With the road racing season in full string and the track season beginning, there have been plenty of fast performances at home and abroad. James Rhodes brings you the highlights of the action.

Brilliant in Berlin

If there is a city synonymous with fast road racing, it is Berlin. The German capital lived up to its reputation on a cold Sunday morning through the Berlin Half Marathon.

Eilish McColgan once again demonstrated her ability with 65:43 to better her own British Record and take the win. Running behind Tsigie Gebreselama for much of the race, the Scot passed 10k in 30:56, twelve seconds off the Ethiopian. However, she moved clear after 15k to better her own British Record of 66:26. Whilst Paula Radcliffe ran 65:40 at the Great North Run, its point-to-point and downhill nature means it isn’t record eligible. Three weeks out from her marathon debut in London, excitement for what she may do has grown a notch.

Behind, there were a flurry of excellent performances. Samantha Harrison had one of the best runs of her career, finishing fourth in 67:17. That is a 55 second PB and moves her to fourth on the British all-time list. There were encouraging PBs also for Calli Thackery (69:01), Kate Drew (73:05) and Verity Hopkins (73:35) finishing sixth, 19th and 21st respectively.

Sam Moakes made an excellent debut over 13.1 miles, finishing in 64:24. There was a continued encouraging return to form for Derek Hawkins (65:16) in his second race of 2023. Paralympian David Devine (65:22) improved by over two minutes in his second half marathon, having won the Wrexham Half Marathon in February. Chris Thomas also revised his lifetime best by 27 seconds, clocking 65:40.

Brighton is Back

Following its takeover by the London Marathon’s organisers, the Brighton Marathon made a welcome return to the south coast.

After a 66:41 PB at the Brighton Half Marathon in February, Marshall Smith took the win comfortably in 2:24:07. It was an impressive marathon debut for the Ashford athlete in his first year as a senior. According to the results page at the time of writing, he finished over 12 minutes clear of the rest of the field. Jack Pugh and Will Langdon were tied across the line, both recording 2:36:15. Just one second behind was Barney Reed (2:36:16). Top three women were Helen Reid (2:55:11), Lucy Barnes (2:56:10) and Fay Hughes (2:56:42).

Taking place on the same day, and much of the seafront course, was the Brighton 10k. It provided a commanding win for Joelle Cortis (35:43) who finished over a minute ahead of Linda Schofield (36:50) and Lucy Lavender (37:01).

The men’s race was a closer affair, with the top three separated by seven seconds. Holland Sports’ Jack Kavanagh (31:04) was first across the line. He improved his 2022 lifetime best by over two and a half minutes in the process, having started running only at the end of 2021. Following him were Kurtis Gibson (31:09) and V45 Kojo Kyereme (31:11), the latter in his first 10k in three years.

Second British Record of the Day

The Anglo Celtic-Plate 100k made its first visit to Northern Ireland on Sunday. The event doubled up to include the UKA 100k Championships and incorporated teams from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland & Ulster and Ireland.

England’s Sarah Webster had the performance of the day, finishing in a monumental 7:03:40 and over one hour (!) clear of the rest of the field. That time improves the British Record for 100km and puts her second on the European all-time list; it would have been a European Record until January before Poland’s Dominika Stelmach ran 6:53:20. It is the fifth best time in history.

Behind her were Ireland’s Patricia McLoughlin (8:19:25), Northern Ireland’s Karla Borland (8:26:26) and Scotland pair Emma Murray (8:26:36) and Amanda Woodrow (8:39:04). Finishing in an impressive 6:37:19 and almost four minutes clear of the field was Jarlath McKenna. Representing Northern Ireland, the V40 had an excellent cross-country season, including taking the British Masters XC title last month. Behind him were Joseph Turner (6:41:06) and Baniel Rothwell (6:43:25). Dale Seddon was the first of the English team home in fourth (6:47:57) having outsprinted Scot Dougie Selman to the line (6:47:58).

Team England at the ACP100k

More Half Marathons

At the Great Welsh Half Marathon, Dewi Griffiths recorded his fastest half marathon in four years to win in 63:48. It was a clear victory, with Will Munday (71:25) and Mark Thomas (73:00) trailing him by over seven minutes. Hannah Munday (86:34) took over six minutes off her previous best, set in Cardiff last year, to won the women’s field. Emma Baxter (87:05) and Becky Nicholas (89:05) completed the top three.

Another popular and often fast race is the Reading Half Marathon. Less than a fortnight after a 10k win at the Isle of Man, Ollie Lockley continued his good form in 2023 to win in 64:35. Eighteen seconds behind was Alex Lawrence (64:53) who took almost 40 seconds off his lifetime best. In his debut half, Ben Alcock finished third with 65:08. Local athlete Naomi Mitchell (72:12) took the win in her eighth visit to the race, improving on her previous best of second in 2021. Rebecca Murray (72:39) improved her PB by 20 seconds in second, with Emma Styles (75:31) third.

The Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon doubled up as the National Trail Championships. There were victories for Lee Gratton (70:27) and Hannah Cowley (87:51).

Lee Gratton at the Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon

Plenty Elsewhere

Jack Cummings (1:21:03) and Hinda Hardaker (1:43:34) won the Basildon Boundary Way Half Marathon, whilst Sian Pugh (90:55) and Cameron Milne (70:37) took the honours at the Belvoir Half Marathon. In London, the Putney & Fulham Half Marathon went to Elana Dimmer (87:12) and Luke Martin (76:19).

David Smale (68:03) and Alice Neil (81:33) won the London Landmarks Half Marathon, one of the most tourist-sight heavy races there is. Nerys Jones (85:49) and Michael Beckett (73:42) took the honours at the Devizes Half Marathon.

Nicholas Curtis (2:41:09) and Hannah Curtis (3:24:24) were victorious in the ABP Southampton Marathon. The associated half marathon went to Tina Christmann (83:42) and Ben Holmes (72:32), with Joe Wade (32:00) and Bethan Francis (39:23) winning the 10k. Finally, Grace Baker (19:22) and Jonnie Findell (17:02) took the 5k honours.

Sticking with the marathon, Blair Mcwhirter (2:28:48) and Kelly Dicks (2:58:27) won the Great Welsh Marathon in Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire. The respective top threes were completed by Jack Pickett (2:30:12), Steffan Walker (2:36:57), Joanna Callan (3:04:09) and Rhiannon Baxter (3:11:31).

Three distances were available to athletes at the Bramham Park Races organised by Wild Deer Events. Samantha Tecwyn (94:50) and John Ogalbe (91:54) were quickest in the half marathon, with Jamie Ingilby (37:49) and Rebecca Taylor (45:03) taking the 10k. David Mather-Gleave (25:18) and Katie Askew (27:16) were quickest over 5k.

10ks Galore

It was a good day for Cambridge Harriers and Brighton Phoenix at the RunThrough Battersea Park 10k on Saturday morning. Thomas Brooke (31:58) and Kate Natkiel (35:49) recorded wins respectively. Over the two lap 5k, it was Gillian Bushee (17:33) and Rhys Doherty (15:26) who took wins.

The Monsal Trail Half Marathon & 10k are somewhat rare as they offer the same race on two consecutive days. Saturday’s edition provided wins for Caroline Warrington (87:30) and Charles Bell (72:47) in the half and Mark Robinson (37:44) and Rachael Lewis (50:17) over 10k. Fast forward 24 hours and it was the turn of Rupert Allison (72:59) and Ali Hoyle (86:57) to record wins in the half. Sarah Heath (43:41) and Simon Mayes (35:35) took the honours in the second 10k.

Rounding through some other races over 10k. The Nantwich 10k went to James Straw (31:09) and Carla Davies (35:17), with Sophie Marr (38:17) and Jordan Bell (32:16) taking the Port of Blyth 10k. It was the turn of Jacob Cann (31:35) and Bethan Jones (38:19) at the Sir John Talbot’s Whitchurch 10K.

Frazer Knowles (32:40) and Alice Belcher (36:05) crossed the line first at the Wright Hassall Regency 10k, with Sam Dear (40:05) and Louise Johanna Dear (43:48) victorious at the Tewinbury Trails 10K. Sean Flanagan (33:31) and Megan Chapple (36:59) won the Kew Gardens 10k, with Laura Berns (82:20) and Mark Haskett (72:25) winning the associated half marathon.

Plenty Elsewhere

With a margin of over six minutes, Gwylym Gibson (1:05:04) took a commanding victory at the Power Run at Powderham Castle 10 Mile. He was joined on the top spot by Laura Wilby (1:15:24). The associated five-mile race was won by Clare Cowen (35:30) and Jason Hockridge (34:35).

Stuart Piper (31:28) and Camille Cowan (35:27) won the Gunpowder Run over five miles in Battle in East Sussex. John French (59:20) and Fiona Todd (67:20) won the 3 Village 10 in Carlisle. It was Millie Mcvittie (32:47) and Andrew Wilson (28:36) who won the associated five mile race.

Dave Wilkes (34:03) and Belinda Houghton (36:58), won the Fleetwood Spring 10k, the latter finishing fourth overall. Michael Towler (26:56) and Emma Hines (31:56) were victorious at the Highworth 5 Mile.

The excellently named We Need to Talk About Chevin, a 14k trail race, went to Chloe Hirst (1:21:56) and Tim Patterson (1:10:02). The latter set a course record in the process.

To the Track

The SLAN Early Season Outdoor Open in Carshalton provided opportunities to race over 1500m and 3000m. Orla Carroll (10:51.76) and Daniel Wolff (9:31.12) were fastest over the latter. South London Harrier George Ogden (4:05.31) won his 1500m heat by over ten seconds; Rossie Gasson (4:55.87) the fastest female. There were wins for Dylan Tomaselli (9:38.81) and Alice Fearn (10:41.35) over 3000m at the Nuneaton Season Opener on Saturday. Over 800m, Rosie West (2:19.63) and Ben Smith (1:57.62) were fastest.

Rachael Franklin (16:08.2) and Corrin Leeming (15:55.7 PB) were quickest over 5000m at the Isle of Man League midweek. Aisha Redhead (3:29.09) and Louis Starr (2:41.31 PB) were quickest over 1000m at the midweek Corby AC Open Meeting.

A strong handful of university students travelled to Stretford for Wednesday’s Northern Universities Cup. Leeds’ Ritchie Gardiner led three athletes under four minutes in the 1500m (3:56.57), with Ellin Griffiths (5:09.72) representing Nottingham the fastest female. Another Nottingham athlete, Niall Ackroyd (2:04.28), and Grace Forster (2:24.73) of Leeds Beckett were quickest over 800m. It was two wins in as many races for Ellin Griffiths as she also took the 3000m (10:47.26). Finally, Will Haw (15:33.15) improved his PB whilst taking the 5000m for Leeds Beckett.

Ending Stateside

Stateside, there were some good performances at the Stanford Invitational over 10,000m. Charles Hicks (27:57.47) took the win with Scott Beattie (27:58.92) fourth. Beattie’s time is a 20 second PB and sees him become the 40th British athlete to break 28 minutes. Rory Leonard (28:21.30) impressively improved his best by 65 seconds and moved to 12th U23 British all-time. That is also a European U23 Championships qualifying time. Only Charles Hicks and Alex Yee have gone faster as U23 in the past 30 years.

Steeplechase specialists Elise Thorner (4:17.08) and Maisie Grice (4:23.85) raced over 1500m, with the latter running the 800m also (2:09.55). Jack Meijer (13:51.63), Edward Buck (14:11.41) and Bella Williams (16:00.24) raced over 5000m.

Just one hundredth of a second separated Tiarnan Crorken (1:46.82) and Yusuf Bizimana (1:46.83) over 800m at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, where Caitlin Wosika (35:57.19) set a PB over 10,000m.

Zak Freeland (16:26.45) and Bethany Cook (17:42.88) set PBs over 5000m at the Vertklasse in North Carolina. There were PBs over the same distance at the Mike Fanelli Classic for Danielle Rowlinson (16:51.68), Emily Field (17:59.86) and Benjamin Preddy (14:46.89). Finally, Lauren Charlton (17:32.19) also competed over 12.5 laps at the UAB Spring Invitational in Alabama.