Women's Running Roundup 13/8/18

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.

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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

 Image from https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/45161065

Image from https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/45161065

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 nex
t" 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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

This weekend:
Reykjavik Marahthon, Iceland
Paavo Nurmi Marathon, Finland

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Cajsa brings you all the news from the trails: 


European Athletics Championships Women's Marathon Preview (for Sunday 12th 2018)

Now that the start list for the women's marathon on Sunday 12th at the European (Athletics) Championship in Berlin has been published here, who are the top contenders? I've sorted them by PB and covered the top 5 and GB athletes. My thought remains the same as I mentioned in this week's Women's Running Roundup - I am plumping for Lily as GB's top runner. What do you think? Also, if you want to add any thoughts or info to this post, send it over and I'll add it in (crowd sourcing the preview!)

PB: 2:23:54
Season's Best: 2:25:25 at Dusseldorf marathon in April


The lady who famously ran the second half of London Marathon in a rather swift negative split which was also half marathon PB for her. LetsRun.com commented on it here and Mara Yamauchi was vocal about it too, though her blog post about the performance has since been removed.  Volha went on to come 5th at the Rio Olympics. It’s worth noting too that London Marathon confirmed that Volha passed all testing and is also subject to out of competition testing Olympics so it's not fair to make sweeping statements but it's an interesting note to the story.

PB 2:26:46

4th dutch woman of all time and ran her PB to finish 5th at the 2015 Berlin marathon, she is currently crowd funding via her website in order to get to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. More recently she ran 2:31 at London 2017 but had a less successful outing at the Rio Olympics coming 60th in 2:40

PB: 2:27:24
Season's best: 2:28:03
Ran 2:28:03 at the Warsaw marathon in april so is clearly in good shape, but as always, it’s interesting whether it’s too soon for another top notch race. 

PB: 2:28:04
Season's best: 2:36:59

 The fastest PB in the GB team (set in 2015 like Nastassia from Belarus) and one of the more experienced of the GB team.Recently ran 2:36:59 in a very hot Commonwealth games marathon so it would be a shame if that’s taken it out of her, but her social media seems to imply that’s not a consideration.

GER HEINIG Katharina
PB: 2:28:34

Ran a big PR of 1:12:44 in the Berlin half marathon this year so she’s a strong contender with the home crowd on her side. Having worked her way from a 2:57 marathon in 2007 to sitting around the 2:28/29 mark for the last two years, maybe this is the one?

PB: 2:28:34

PB: 2:28:47
Season's best: 2:32:55

GBR PURDUE Charlotte
PB : 2:29:23

Running into race week...⚡️💫⚡️ 🇬🇧 #europeanchampionships2018

A post shared by Charlotte Purdue (@charlottepurdue) on

After a 2:29:11 in London last year and a swift 1:11:21 PB in Valencia for the half  marathon earlier in the year Charlotte is definitely on the up. Not loads to work off for predictions but it’ll be interesting to see if her and Lily work together or play it solo. She’s also just launched her own coaching company. 

PB: 2:29:24
Season's best: 2:29:24

Ran her PB at London earlier this year so more recent form to work off than Charlotte but has had a little injury in between. My gut says she’s got the grit to get out there and take it on. She also recently signed with Adidas and is organising a running camp with ultra runner Susie Chan. I’m never sure if stuff like that is good or bad - it could be distracting but it’s also often good for runners to have other things to focus on and shows a passion to share the sport because they love it so much.

PB: 2:29:39

PB: 2:29:41

PB: 2:29:56
Season's best: 2:32:26

PB: 2:30:07
Season's best: 2:39:44

ESP DÍAZ Maria Azucena
PB: 2:30:31

PB: 2:30:42
Season's best : 2:32:09

Another runner with a half marathon PB set earlier this year in Valencia and having worked her way from 2:59 marathons to happily sitting around the 30ish mark for the last few years she’s got loads of experience (6 marathons) and is pretty consistent

PB: 2:30:50
Season's best: 2:33:18

PB: 2:30:58

NED van der MEIJDEN Ruth
PB: 2:31:15
Season's best: 2:33:27

PB: 2:32:35
Season's best: 2:32:35

LTU Žusinaite Vaida

IRL LEE Lizzie
PB: 2:32:51

PB: 2:33:01
eason's best: 2:33:01

PB: 2:33:10
eason's best: 2:33:10

PB: 2:33:20
eason's best: 2:33:20

PB: 2:33:22
eason's best: 2:33:22

PB: 2:34:16

PB: 2:34:16
eason's best: 2:43:58

Having run the the hot commonwealth games in the gold coast Caryl is working hard to make the most of her GB places. She also works as a farmer and accountant in wales and as we’ve seen with Dewi Griffiths, that farming life seems to work well for marathoners. I reckon she’ll be going out with a bit of fire in the belly!

PB: 2:34:48

PB: 2:35:55
Season's best: 2:39:02


Season's best: 2:36:02


Season's best: 2:37:09


Season's best: 2:37:33


Season's best: 2:55:20



Season's best: 2:40:28


Season's best: 2:38:51

Season's best: 2:39:06

Season's best: 2:39:22

Season's best: 2:39:45



Season's best: 2:39:58


Season's best: 2:40:32


Season's best: 2:55:29

Season's best: 2:43:53

Season's best: 2:45:21

Season's best: 2:48:26

None given

Women's Running Roundup 6/8/18

Women's Running Roundup 6/8/18

This week in the Women’s Running Roundup

ROAD: Smaller races last weekend but the big news is the European Championships women’s marathon happening this coming Sunday…. little preview here with more to come as the start list is released

TRAIL: Cajsa has been taking to the trails to check out the NDW100 winners as the race progressed and see first hand what the experience was like for the top three ladies (and do some running as crew herself)

Women's Running Roundup 29/7/19

Women's Running Roundup 29/7/19

This week in the Women’s Running Roundup

ROAD: Winning while dresses as a roman in a cape, Mile burnouts and Marathon bears.

TRAIL: More from the Knott twins, a brutal Badwater and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn podiums amidst hail storms in the Lakeland 50,

Women's Running Roundup 23/7/18

Women's Running Roundup  23/7/18

This week in the Women’s Running Roundup

TRAIL: The women’s race is less contentious but no less impressive, with a young winner at Hardrock 100. Nikki Kimball and Holly Page are out on the trails, there’s more skyrunning (obv) and the El Kott trail twins are back in action.

ROAD: 10ks aplenty with the weather not stopping those sub 40s. Newbie - racer Johanna O’regan takes another win and Mary Menon ….guess what… does it again!

Women's Running Roundup 16/7/18

Women's Running Roundup   16/7/18

This week in the Women’s Running Roundup

TRAIL: Cajsa has been hanging out on the trails with Holly Rush, weather halts the Eiger Ultra. Scafell Skyracing and UTMB looms large

ROAD: A Norwegian wins in Mauritius, I’m eyeing up the Orion Forest Five and there are a couple of friendly American marathons.

WRR Interview: Mary Menon

 Just a few of Mary's trophies

Just a few of Mary's trophies

A few weeks ago the Women's Running Roundup stumbled across a rather interesting lady - Mary Menon ( of Ilfracombe Running Club, though only since 2016). It was after remembering Mary's name from the top GB women at London marathon, then seeing it again as overall winner of  Race to The Stones outright and shortly after that as winner of the North Devon Marathon for the 5th year running that I got really intrigued. It is finding out about people like Mary that made me want to start the Women's Running Roundup. All over the country ( and world) there are talented women who are putting the time in, training hard and getting that much sought after balance between not running just for times but also being competitive and showing that they can race with the best. It only took a swift glance at Mary's Power of 10 and the line of "1"s against her name to realise that this lady races lots and races well. So, I caught up with Mary over email to find out about her love of miles, her thoughts on women's running and where we should be looking to see her on the podium next.

Congratulations on your 5th successive North Devon Marathon victory and so soon after Race To The Tower. You’re a busy lady! Just so we can get to know you a bit - When you’re not running, what does life look like for you when you’re not running? 

I'm 38 years old and have two children Alice (8) and Ferdy (6) I also have a long suffering husband, Ed.
Essentially I am a full time Mum but I am also a part time professional equine groom. We live in a village called Exford which is smack bang in the middle of the beautiful Exmoor National Park, Somerset.

When did you start running and why?
I ran for both the cross country and athletic teams at school and college, also representing the county (Devon, where I grew up)
When I left home to move to Exmoor I gave up competitive racing but carried on running several times a week for general fitness and for the love of it. Once I had the children I returned to running to lose baby weight, at first running with a double pram and then when they got too heavy and I wanted to run further and off road, very early in the morning.

After 18 months of running most days a good friend of mine suggested that I should run in a local 10km trail race.... At first I was dubious, competitive running hadn't occurred to me and I was lacking a bit of confidence as to whether I would be capable of it, but after a bit of thought I entered, and to my surprise managed to finish 2nd.

Taking in the scenery on a run

Doing a bit of strava stalking, you’ve been  logging 80-100 miles a week recently. Is that a standard volume for you and what does a normal training week look like ?
I like to run fairly high mileage weeks, a lot of it is junk miles... I don't try and make excuses for this, it isn't very scientific but I live in a beautiful part of the country and get a lot of enjoyment from running in a different direction most days of the week.

I tend to keep plenty of ascent in my training to make up for a lack of speed work and always train with my running club (Ilfracombe Running Club) every week. 
I do some core, weights and hiit training everyday and use the spin bike as a recovery tool aswell.

How do you handle running races so close together? Is that something you consciously schedule or did it just happen through enjoying racing and signing up to lots of them? 
I like to race frequently for a few reasons:
The majority of my training is on my own so I really benefit from some regular faster race efforts,
I like to race a lot of different distances and terrain, from 2 mile inter club relay distance on tarmac to ultra distance along the coast path... I think they all complement each other to make me a stronger athlete. 
And there are so many great races around that I love to run and can't resist. 

You really seem to be finding amazing form at the moment, does it feel like that to you and is there anything you attribute it to? Did you go into the year with any specific goals?
I have been able to keep in good form for some time now, cross training has, in my opinion been a major factor towards this and also just keeping it cool... I go for a run, not sweat it out doing a particular item of training from a running schedule everyday.
Every year I have a particular goal in mind, last year was the 'putting it right year' where I revisited a couple of races that hadn't gone so well before and gave them another go.
And this year was the 'ultra year' where I would have a go at a grown up sized ultra race.

How did it feel being the overall winner ofRTTT?( I think there was some issue with missing directions - tells us about the  race.)
Winning the Race To The Tower overall gave me a great deal of satisfaction, entering this race hadn't been taken lightly, it was carefully considered for a 'toe in the water' to perhaps more ultras in the future and I thoroughly enjoyed it, ultra running seems quite tactical where playing a long game is very important. What you do in the first 10 miles (nutritionally, mentally or physically) will be very important in the last ten miles.

The race couldn't have gone better, I kept in good spirits and felt strong throughout, taking the overall lead at mile 34 and gaining distance over the other runners from then on. That was until 5 miles from home where a marker arrow had been twisted round... and no others were in sight. I went from coasting toward the finish well in front, to running up and down a steep track in a panicky way desperately trying to find a marker for half an hour until the 2nd and 3rd placed runners both turned up on the wrong section aswell. I had already run an extra 2 miles by that stage, fortunately Greg (who came 2nd) had the gpx file on his watch so we could navigate back to the race route. As I was running up the final hill, 200m from the finish Greg re-caught up with me and assured me that the race was mine as he knew that if the course markers had been correct, we would not have come across one another. In a true act of sportsmanship he let me cross the line first.

What do you think are the challenges or advantages of being a competitive female runner?
I think there are some distinct advantages to being a competitive female runner in a mixed race, the men generally don't view me as their competition so I can benefit from their pacemaking without being a threat to their placing.

mary menon

How do you juggle family life and running?
Family life and running can be a real juggle at times but I try my best not to affect my family's day to day lives with my lifestyle choices, I tend to get up early and get my core work and bike done before the kiddies wake up and then run at lunchtime during term time, swapping this around over the weekend and school holidays to get my run done early so I'm not disappearing off all the time (or trying not to anyway!)

You run in a beautiful part of the world, what’s your favourite race and do you travel much for races? How do you choose which races to run and do you have any bucket list races? 
I live on Exmoor and it is an amazing place to run, it would be very rare for me to run the same route twice in a week.
My favourite race isn't very far from home, it is the North Devon Marathon at Woolacombe. This was the first marathon that I ran, 5 years ago (I have run 30 marathons since then) I loved it, won it and have been fortunate to return each year since then to win again. The route is predominantly along the southwest coastpath and is breathtakingly beautiful.

I race fairly locally, within a two hour drive from home generally. Mainly because of the children, I don't want to be gone from home for hours on end and equally if Ed and the kids come to cheer me on I don't want to have bored them to death with a long car journey first. Also there are plenty of races around to fill my year without going too far afield.

There are of course some exceptions... Now we are all a bit older and not so wild (adults and children) we have stayed away from home for a night before the odd race so I am beginning to widen my net. For example, RTTT, London Marathon and the odd race in Dorset and deepest Cornwall.

What excites you most about running ( either for yourself or the sport in general)?
I love that running is becoming so popular generally, I used to be the only runner in the village but not anymore and that excites me for the future of the sport, there are so many genre's of running and races and it really is open to everyone, all that's needed is a pair of trainers.... And away you go, there's not really a right or wrong way of doing it. 

ilfracombe runninc club mary menon

What would be your top tip or words of wisdom to other runners?
If I was going to give any words of advice it would be to remember to enjoy yourself at whatever level of running you're at, it's meant to be fun.... That's the point. 
My practical advice would be to always take a snack for a long run, even if you don't think you need it, you will even if you don't realise until afterwards!

What’s next for you?
I have a July of local 10km races, after some fairly hefty long races I think I need to reintroduce some pacier efforts so I shall give these a go. finishing off the month with a marathon in Dorset.
My next big event is a 32 mile race in Cornwall at Mudcrew's  R. A. T. event in August.

Anything else you wish you could say to runners or want people to know about?
I am an ambassador for Quince Honey Farm who are lovely people and provide me with their delicious honey and products to make me run quicker and smell nicer (!)

Mary's next races will be: Haytor Heller 10k across Dartmoor on Saturday 21st, followed by the Dorset Invader marathon on the following Saturday 28th. Mary has won the Dorset Invader for the previous 2 years and is wonderfully open in saying that she's going for a third!

It's not just the WRR who have clocked Mary's amazing feats, as Fast Running pipped me to the post in publishing an interview with her. It's so exciting that a big website like FR are highlighting Mary's achievements and as you'll know, I'm a big fan of their work  (especially that of Ruth Jones) so please to go and read their interview too.  Hurrah for FR!

Women's Running Roundup 9/7/18

Women's Running Roundup 9/7/18

This week in the Women’s Running Roundup

ROAD: One of the current raft of top notch American marathoners, Allie Kieffer, builds on her 2017 NY marathon success with a storming 15k at the Boilermaker, UTICA. Meanwhile GB’s Sarah Tunstall takes silver in her first ever marathon at Zermatt. In the UK there’s 10ks with 5min cutoffs, Gemma Steel wins the Great North 10k and Hever castle host 4-lap marathons in 30c heat.

TRAIL: Sarah Hill runs around the whole of the Isle of Wight in 10 h 55 Maverick hits the peak district and last weeks twins are partially knocked off the podium by Ragna Debatt