Distance Running News, 25-28 April

28 April 2019

George Watson made an excellent start to his track season with a big 3000m personal best. Having had a good winter cross country season, the undergraduate knew his previous best time was there for the taking as he contested the Loughborough University Trials. A windy afternoon and a 75 second opening lap didn’t sound like the recipe for fast times, but Watson was content to sit in the pack and shelter from the elements as a large front pack stuck together through the first 2000m. Unsurprisingly, Blackeath’s 8:10 runner Will Fuller kicked clear with 800m to go as the pack started to split before Watson reached the bell in 7:34. With less than two seconds separating second and sixth, Watson had an excellent last lap as he battled for second place with Hallamshire’s James McCrae down the home straight. With both athletes given the same time, the Cheltenham athlete had to be content with third, but was delighted with a 30 second PB of 8:38.74.

Marcus England set a new personal best time as he led the Cheltenham Harriers quartet of runners home at the London Marathon. Lining up with a best time of 2:37:47 from London 2017, England went off with a sub 2:30 target in mind and set a metronomic pace through the first 20km. Recording 5k splits of 17:34, 17:46, 17:44 and 17:44, he then passed through the halfway mark in 74:38. With 17:38 and 18:00 splits up to 30km,it looked like England’s dream time might still be be on. However, his legs started to tire and his pace continued to drop in the final 12km. Showing real determination in the final stages, England at least had the consolation of a new PB, as he knocked 52 seconds from his previous best time to stop the clock at 2:36:55.

Alex Lee was experimenting with the distance for the first time, lining up with no particular target in mind and having carried out no specific marathon training. After reaching halfway in 76:22, he faded as cramp hit in the later stages on his way to a time of 2:42:29. The more experienced Elliot Prince made a quick start, with an opening half of 80:27 before he too faded in the later stages as he crossed the line in 2:52:48. Marc Fallows recorded 3:06:03 on his marathon debut after an opening half of 84:02.

Liam Roarty continued his preparations for the track season at the 128th Clonliffe 2 mile race in Dublin where he finishing seventh in Ireland’s oldest road race in a new personal best of 10:02. Closer to home Gareth Edwards battled against Storm Hannah and the hilly terrain to take third place in the Malvern Trails Half Marathon, whilst there was also a third place for Mark James at the Horton Bull Run as he completed the undulating 4.3 mile road race in a time of 24:58. Weekend parkruns saw Phil Beastall (16:06) first across the line in Tewkesbury, Simon Critchley (18:45) finish second in Cheltenham, Mark James (18:12) place third at the Kingsway event in Gloucester and Martin Soakell (19:04) take sixth in Southend.