Another busy weekend of racing on the roads, alongside some impressive performances in the mountains of Gran Canaria. James Rhodes takes you some of the highlights of the past few days.

Marvellous at McKirdy

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start the round up, and it’s not often that one would think of the Rockland Lake State Park in New York. However, on Saturday it was home to the Bakline’s McKirdy Micro Marathon, a multi-lap route that played host to Calli Thackery’s marathon debut.

Calli doubled the distance a fortnight on from her 68:56 PB for seventh at the World Road Running Championships in Latvia. There are good distance debuts, and then there are this. Away from the spotlight of a big-city marathon and without a dedicated marathon build up, she took the victory in 2:22:17 (2:22:11 chip).

Photo: James McKirdy

Over four minutes inside the Olympic standard and joint second with Charlotte Purdue on the British all-time list. Her chip time was six second faster than that of Charlotte in Berlin last night. It was also the third fastest debut by a European in history, behind Sifan Hassan (2:18:33) and Paula Radcliffe (2:18:56).

It’s been quite a year that has included PBs at 5k, 10k and the half, a new contract with Nike and a win at the Big Half. It will be fascinating to see what she can do next year with a full marathon-focused build up.

Selection decisions for the women’s marathon team for Paris will certainly be interesting!

More Marathoning

Closer to home, plenty of athletes took to the roads for 26.2 miles. Melissah Gibson had an excellent run to win the Yorkshire Marathon by over two and a half minutes. Her time of 2:40:40 also improved her PB from last year’s Seville Marathon by three minutes. It’s been a busy year for Melissah with this, impressively, being her tenth marathon of 2023!

Hannah Berry (2:43:15) and Jenny Blizard (2:52:22) completed the top three. In the men’s field, Joe Sagar (2:24:10) was a comfortable victor ahead of Gary Briscoe (2:26:05) and Mohamed Abshir (2:26:34). His finishing time was a shade over a minute outside his best, set in London in April. The top five all finished inside 2:30:00.

Further south, Aaron Hudson (2:41:10) and Nikki Woodyard (3:02:57) won the Chelmsford Marathon. Further south still, Sarah Reel (3:28:22) and Steve Reynolds (2:50:54) crossed the line first at the Eden Project Marathon. Oliver Blake (76:08) and Laura Macro (91:21) won the half marathon.

Daniel Hamilton (2:17:59) and Tracy Barlow (2:38:56) were the fastest of the British entrants at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, which was won by Joshua Belet (2:04:17) and Meseret Belete (2:18:18) respectively.

In the Mountains

There was plenty of British success at the Valsir Mountain World Cup Finalissima at Sky Gran Canaria this weekend. The athletes were faced with unexpectedly hot conditions and forest fire warnings which saw race distances and routes changed. That did not phase Scout Adkin and Joe Steward as they took victories in Friday’s Sky A4Uphill race. The pair completed a revised 4km course in 21:17 and 17:42 respectively.

Photo: WMRA- Marco Gulberti

Eleven seconds separated Joe from the rest of the field, with Patrick Kipngeno of Kenya and American Christian Allen completing the top three. In the women’s field, Scout’s time was 13 seconds quicker than Susanna Saapunki of Finland.

Saturday hosted the longest race of the weekend; the Sky TPT38 Long. Sara Willhoit finished third on the 38km course, with Harry Holmes fifth in the men’s field. Sunday’s 22km Classic Distance saw Joe finished fourth (1:17:26) in the men’s field, whilst Scout made her second podium of the weekend in third (1:32:52).

Photo: Gill Bland

Those performances, coupled with the rest of the season, saw Scout finish second and Joe third in the overall World Cup rankings. Scout topped the uphill rankings for the season, and third in the classic rankings. Joe finished second in the uphill rankings.

Perfect in Portsmouth

The Great South Run is often billed as the UK’s top ten-mile race, and this year’s edition lived up to that billing. The Portsmouth coast was blessed with perfect racing conditions that delivered plenty of fast times.

The stand out run out of the day was by Zak Mahamed, who’s 46:41 moves him to joint seventh on the UK all-time list. Only Emile Cairess and Mo Farah have run faster in the past 25 years. The podium was completed by Jacob Allen (47:13) and Omar Ahmed (47:31), both with PBs. Jacob’s time slots him into the top-25 in British history.

Behind, it was encouraging to see Callum Hawkins (47:43), Marc Scott (48:09) and Jake Smith (48:30) continue their returns from injury, finishing fourth, sixth and eighth respectively. In between them were Ben Bradley (48:00) in fifth and Seyfu Jamaal (48:25) in seventh.

Lily Partridge continued her fine year to win the women’s field with a 25 second PB, crossing the line in 54:04. A strong last kilometre saw Hannah Irwin move from fourth to second (54:30) with Amelia Quirk (54:37) third. It’s great to see Amelia back racing, this being her first since May and the longest of her career.

There were PBs also for Lucy Reid (54:48), Sonia Samuels (55:14), Naomi Mitchell (55:47), Sarah Astin (56:04) and Kate Estlea (56:15) in fourth to eighth. Tt is the first time Lucy has contested the distance, and Sonia’s first since 2017 – her prior best being 56:54.

Sticking with ten miles, there were wins for Katy Wood (56:53) and Cal Mills (50:18) at the Yorkshire 10 and Dylan Evans (48:42) and Steph Twell (55:44) at the Cabbage Patch 10.

Manchester & More

After wins at the Vitality 10k and Big Half last month (and a World Road Running Championships appearance), Jack Rowe added the Manchester Half Marathon to his victory list. The event doubled up as the England Athletics Half Marathon Championships. His time of 62:40 was over a minute shy of his PB from last month, but saw him finish precisely two minutes ahead of Andrew Heyes (64:40). Tommy Power finished third (66:08).

Photo: Tom Craggs

Lauren Mcneil was a clear victor in the women’s field with 70:01, improving her best by over a minute. Joining her husband Andrew with a second-place finish was Lauren Heyes (71:22), also a big PB. Gemma Astin completed the podium with 71:54.

Photo: Tom Craggs

Other athletes making the most of the weather included Jonathan Escalante-Phillips (64:25) and Phillipa Williams (73:05) who won the Bath Half Marathon. In Peterborough, Joe Wilkinson (66:23) and Mabel Beckett (77:05) took the honours at the Great Eastern Run. The associated 5k went to Ruby Rae Smith (20:30) and Thomas Preston (16:01).

Across to Essex, where the Chelmsford Half Marathon went to Hannah Mcgowan-Jones (81:02) and Ryan Willmott (76:09) whilst Elliott Stones (69:35) and Venika Moverley (88:11) won the Hedgehog Half Marathon.

Chelmsford Half Marathon Men’s Podium. Photo: Scott Darney

RunThrough’s events continued at pace. Christopher Baxter (79:45) and Josie Smith (98:36) crossed the line first at the Carsington Water Half Marathon. In London, Rosamund Ponder (83:04) and Jonathan Jackson (73:13) did the same at Saturday’s Victoria Park Half Marathon.

Finally, there were victories for Matthew Kearney (66:31) and Steph McCall (75:34) at the Oxford Half Marathon. Fast times behind saw Matt Jackson (66:41) and Andrew Davies (67:34) complete the men’s top-three, with Melissa Hawtin (66:38) and Katherine Wood (66:58) on the women’s podium.

Shorter Distances

Let’s not forget the (comparatively) shorter distances with a flurry of 10k races this weekend. One of the fastest was the Cambridge 10k, which provided victories for John Millar (29:26) and Maddie Jordan-Lee (33:31). Maddie took almost a minute off her lifetime best set last year, with John taking precisely a minute off his. The event hosted the Eastern Athletics 10k Inter-County Championships, with the titles going to John and Maddie.

Cambridge 10k. Photo: Trevor Bunch.

Jack Arnold (34:01) and Louise Cartmell (39:14) were victorious at the Middleton 10k as were Mackenzie Mccourt (38:26) and Andrew Parkinson (32:47) at the Oswestry 10k. The Stilton Stumble 10k went to Archie Bradbury (33:32) and Camilla Hallet (43:04).

James McLeod (36:20) and Belinda Houghton (37:51) crossed the line first at the Autumn Breaker 10k organised by Fylde Coast Runners. Also on the coastline were Claire Cooney (38:09) and Adam Theaker (33:34) as they won the Yorkshire Coast 10k. On the south coast, Reuben Hoyte (32:26) and Sophie Coleman (35:52) ran well to win the Hove Prom 10k.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Neil Hennigan (36:19) and Fay Hughes (38:47) at the Wirral 10k, and Libby Jay (42:34) and Perry Payne (36:17) at the Love Luton Run Fest 10k. Laura Bailey (38:49) and Rowell Nieuwenhoudt (35:36) were first at RunThrough’s Carsington Water 10k.

Finally, the midweek Chase the Moon Battersea Park 10k saw Margarita Pchelkina (39:50) and Scott Singleton (33:25) take top honours.