Distance Running News, 21-22 April

Joe Willgoss defied the heat to produce an impressive personal best performance with a perfectly paced race at the London Marathon. Starting with a 19:50 spilt for the opening downhill 5km, Willgoss soon found his rhythm and passed through 10km in 40:13 with a 20:25 split. Metronomic splits of 20:31 and 20:27 then followed as the Balcarras maths teacher passed through halfway in 1:25:30, perfectly on schedule to challenge his personal best of 2:51:14 set at last year’s Mont Saint-Michel marathon. Whilst the majority of runners struggled in the record temperature and started to slow, Willgoss maintained his pace with splits of 20:27, 20:17 and 20:21 through to 35km. With just 4.5 miles to go the Cheltenham athlete then picked up the pace with the next 5km in 19:49, before speeding up again over the final 2.2km to produce negative splits for an impressive personal best of 2:50:27 to finish in 447th position. Ahead of Willgoss, it was Edd Charlton-Weedy who was the first Cheltenham athlete home. It was the Army athletes first road marathon and despite the heat he decided to stick to his pre-race plan and opened up with a 36:37 10km before passing 10km in 79:15. However, with the temperatures taking their toll Charlton-Weedy was forced to drop his pace and decided to enjoy the event rather than chase the clock as he crossed the line in 2:48:48 for 373rd position. Closing in on his clubmate was veteran Dave Tomlin who was contesting his seventh London event. The 45 year old went through 10km in 37:20 on his way to a half way split of 81:12 as looked to meet his 2:45 target. However, like most of the field Tomlin slowed in the second 13.1 miles, although he was still pleased to record 2:49:27 given the conditions. Andy Gardiner made it four Cheltenham runners under three hours with a well-paced race with splits of 41:24 and 88:26 as he went on to cross the line in 2:59.21. In her first race as a Harrier Alice Earle impressed as she went through 10km in 47:06 on route to a halfway time of 1:39:53. Slowing only slightly Earle finished as the 316th lady home in 3:23:35. Matt Lambourne and Lee Groenewegen both struggled in the heat, but showed real determination to complete the 26.2 miles in 3:55:06 and 4:16:39 respectively.

Elsewhere Jacob Pickering got his track season off to an impressive start as he took four seconds off his 1500m PB with a time of 4:08.80 as he comfortably won the B race at the British Milers Club regional meeting in Birmingham. Meanwhile Gareth Edwards took second place at the Peopleton Scenic Six multi-terrain race in Worcestershire. Weekend parkruns saw the Harriers spread over a wide variety of locations with Marcus England (16:30) setting a new course record as he took the win at the seventh staging of the Gloucester City event. There was also a win for Andrew van Kints in Guernsey, with his time of 17:09 the second fastest recorded in the events 10th staging an indication that the course is not one for fast times. Kevin Sheppard (16:30) also claimed a win at Tewkesbury whilst Alex Doherty (17:49) was first across the line at the Evesham parkrun. Amber Watson (21:56) was the second lady home at the Studley event in Austrailia whilst closer to home Tom Keylock (19:26) claimed fifth place in Cirencester. Hannah D’Ambrosio (21:34) was the fourth lady at the Cheltenham event in Pittiville Park where Ian Giles (19:43) also had a run out.