team GB

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!)


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

MAZURONAK Volha

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.

NED DEELSTRA Andrea
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

BLR IVANOVA Nastassia
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. 

GBR SAMUELS Sonia
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?

ITA BERTONE Catherine
PB: 2:28:34

UKR KOTOVSKA Olha
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. 

GBR PARTRIDGE Lily
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.

ITA DOSSENA Sara
PB: 2:29:39

CZE VRABCOVÁ-NÝVLTOVÁ Eva
PB: 2:29:41

POL TRZASKALSKA Izabela
PB: 2:29:56
Season's best: 2:32:26

BLR DAMANTSEVICH Maryna
PB: 2:30:07
Season's best: 2:39:44

ESP DÍAZ Maria Azucena
PB: 2:30:31

GBR BARLOW Tracy
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

ITA MARAOUI Fatna
PB: 2:30:50
Season's best: 2:33:18

SUI STRÄHL Martina
PB: 2:30:58

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

GER AMRHEIN Fabienne
PB: 2:32:35
Season's best: 2:32:35

LTU Žusinaite Vaida
PB:2:32:50

IRL LEE Lizzie
PB: 2:32:51

GER HOTTENROTT Laura
PB: 2:33:01
eason's best: 2:33:01

ESP SIMAL Clara
PB: 2:33:10
eason's best: 2:33:10

ESP LOYO Elena
PB: 2:33:20
eason's best: 2:33:20

ITA GOTTI Laura
PB: 2:33:22
eason's best: 2:33:22

ESP GALIMANY Marta
PB: 2:34:16

GBR JONES Caryl
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!

LTU EIMONTE Milda
PB: 2:34:48

UKR MYKHAYLOVA Darya
PB: 2:35:55
Season's best: 2:39:02

UKR KHAPILINA Viktoriya
2:35:55

SWE LINDHOLM Hanna
2:36:02
Season's best: 2:36:02

ROU TODORAN Paula
2:36:44

BLR SAVINA Nina
2:37:09
Season's best: 2:37:09

IRL CONNOLLY Breege
2:37:29

CRO BJELJAC Bojana
2:37:33
Season's best: 2:37:33

LAT MARHELE Ilona
2:37:40

UKR OVCHARUK Vira
2:37:49
Season's best: 2:55:20

IRL GANIEL O'NEILL Gladys
2:37:55

TUR KIRAZ Ümmü
2:38:26

SWE LARSSON Mikaela
2:38:41
Season's best: 2:40:28

ESP GEBRE Trihas
2:38:47

GRE PRIVILÉTZIO Glória
2:38:51
Season's best: 2:38:51

BLR SOMAVA Iryna
2:39:06
Season's best: 2:39:06

SWE NORRBOM Cecilia
2:39:22
Season's best: 2:39:22

TUR ERDAL Tubay
2:39:45
Season's best: 2:39:45

HUN GYURKÓ Fanni
2:39:48

GRE REBOÚLI Ouranía
2:39:52

TUR DAGDELEN Elif
2:39:58
Season's best: 2:39:58

SUI HREBEC Laura
2:40:28

SWE STARFELT Malin
2:40:32
Season's best: 2:40:32

SUI MOEN GUIDON Karoline
2:40:36

CRO MATOŠEVIC Matea
2:41:42
Season's best: 2:55:29

CRO SUSTIC Nikolina
2:42:51
Season's best: 2:43:53

CRO STEPAN Nikolina
2:43:56
Season's best: 2:45:21

GRE TSEKINI-BOUDOURI Sonia
2:45:02
Season's best: 2:48:26

FRA CALVIN Clémence
None given

Night Of The 10,000m PBs

Last Saturday I went to watch people run 25 laps around a track, three times. You'd be forgiven for thinking that it might not be the most entertaining way to spend a Saturday evening. I'm a running fan and even I wasn't sure if it would actually be interesting. I was very excited to find out though. There's plenty of write-ups (see below) around telling you what happened but let me tell you what it was like..

Photo by Jessica Sumerling

 

It was a warm evening and at just after 7pm we walked from the edge of Hampstead Heath towards the track. A couple of joggers came the other way but as we got closer we realised that we were now in the area being used for warm up by those running. These runners looked normal though and surprisingly relaxed - none of that nervous jiggling or super co-ordinated kit you see on the starting line at the Olympics but rather some strides and jogging and yes, some short shorts. 

As we entered past the kids playground and into the Highgate Harrier's home turf the sound of the samba band and the chatter of people got louder. I knew this event had grown since it started in 2013 but the crowds up the bank by the start line, waiting for fresh pizza in front of the first bend and in the run-through bar buying drinks and Like The Wind Magazine on the straight were still something of a surprise. I was trying to work out if all these people are runners. I've got nothing to base it on but at a rough estimate I'd say maybe 30% were those there for the event rather than because of a geeky love of running.  

We took our £1 programme and joined some friends who had been picking out runners in each race and cheering them on. The test starting gun went.  Looking down at the lineup and matching the names to the numbers we tried to cheer on the gents in the final B race. I had one runner to look out for but it wasn't necessary to have a hook-in to keep me interested. Watching the different running styles, the emotion on their faces and the to-ing and fro-ing as they battled it out was enough. The race felt like it was over in a flash, now for the Olympic Qualifiers.

The carnival band took a break, ready to be rejoined by their Rio style dancers in the next races. I'm told there was a faux Michael Jackson around too. 

The men lined up. 28 minutes and top two would be enough to qualify to represent GB in rio. Andy Vernon had the time and only needed the place but the rest of the pack needed both. Now we were stood right next to the starting line and with a jump-inducing bang they were off. Perhaps because this is not my race and these were not my running heroes I didn't feel like there was that much tension as the race began. Fairly early on it became clear that the 28 minute requirement was unlikely to be hit but still the runners held on and seemed to be giving it everything. There was plenty of uncertainty about who would finish in the lead and in the end the end Ross Millington's 28:28 was an impressive time and one that I wasn't expecting from the early stages. If I've worked it out correctly that's 4'34/mi. I've never even run 5'34 for one mile let alone a minute off that for 10,000m. 

The women's race was the big draw for me and there certainly seemed to be a spark in the air at the start. Jo Pavey, who has done so much for bringing women's running to the masses in the UK, was clearly hot favourite in people's hearts and minds. Having not raced competitively in 2016 though and, as I later found out, suffering from a chest infection she was always going to find it tough. My Marathon-running friend and I spent a good while trying to work out who the pacer was (a woman - hurrah!) and later realised that we thought we'd just seen middle distance runner Helen Clitheroe  set a blistering start.  I'm  not sure if it was weird or ok, but I shouted as loud as I could every time Jenny Nesbitt , who I follow on instagram and has now been picked to represent team GB in the European cup. The sheer range of experience, age, running type and training background made for a great race. I'm sure I wasn't the only person though who didn't realise until the last lap that it was not Linet Masai, the Kenyan speedster who was leading the race but Jessica Andrews who took over 1 minute off her PB to finish first and automatically qualify for Rio in 31:58. The race was like a TV show - the exciting start, moments of panic and worry for those struggling and then a surge to a happy ending by an unexpected "underdog" (though some would say form pointed to this performance). 

Photo by Jessica Sumerling

 

Mr B put it well when he said that the evening was a bit like watching greyhound racing. He wasn't making comment on the physical attributes of the runners but rather the immediate nature of the viewing experience and the way that you could feel the crowd had a real investment in the result. I've got tickets for the World Champs in 2017 but after this Im not sure I'm ready to go back to remote, stadium style events.

Do we really have to wait until next year for something like this?

Meter Magazine have done a fantastic write up with a video, interviews and pictures that really capture what the evening was like. You should definitely check it out, even if you only look at their beautiful photos. You can also read the Guardian's thoughts and hear Marathon Talk's coverage of it. There's more of Jessica Sumerling's great photos on her Instagram too.

This is what the place normally looks like. A touch less inspiring.