Each week Cajsa and I bring you the news from the roads and the trails. If you have any races your want covered or running-women you want applauded just let us know. Scroll down to find all the results from the weekend just gone and some previews for those ahead.
Well, that was a race worth waiting for and equally not the race we'd hoped for. The European Championships Women's Marathon took place on Sunday on a 4 lap course around Berlin.
Belarussia's Mazuronak (the favourite) started out at the front as is her normal style, wanting to be in control. As the BBC pundits pointed out - she's got one heck of a running-poker face. She's incredibly hard to read - even when later on in the race it looked like someone had ACTUALLY poked (punched) her in the face. Switzerland's Martina Strahl also went out hard to stay with the sub 2:30 pace at the start, which would have been a PB for her though not unreasonable given that she recently broke the swiss half marathon record. She eventually finished 7th - still in a PB of 2:28:07
For team GB, Purdue and Partridge were in the lead pack for a good while with Samuels and Barlow together in a chasing pack and Carly Jones running solidly behind. My non-GB shout in the preview and Germany's favourite and on paper a strong contender - Heinig - slipped off the pack very early into the race presumably expecting others to come back to her but sadly that didn't happen and she ended up being held off by Tracy Barlow to come 16th. Seemed like a waste of a home advantage to me. Hey ho.
Just after 10k Mazuronak got the most horrific nosebleed. She looked like she'd been in a fight! Weirdly you can't tell by the end but it went on for an awfully long time. She was having to stuff tissues up her nose which certainly isn't your standard breathing technique. Still though, you wouldn't have know anything was wrong from her demeanour.
Lily Partridge was still sticking with the lead group when Charlotte Purdue pulled up just after 10k. She could be seen tearfully telling the team doctor that she couldn't run and the commentators suggested that it was a calf or achilles problem. She has since posted on her Instagram that "Unfortunately my hamstring and calf cramped up at 8K and it was impossible for me to carry on running. I've never had it before and I’m still working out what went wrong.
My preparation was perfect and all this training won’t be wasted, I’m taking some time now to figure out what comes next" Gutting.
This was a hit for the British team race but we still had hopes. Lily then started to drift off the back of the front group a bit and later pulled out herself due to stomach issues.
Today was meant to be so so different 🙈🙈 I'm in better shape than before London. I didn't wear a watch because I was all in... I felt unbelievable. My stomach got tight and I stopped in a portaloo but when I came out my body wouldn't let me run again and I physically had to stop it wasn't a choice. I didn't choose to stop. My stomach is still cramping up now and I moved from the medical bed to my bed until about an hour ago where I've come to get food and drink and catch up with my incredible family and friends who have travelled to support me. Thank you so so much for all the messages. I will try to reply over the next few days but if I don't THANK YOU SO SO MUCH 😘😘
Deelstra of the Netherlands, who I'd focussed on due to her 2015 Berlin PB, was another runner who didn't make the cut. She later commented on her blog she'd suffered pain in her Achilles /heel area and couldn't walk let alone run. She says she knew she was in good form and plans an Autumn marathon to show the shape she was in. It's a blow to her aim to run Tokyo 2020 and Paula Radcliffe was a bit dismissive of her during the race. I wonder if that's justified or whether this situation will give her some fire in the belly.
Clemence Calvin of France was running her debut marathon. I'll be honest, she had me chewing my nails for the whole race wondering if / when she was going to struggle but despite being a bit wobbly in form by the last lap she held strong and ran an incredibly measured race sitting right on the shoulder of Mazuronak for most of the time. Briefly as the passed the Kaiser Wilhelm church for the last time she tried to take the lead but Mazuronak showed her cool and took it back even after nearly going the wrong way. And then... just at the end, the moment she could see the finish it was like Mazuronak hit a switch and literally changed up a gear.
She opened up her hands, pumped her arms and 'sprinted' down the home straight to finish in 2:26:22 and leaving Calvin with nothing extra to give but just moments behind her in 3:26:28! It's funny that she could so carefully stick with the Belarussian all the way through but just didn't have that extra surge at the end. It really felt like it could go either way though right to the end. I would love to know if you spoke to Calvin afterwards whether she thinks now that she could have done more. I'm not saying I'm not incredibly impressed and I've certainly never had a sprint finish after 26.2 but it's on my mind because I've been reading a fascinating book called Endure which looks at the limits of human endurance and why we think in the moment that we can't go harder and then instantly afterwards feel like we could. To top off that exciting finish, Czech athlete Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova got a 3 minute PB to come 3rd and run a national record of 2:26:31. That's particularly great considering that championship races are not known for being the fastest or easiest to run fast times at. It's so sparse compared to a big city marathon - not the crowds of runners to work off. Only 9 secomnds between the top three though, wow!
So the team results was Gold for Belarus, Silver for Italy and Bronze for Spain with GB taking 4th which given that we lost two athletes was pretty darn awesome work by Barlow, Samuels and Jones. Barlow ran a smart race and talking to Fast Running she seems happy with how it went, though Samuels was disappointed in her performance and Caryl Jones hasn't said what she thinks yet - I really hope she enjoyed it and was pleased to beat her Commonwealth Games time.
Also of note (thanks to Kate Carter for the heads-up and info) was Italian runner Catherine Bertone. The 46 year old doctor who specialises in infectious disease came 8th in a time of 2:30:06 and has the women's 45+ world record marathon time from Berlin last year (2:28:34). This lady deserves a blog post in her own right and will be receiving one soon.
I'm going to do a full spreadsheet showing the results VS PB's so that will be added to the blog soon!
I'm afraid I've run out of time to reviewany of the races below but please get in touch if you ran any of them!
Enigma Marathon in Milton Keynes, UK
Thames Meander Marathon, UK (trail-ish)
Rocky Horror Picture Show Marathon (!), Shropshire, UK
10 Marathons in 10 Days, Lake Orta, Italy
Badlands Marathon (trail), ND, USA
Crater Lake Rim Marathon, OR, USA
Camarillo Marathon, CA,USA
Humboldt Bay Marathon, CA, USA
and no doubt a whole slew of 10ks, 5k
Chicago Marathon have released the elite start list - more on that soon.
Reykjavik Marahthon, Iceland
Paavo Nurmi Marathon, Finland
Cajsa brings you all the news from the trails: