As the week draws to a close, it has been another filled with fast performances on the road, track and cross country. James Rhodes brings you the highlights from a busy weekend.

London Winter Run

It is not everyday that you see some of Britain’s fastest runners compete alongside polar bears and penguins. However, that was a sight witnessed in the capital this morning as runners took to the London Winter Run. Alongside the masses running for Cancer Research, there was an impressive elite field (with a strong Hoka-sponsored focus).

Following his win at last year’s Vitality 10000, Ellis Cross returned to London to take the win in 28:52. That time is the third fastest of his career and saw him cross the finish almost 90 seconds clear. Behind him, there was a lifetime best for Jonathan Collier (30:19) with Chris Rainsford third (30:41, faster than his outing in Valencia last month). It would be remis not to mention an impressive debut by 800m specialist Tom Randolph, finishing fourth in 31:49.

Jess Judd & Tom Randolph at the London Winter Run. Photo: Hannah Irwin

Running in the midst of a training block following the Houston Half Marathon, Jess Judd was the fastest female (31:59). Less than a minute behind was a close finish between Steph Twell (32:48) and Emma Pallant-Browne (32:50 PB), the latter in her first 10k since 2020.

Photo: Hannah Irwin

Fast 10ks Elsewhere

There were a couple of other notable 10k races this weekend.

In only his third 10k since 2015, Matt Leach (29:50) ran well to take victory at the Chichester 10k. An athlete with considerable range (racing everything between a mile and marathon last year), that time is the second fastest of his career and his best since 2017. Behind him were good runs for Scott Cousins (30:13) and Simon Heath (30:34), both with significant lifetime bests.

The top three women were separated by 22 seconds. The race saw Cassie Thorp (34:37) get the better of Niamh Brown (34:55) and Lauren Hall (34:59), with Niamh making her 10k debut.

The Dewsbury 10k played host to some equally speedy athletes, with the most impressive performance coming from Kirsty Longley. Her 34:23 cements her spot in second on the UK V45 all-time rankings, getting closer to Priscilla Welch’s 1990 record. Behind her were Sarah Kemshall (34:35) and Faye Birkby (35:31).

Omar Ahmed (29:55) continued his fine form with a 12 second victory ahead of Nathan Edmonson (30:07) and Joe Sagar (30:13).

There were wins for Ryan Page (32:25) and Sophie George (39:15) at the Skegness 10k, whilst the Muddy Boots 10k went to Donna Riddler (44:41) and Ali Burns (37:13). In Blackburn, Ben Fish (32:14) and Dionne Allen (37:25) took top spots at the Winter Warmer 10k.

Finally of the 10ks, the Essendon Country Club Charity 10k went to Iain McMurray (35:19) and Sarah Wild (45:08).

Longer Distances

Time to step up in distance. Active Training World’s Watford Half Marathon went to Michael Waddington (68:27) and Annabel Gummow (73:54). Further north, Natalie Bhangal (84:23) and Jake Watson (69:20) recorded wins at the Warwick Half Marathon.

At the Great Bentley Half Marathon, Pete Robinson (Springfield Striders) took the race out from the gun and maintained his lead throughout. He improved the course record by 16 seconds to 67:50, a lifetime best. Sam Clayton claimed second in his half marathon debut (69:29), followed by Pete Coates (70:07, also a PB).

Great Bentley Half Marathon. Photo: Race Organiser

The women’s race was a close encounter, with Laura Thomas (Ipswich Jaffa) winning in 80:49.  Only five seconds separated second and third, with Jackie Stretton edging out Lindsey Colman in 81:27 and 81:32 respectively.

For athletes wishing to race a metric distance, there were opportunities at the Bedgebury Forest 10 Mile and Winter Bash 2023 10 Mile. Ben Jones (55:26) and Jessica Poland (69:11) were quickest at the former, with the honours going to Jenny Laing (75:29) and Stuart Laurie (68:50) at the latter.

Great Bentley Half Marathon. Photo: Race Organiser

Up in Scotland the Forfar Multi-Terrain Half marathon and Team Hour 7’s Rob Sinclair was the clear winner in 70:58 with second placed Matthew Drummond was over five minutes back. A difficult race with a punchy climb in the last couple of miles that has certainly broken more hearts than the one in Boston, Nicole Jackson of Carnegie Harriers was the first female in 90:32.

Post race Sinclair is either happy about the win or he’s found something exciting in that skip behind. Photo: Joanna Wilson

RunThrough Continues

A comparatively quiet week for RunThrough saw runners take to Victoria Park in London. Tom Fairbrother (69:58) won the half marathon, with Alex McWilliams (74:00) showing as the fastest female. The latter has not been located on Power of 10, and their time would be the fourth fastest Brit this year. To cover all possibilities, a mention for Lesley Southgate (79:52)’s performance.

Stepping down in distance now. Che Compton (32:49) and Mary Anne Ludwig (35:46) crossed the line first in the 10k, with Mallory Beaudreau (18:27) and Lee Wood (16:25) doing the same over 5k.

Across the Pond

The Mesa Half Marathon in Phoenix Arizona pulled together a strong field as usual. Amongst it was Rosie Edwards, recording a time of 73:06 for 13.1 miles. In the associated Mesa Marathon, Sam Bennett improved his lifetime best to 2:21:35, finishing third.

Brilliant in Boston

This weekend was one of the busiest of the indoor season. With the British Championships a fortnight away, plentiful athletes took to the track to chase European Indoor standards.

Saturday saw the second stop of the World Indoor Tour Gold, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. Taking place at a brand-new track at the company’s headquarters, there was plenty to celebrate from a British perspective.

The women’s 3000m was a particular highlight, with the top four spots going to British athletes. Opening her season, Laura Muir (8:40.34) took the win, closely followed throughout by Melissa Courtney-Bryant (8:41.09). Having run a conservative first half, a fast last kilometre saw Katie Snowden (8:47.41) and Hannah Nuttall (8:47.72) both set PBs. It was Katie’s first 3000m since 2018, and her second ever. All four ran inside the European Indoor standard.

James West improved his PB to 7:42.89 (Euro Indoor Q) in the men’s race over the same distance. Behind him was a PB for Tom Keen (7:48.99), the pair finishing third and eighth respectively.

Neil Gourley won a competitive mile, his 3:52.84 clocking an outright PB and moving him to third on the UK indoor all-time list. The women’s race included a sixth place for Jemma Reekie (4:28.49). Her official 1500m split (4:08.79) is a European Indoor Q.

In his indoor debut, Dan Rowden (1:46.75) ran precisely the European Indoor standard, finishing fifth. One place behind was Kyle Langford (1:47.73) in his season opener. Issy Boffey finished third over the same distance (2:01.42).

More Indoors

Amy Eloise Markovc opened her season with a 9:00.16 clocking for 3000m at the Meeting de l’Eure in France. At the same competition, Piers Copeland (3:43.06) and Jenny Selman (2:03.24) both finished sixth over 1500m and 800m respectively.

David Locke (1:51.92) and Alex George (8:01.15) raced over 800m and 3000m respectively at Friday’s Elite Indoor Track Miramas. It was a SB for Alex in his third race of the season.

To Belgium and the IFAM Indoor in Ghent. Sam Reardon improved his indoor 800m PB with a win (1:48.42), with Ben Claridge going in an earlier heat (1:49.94). Erin Wallace raced the same distance (2:05.72). Alasdair Kinloch (8:10.32) raced over 3000m, with James Young (3:45.64) going over 1500m.

Photo: Bjorn Paree

After both ran good season openers last week, Guy Learmonth and George Mills went one-two over 800m at the Breuninger Hallenmeeting in Erfurt, Germany. The pair clocked 1:46.36 and 1:47.30 respectively. For Learmonth, that is an indoor lifetime best and under the Euro Indoor standard. Cari Hughes (4:15.46) took the win in her first indoor 1500m in a decade,

Earlier in the week, results included 4:13.08 for Jenny Selman at the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava and 4:18.09 for Aimee Pratt at the Karsten Warholm Invitational, both over 1500m.

Closer to home, and Lee Valley on Wednesday. The fastest performances at the Indoor Inter Varsity were set by Bethan Morley (4:25.43) and Oliver Lill (3:46.41 PB) over 1500m and Tyler Billyard (1:52.80) and Emily Marmion-Williams (2:11.08) over 800m. Official results are awaited, but Michael Wilson won the Southern Indoor Championships at the same venue from Tonbridge’s Ben Murphy.

Finally, Yusuf Bizimana improved his 800m best to 1:46.62 at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque. That track is at altitude, and the result gives him a European Indoor Q.

BUCS Cross Country

Ending with one of the biggest races of the weekend. Held at Pembrey Country Park, the BUCS Cross Country Championships saw some of Britain’s best athletes travel to Wales in search of XC glory. Not only for themselves, but for their university too.

It was a historic day for Loughborough, as they won the men’s long course team title for the first time since 2004. Running for Solent, Mahamed Mahamed (32:17) took the individual title with a nine second margin. He finished ahead of track specialist Matt Stonier (32:26) running for Loughborough, with St Mary’s athlete Joe Wigfield (32:27) just one second back.

Loughborough took two of the podium spots in the long course women’s race. Alex Millard (28:22) took the top spot, with teammate Abbie Donnelly (28:57) third. A second place finish for Amelia Quirk (28:25) helped secure Birmingham the team title, just two points ahead of Loughborough.

Loughborough’s Beth Morley (21:36) and Josh Fiddaman (26:35) won the respective short course races. Loughborough took the two short course team titles also.