It’s been another busy weekend on the roads, although slightly less frenetic than the last few weeks as the number of athletes transitioning from the roads to cross-country grows week by week. There remain plenty of excellent performances to bring you, and James Rhodes is here with the highlights.

Super Samantha

The Valencia Half Marathon is often called the fastest half marathon in the world, and it is not hard to see why. It is home to Letesenbet Gidey’s 62:52 World Record, as well the second fastest time in history. After today’s edition, eight of the ten fastest men of all-time set their PBs there.

From that last sentence you can see that this year’s race was as fast as expected. The highlight from a British perspective came from Samantha Harrison, who finished seventh in 67:10. That time is a seven second improvement on her PB, set in Berlin in February. It also moves her to third on the British all-time list, behind Paula Radcliffe and Eilish McColgan. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi won in 64:46, making her the joint ninth fastest woman in history.

The men’s race saw Kibiwott Kandie win in 57:40. Yomif Kejelcha and Hagos Gebrhiwet completed the top three, both finishing in 57:41. They move to joint third on the all-time list, with Kandie second thanks to his 57:32 from Valencia in 2020.

Marathon Debut

Southampton’s Alex Teuten made his debut over 26.2 miles at Sunday’s Abingdon Marathon. He finished in 2:19:22, impressively in his first non-Parkrun road race of the year. In fact, his only outing of the past six months was at the Abingdon Parkrun last month. Charlie Metcafle was the fastest woman, crossing the line in 2:56:06.

Mary Heald (3:31:13) and Alex Cowin (3:01:46) set the fastest times at the Langdale Marathon.

The multi-lap Battersea Park Marathon, which also took in the running track as well as the pancake-flat park loop, saw 31 athletes finish inside three hours. Amongst them were Rebecca Murray (2:50:07) and Tom Hollis (2:34:25), the quickest overall. The event also hosted the Battersea Park Half Marathon, which was won by Matt Dickinson (69:13) and Leigh Barrow (77:53).

Loving Leeds

It is probably fair to say that the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k does not come with the star-power it once did. However, that is not to detract from the excellent performances it delivers, with this year no different.

Abbie Donnelly (32:05) had an excellent outing, comfortably taking victory with a twenty second margin. It is her second fastest time over the distance, bettered only by her 31:42 PB in Lincoln earlier this year. Behind, Herne Hill’s Georgie Grgec (32:25) was ten seconds shy of her lifetime best. Even closer was Sophie Wallace (32:41) in third, just six second off her PB.

The top eight women all ran inside 34 minutes. Amongst them was Tokyo Olympian Steph Davis, who finished fourth in 33:13. It is great to see Steph back racing, this being her longest race since the Seville Marathon in February 2022.

The men’s field saw Iceland’s Baldvin Magnusson (28:51) take a narrow victory ahead of Jonny Mellor (28:53). Baldvin trains in Leeds, and last raced in the UK at the Watford BMC Grand Prix in July. Jonny’s time is just four seconds shy of his fastest of the year. Jed Noblett (29:11) completed the podium. The top 15 all ran inside 30 minutes.

Mine’s a Half

There was a smattering of half marathons across the country this weekend for athletes to choose them. Amongst them was the Royal Borough of Kingston Half Marathon. In her second ever race over the distance, local athlete Phoebe Law (77:04) took victory. She improved her PB by 90 seconds in the process. Mohamed Hashi (69:31) was fastest in the men’s field in his fifth half marathon of 2023.

Further south, Nikki Goodwin (94:25) and David Harmer (77:49) crossed the line first at the Maidstone Half Marathon. We’ve covered its marathon already, but over half the distance Will Clarke (76:50) and Amy Whelan (97:21) took the honours at the Langdale Half Marathon

David Hill (82:22) and Kelly Butler (1:42:33) won the challenging Cannock Chase Forest Half Marathon. Lee Gratton (35:50) and Esther Hunt (50:00) ran the fastest times in the associated 10k.

Staying with 10k

Away from Leeds, Josh Grace (30:12) set one of the weekend’s fastest times at the Fleet 10k. Alexa King (37:46) took the honours in the women’s field.

After a season focusing primarily on the steeplechase, Poppy Tank ran her first 10k of 2023 at the Cheshire 10k. She was the quickest athlete overall with 34:01; James McCann (34:20) was the fastest male.

The event was organised by RunThrough and was on of a handful of their races this weekend. On Saturday, Ryan Hogan (33:11) and Olivia Hudson (34:43) were quickest at the Battersea Park 10k. Chris Williams (15:58) and Hannah Pullen (17:18) were quickest in the two-lap 5k.

Abigail Scales (40:20) and Paul Howard (32:52) won the Tatton Park 10k, with the associated 5k going to Michelle Mullineaux (23:39) and Liam Morrow (19:52).

Finally there were wins for Alan Oliver (33:39) and Nicki Nealon (40:53) at the Leicestershire Running Festival 10k. Over the same course, the 10 mile went to Tom Mahon (56:28) and Chloe Tyler (66:26), whilst Sophie Eadsforth (19:39) and John Stolberg (15:30) won the 5k.

It was a good day for Connor Rogers at the Abergele 10k in Wales. Not only did he win the 10k in 34:07, he did the double with victory in the 5k also (15:53). Louise Whittingham (38:02) and Helen Taylor (18:46) won the respective races in the women’s fields.

Stacey Hawkins (40:58) and Gary Whitehouse (35:31) won the Bridgnorth 10k. In the first race of the monthly series, Jamie Hall (35:13) and Louise Andrews (46:23) won the Tempo Winter Series 10k in Ilmington.

In more challenging off-road conditions, the Standish Hall Trail 10k near Wigan provided Dan Annison (39:40) and Marie Jarvis (48:26) with victories. Krista Crowther (43:19) and Geoff Wynn (38:07) won the Kilham Multi Terrain 10k.

Other Distances

Let’s end the round up with a compilation of alternative distances on offer this weekend. Ben Biggs (52:18) and Belinda Houghton (60:43) set the fastest times of the weekend over ten miles, doing so at the Cheshire 10.

Over the same distance, there were wins for Molly Rasch (62:20) and Christopher Peck (54:18) at the Weymouth 10. Jonathan Janes (55:41) just outsprinted Sullivan Smith (55:45) to victory at the Thurlow 10. Vashti Macdonald-Clink (73:05) was the fastest female.

There were no such close finishes at the Green Drive 5. Lisa Gawthorne (30:33) won with a margin of 59 seconds, similar to Daniel Bebbington (24:13) in the men’s field. David Raimondo (29:13) and Katie King (31:01) took victories at the Thurlow 5.

Carl Moulton (53:55) and Isabella Shaw (63:39) won the Meerbrook 15k over a rarely-raced distance. More frequently raced is 5k. Matthew Bradley (16:57) and Rebecca Ezra-Ham (17:37) took the Tavy 5k whilst Harris Worship (16:25) and Lesley Locks (17:54) won the Fleet 5k.

Ending with some serious elevation gain; 340m over 5k to be precise, at the Craig O Barns Hill Race in Scotland. Tasha Myles (39:27) and Richard Cooper (37:00) took it on the quickest to take wins. Impressive!