourth in 76:50.
Over in Surrey the Fleet Half Marathon also saw some fine performances. Over the fast course which veers through a mixture of urban and rural roads, Kurt Taylor was the strongest. The Bristol & West AC runner earned himself a clear lead as he covered the 13.1-mile distance in a time of 66:49. Aldershot’s Stephen Blake worked hard to stay clear of third place finisher Neil Kevern. He crossed the line in 67:23 with Kevern the Bracknell runner finishing in 67:36.
In a time of 1:18:55, Jenna Mcgrevey was the fastest woman of the day. It was Annabel Granger (Bristol & West AC) who followed in second, also winning the women’s V45 category in 1:19:12. Megan Davis was next in 1:19:23.
Avery claims national trail title
It is three years since the last national trail running short course race was won by Georgia Wood and Ben Livesey in 2019. There was a suprise name on the start list this year as Kate Avery took the title winning in 1:22:51 over the trail half course in the Forest of Dean. Avery finished ahead of Molly Browne (1:24:42) and Chelsea’s Baker (1:24:42).
The men’s title was claimed by Ben Robinson 1:10:29 who was pushed hard by Lee Gratton (1:10:52) with Lee Stopford third in 1:13:28.
Astin & Lawrence lead strong fields at Eastleigh 10k
Many athletes continued to prove their fitness on the roads at the Hendy Eastleigh 10k. The beautiful spring sunshine and a drop in the wind provided perfect conditions for the athletes to chase their personal bests, and that they did!
In the men’s race, Alex Lawrence of Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets took the win with a time of 29:28. A cracking sub 30-minute run which is almost a huge 3-minute PB! His previous best was 32:19 which stood from 2018, showing that lockdown really did him some good!
Daniel Mulryan (Thames Valley Harriers) ran 30:10 to earn himself second place which is also a lifetime best by 50 seconds! Third place went to William Cork (Brighton & Hove AC) in 30:26 who was followed by Aiden Lennan (Southampton AC) in 30:29.
The women’s event was also stacked full of best times. Sarah Astin, the Belgrave Harrier who has already secured herself a spot on Isle of Man’s Commonwealth Games team took home the win. She ran a 49 second lifetime best of 33:18 which also placed her 43rd overall.
Just seven seconds behind Astin was Tessa McCormick (Vale Royal AC) who bettered her PB set just two weeks ago at the Trafford 10k. She knocked 33 seconds off to run 33:25 and will definitely be hoping to keep that rate of progression up!
Third place went to Tonbridge star, Charlotte Alexander. Following a cracking 5k PB in Battersea a few weeks ago, Alexander took to the roads in her 10k debut. She ran a solid 34:15 to put her 21 seconds ahead of fourth place, Kate Estlea (34:36).
Wednesday’s Nottingham Winter 5k Series was won in 15:44 by Edward Mitchell, with Will Bowran in second (15:52) and Finley Ball in third (16:19). Jenny Newbery won the women’s race in 19:35, followed by Helen Woods (19:49) and Charley Whysall (20:32).
The SPAR Craic 10k saw some speedy times set in Belfast as Emma Mitchell took home the clear win in a solid time of 34:39. Next to cross the line was Dearbhla Cox in 37:13 and Elisoa Crawford in 38:46.
Just tipping under the 31-minute barrier was Eskander Turki as he ran clear from the field to take home the title. Turki stopped the clock on 30:59 with Stephen Connolly coming in shortly behind in 31:51. Peter McGarry was the third athlete to finish in 32:31.
Nimmock returns with a win
At the Cupar 5, course records were broken, and fast times were run. Jamie Crowe of Central AC came across the line 45 seconds ahead of second place. He clocked 23:51, a course record for the event, followed by Guy Evans-Haggerty in 24:36. Third place for the men was then secured by Mark Doherty in 25:01. The leader for the women’s event was Dundee Hawkhill Harrier Sandy McDougall. She was an impressive 28th overall, first female finisher, and first female V40 runner. She clocked 30:25. Host club athlete, Jennifer Spence (Fife AC) came second in 31:46 ahead of Kristin Lownie (PH Racing Club) in 31:51.
The Victoria Park Open 5 was another 5 mile this race took place this weekend. It was great to see so many London clubs battling it out in the park. Edward Chuck (Dulwich Runners AC) came out on top in his 5 mile debut with a speedy time of 24:18. After some struggles with injury, it was great to see Highgate Harriers Alex Bampton back in form and with a smile on his face. Bampton clocked 24:25 to finish 6 seconds ahead of James Connor of Havering AC.
For the women it was Dani Nimmock who showed a fantastic return to racing. In her first race back after having a baby, Nimmock was a force to be reckoned with. With nearly one-minute on second place, she was able to work on testing herself amongst the men. Nimmock ran 28:32 with Chloe Lewis coming in shortly behind her in 29:38. It was a close battle between second and third as Annabel Arnold came in a near third in 29:41.
In the RunThrough Olympic Park 10k Jens Sudmeier took home the win in 33:23 in the men’s race, Courtney Hyde won the women’s race in 41:52 and Alex Worth won the prefer not to say category in 40:55.
At another of RunThrough’s events in Hampton Court there was some top running over the half marathon distance. James Laing secured the win in 70:41, a time that is not too far from his personal best for this early in the year. Armana Rai had a brilliant run in the women’s event to secure the win in 81:26. This was a HUGE best time for Rai as her previous time from 2019 sat at 84:52.
Away from London in Suffolk, Great Yarmouth Seafront Half Marathon continued the streak of halves this weekend. The overall win went to Noble Pro’s Marcus Sladden in a solid 76:20 and Lindy-Lee Folscher of Tri Anglia secured the first female finishing place in 81:38.
Continuing the streak of fast 10k’s ran this weekend was Jamie Arnold at the Nantwich 10k. The V45 City of Stoke athlete ran an absolutely cracking time of 31:19. This qualifies as a PB for Arnold whose previous best stood at 31:34. It was a close race between the lead athletes as James Tilley of Nantwich RC clocked 31:28. He was followed home by Vale Royal’s Raif Serif in 32:06.
Also from Vale Royal was the female winner, Sarah Dufour-Jackson. She ran 36:02 as an U23. Second place was secured by Donna Sherwin (City of Stoke AC) in 36:26 and third by Lucy Matthews (37:44).
It didn’t stop there for the 10k’s. Fast times continued to be set at the Wakefield 10k. With a convincing win, Mark Bostock from Wakefield District stood at the top of the podium as he finished the course in 31:16. The fastes female of the day was Sarah Potter (Victoria Park City of Glasgow AC) who ran 35:16 for the distance.
The Alloa Half Marathon was another half to add to this weekend’s list. The senior men’s winner was Josh Wood of Central AC in 71:06. He was closely followed by Fife AC’s Ryan Lafferty in 71:19 and Andrew Rolland in 71:24. Jennifer Wetton, 1st female and 29th overall finished the event in 79:01. She had a clear lead as the next female runner to cross the line after a solid run was Catriona Buchanan (Central AC) in 83:35.
The Twin Lakes 10M / 20M saw female domination take place. Natalie Lawrence (North Herts Road Runners) had an awesome race to take the overall win. She ran a cracking 53:25 for the 10-mile distance and David Down secured the male gold medal position in 64:38. Over double the distance, Neil Solanki gained the win in 1:51:26 as did Ania Gabb in 2:11:14.
Also over 10 miles was the Larne 10 mile event. North Belfast Harrier Conal McCambridge was the event winner in 53:51. He was followed by Ballymena Runner James Hamilton (54:15) and David Hamilton (54:35). Sarahjane Cooke in 59:22 was the women’s champion. Next to cross the line was Karen Alexander (63:42) and Sharon Leetch (63:46).
At the Wigan Festival Half Marathon, Marco Parolin showed his strength over the rest of the field. He took the overall win in 73:27. The first female runner to cross the line was Alice Alcock (Wigan & District Harriers & AC) in 87:37.
Across the country in Brentwood, there was yet another half marathon of the weekend. Joshua Entwistle took the win from Crispian Bloomfield. Entwistle clocked 69:54 and Bloomfield 70:53. Third place was then taken by James Rygate in 72:37. The fastest lady was Rebecca Bunting (London Heathside Runners AC) in 78:14. The second fastest time was set by Charlotte Bishop in 83:07 ahead of Stephanie Migliorini (Leigh on Sea Striders) in 85:42.
It doesn’t stop there for the half marathon results. Stafford Half Marathon was another race taking place this weekend. Cole Gibbens set a huge personal best by almost 2.5 minutes. The Invicta East Kent AC athlete crossed the line in 68:57 for a well-earned win. It was Oliver Harradence (Royal Sutton Coldfie) in 69:28 who consolidated himself third position before Samuel Evans then crossed the line in 72:14.
Rebecca Harrison achieved a first-place finish for the women in 82:08 (City of Stoke). It was then her teammate Kelly Butler who came in second (85:50) before Olivia Harris (85:54).
In the Weymouth Half Tom Gurney secured the win in 73:10 and so did Gill Pearson in 84:26.
Outdoors…on the track!
Whilst the indoor season came to a close, this weekend saw some individuals opening up their track season! The Birmingham University Winter Throws and Distance Meet saw athletes compete over the 5,000m distance. In the Hoka Elite Women’s race, Rachael Franklin (ManxH) set a 17 second PB in what was a very solo race. The Isle of Man athlete clocked 16:01, which was almost a whole minute ahead of second place.
After battling back from injury, it was great to see Emily Moyes (AFD) back out on the track. She clocked 17:00, closely followed by Alexa Mesham (Bath University) in 17:01.
The men’s Hoka Elite 5,000m was also quite a spaced-out event but not quite like the domination we saw in the women’s race. Cardiff’s Michael Ward took home the gold medal position in 13:57 ahead of Liam Rawlings (14:08) and Adam Peacock (14:24).
Farewell to the mud.
The cross-country season was brought to a close with only a handful of events occurring this weekend. The North Eastern Relay Championships saw victory for Gateshead Harriers in an accumulative time of 39:04 in the senior women’s team event. They had an impressive lead on the second-place club, Crook AC, who clocked 43:02. For the men, Sunderland Harriers took the win in 45:05 with Tyne Bridge Harriers taking second place in 46:53.
The English Schools Cross Country was fortunate enough to see the sunshine to close the winter season. The senior girls winner was Staffordshire’s Louise Hackett. She ran herself to a clear win ahead of Megan Hornung (Avon) and Kaitlyn Sheppard (Gloucestershire).
The senior boys title was secured by Louis Small (Kent). Closely behind him was Cambridgeshire’s Alex Melloy and Cumbria’s Fraser
Due to postponement, the Kent Fitness League also took place, but results have not yet been published.
A cracking weekend all round. Well done to all that raced!