Apologies for the lateness of this update. I've been distracted by lots of intriguing stories coming out of the running scene over to other side of the Irish Sea.
1. Athletics Ireland have announced their women's marathon team for the European Championships in Berlin and it's really interesting.
Fast Running has run a brilliant article about how the team as "an average age of 38, 11 children between them, and three full-time careers outside of parenthood". You'll notice that Laura Graham also came 2nd in the Belfast Marathon this past weekend. Alas, she was 6mins outside her PB but had already been selected, so knew she was safely in the team. The full squad are:
Breege Connolly (North Belfast Harriers AC), Donie Walsh
Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers AC), Matt Shields
Laura Graham (Mourne Runners AC), Ryan Maxwell
Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC), Donie Walsh
Claire McCarthy (Leevale AC), Ronan Boland
Will go up against GB's team of:
Lily Partridge (Alan Storey; Aldershot, Farnham & District)
Tracy Barlow (Nick Anderson; Thames Valley Harriers)
Sonia Samuels (Self; Sale Harriers Manchester)
Alyson Dixon (Self; Sunderland Strollers)
Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau; Aldershot, Farnham & District)
Caryl Jones (Alan Storey; Swansea)
2. Belfast Marathon - Home vs Home supported Project Africa Athletes
The two winning athletes at the Belfast Marathon were both part of Project Africa Athletics which is run by coach Ciaran Collins from Omagh.
The stated aims of the project are:
– To give exposure to athletes who possess the required talent to compete internationally and earn a decent living through running.
– Assist our athletes with developing sustainable projects back in their rural villages.
– Our long term aim is to develop a fully equipped athletics camp which provides the structure and support necessary for selected athletes to harness their talents and realise their full potential.
So, a great local victory in a team sense, but then last year's female winner (who won it a week after running London) was the first local winner since 1999, Laura Graham was also running. Laura had initially been banned from running by Athletics Ireland in preparation for the European championships, but they later changed their decision to allow her to compete. So... a dilemma for locals. Add to that the fact the the Project Africa winner, Caroline Jepchirchir, was running her first race back since giving birth and it's either a tough one to call or an all round celebration for the active mums of NI!
3. Ex Irish Dancer 2nd in Birmingham 10k
Shona Heaslip of Ireland’s An Ríocht AC came second in the Birmingham 10k. She used to be an Irish dancer and was still performing in 2016 as well as winning Senior Women’s race during the Irish Life Health National Cross Country Championships the same year. She has recently been named on the Irish team for the European 10000m cup which takes place during the fantastic Night Of 1000m PBs event at Parliament hill on the 19th May. I love the story behind her change and there's something interesting in the thought that the lightness of foot could be an advantage in running. Also, that athletic perseverance can transfer from one discipling to another.
Results from the past weekend of racing
Full report from centurion http://www.centurionrunning.com/reports/2018/2018-tp100-report
All the podium places were decided by the time runners got to the 71 mile checkpoint at Streatley on a super hot day for the Thames Path100mile race. Therese Falk finished first in 18:44:38 with a huge lead over Laura Swanton (19:36:59) and Kit-Yi Green (21:05:55).
Therese will be representing Norway at the European 24 hour Championships in just 3 weeks time.
Sadly, a foot injury from a bike crash earlier in the week stopped Centurion stalwart and all round nice lady Cat Simpson’s race.
Top GB female (full list ) was Liesbeth Grycuk in a PR of 3:28:31 from her previous 3:31:32 set in London in 2015.
Belfast City Marathon
1st Female Caroline Jepchirchir 02:41:23 a member of Ciaran Collins' Project Africa scheme designed to assist up and coming runners. https://projectafricaathletics.com/blog-posts/ The male winner was also from the scheme .
The 35-year-old Kenyan was racing for the first time since becoming a mother apparently and in interviews after the race seems rather pleased and surprised by the result
2nd female was Laura Graham (IRL) 02:43:33. Laura was the 1st local winner since 1999 last year and will be running in the European Marathon Championships in August. Originally Laura had been told by Athletics Ireland that she was not allowed to race anything over a half marathon before the championships in August, but they later agreed that she should defend her titl.
3rd female was Christina Bogomiakova (UKR) 02:46:43
North Dorset Village
1st Jessica Raynor - Sidmouth RC 03:28:25
2nd Heather Khoshnevis - Littledown Harriers 03:35:10
3rd Caroline Horder - Littledown Harriers 03:36:2
Milton Keynes Marathon
The race took place in a sweltering 26 degrees, leaving the course record by Asia Zmyslona of 02:57:33 pretty safe, though not as much as one would expect given the conditions.
1st - 2:57:40 Colleen Nicole Mukuya (twitter) FSEN Great Yarmouth & District AC. Colleen has won her local parkrun whilst pushing her youngest in a buggy
2nd 3:08:33 Melissah Gibson FSEN Ealing Eagles Running Club
3rd 3:10:01 Heather Hann FSEN St Albans Striders
Of last year’s top 10, only two runners featured in the top 50 this year -
2017’s 2nd place, Jennifer Sangster (3:12:12 in 2017) ran 3:23:36 for 7th this year. Mary Heald ran 3:34:15 last year for 8th and placed 9th in 3:33:36 this year.
North Lincolnshire Half Marathon
1st - Milton Keynes’ Rachel Robinson, Robinson – formerly of Aldershot, Farnham & District
2nd - Rotherham’s Steph Burns (80:46)
3rd - Harrogate Harriers’ Sharon Barlow (82:16)
Lillebaelt Half Marathon (Denmark)
1st - Metro Aberdeen’s Fiona Brian 76:47, after a 75:34 PB at this year’s World Half Marathon Championships
2nd - Norwich’s Dani Nimmock 77:20 (recent winner of Greater Manchester Marathon)
3rd - Rugby & Northampton’s Emily Waugh 80:59
Great East Anglian 10k
1st - Bure Valley Harriers’ Faith Viney 39:34
2nd - Colchester’s Lucy Mapp a
3rd - Fenland Runners' Bethan Everson 40:15 and 40:35 respectively.
Great Birmingham 10k
1st - Aleksandra Lisowska of Poland won in 34:14 (21s PB)
2nd - Shona Heaslip (See point three above). She used to be an Irish dancer and was still performing in 2016 as well as winning Senior Women’s race during the Irish Life Health National Cross Country Championships the same year. She has recently been named on the Irish team for the European 10000m cup which takes place during the fantastic Night Of 1000m PBs event at Parliament hill on the 19th May.
1st - Charlotte Arter set new Welsh all-comers record of 15:40 - See Fast Running’s roundup https://www.fastrunning.com/events-and-races/race-reports/jonathan-hopkins-and-charlotte-arter-win-welsh-5k-crowns/15839
In other news..
KImberly King, a primary school teacher from South Lanarkshire ran all the majors in one year https://stv.tv/news/features/1414212-primary-teacher-runs-six-major-marathons-in-just-one-year
And then of course there's the Diamond league... but you can see that in other places and I've run out of time. Until next week...