The Leiden Marathon Festival had the honour of being chosen to host the Dutch National Half Marathon Championship to mark its 25th running. This meant among the 13,000+ runners heading to the city were the very best from the home nation as well as the obligatory elites that are required by regulation to give the full marathon its international status. Full road closures are easier in a city where most of the traffic is on their bikes so the roads were closed on the Saturday night to allow a streetlight 5k starting at 22:30 to get the party going. At the race village when collecting the race numbers our runners were told the forecast was a wind of speed 5 remarked, “5kph, that is pretty good” we said only to be corrected the forecast was in the Beaufort scale and this meant 31 – 39kph! Due to her finishing position the previous year Catherine Payne was allocated a place in starting pen A1, the elite box where she could hopefully get a clean getaway without being hampered by the enthusiastic start of some midfielders.
On race day the city was buzzing with every distance of runner warming up in their distinctive colours to denote their distance, with the 10k starting at 10:00, although it would take 15 minutes to clear the start, the full marathon at 10:45 and the 10k at 14:00, one man actually did all of them in a row! The race starts and finishes on the cobbled streets of the city which together with the bridges and underpasses makes this course a bit slower than others. Once clear of the city and running along the canal banks Catherine was able run in clear air along the canal banks catching and passing the tail runners of the half marathon just before 10k in around 47 minutes. As the temperature climbed due to the cloudless skies it became tougher to keep the pace and the half way arrived around 100 minutes. In order to compensate for the lack of support in the rural stretches there is a competition to see which one of the five villages the route passes through can give the most and nosiest support. Zoeterwoude won the prize this year with the entire village dressed up as the cast of Hello, Hello and backed with a brass band.
As you would expect the course is very exposed in places and at 31km there was a strong headwind that sorted out who had done the training, it was here that Catherine started to work her way through the field by slowing down less than others and passing every other female runner in sight. Re-entering the city with 4k to go on the cobbles she was overtaken taken by Belgian Silvia Lenaerts to drop to second place in the veteran category. Unfortunately for Silvia she had used too much energy too early trying to pass and was unable to respond in the run in finishing some 10 seconds adrift as Catherine finished first in her age group and fifth lady overall in 3:24:53. Also taking part was Robert McArdle who despite the best efforts of his physio went into the race hampered by a hip injury, he was able to run the first 5k before his right leg seized up again causing him to drag his foot for the final 37, which is pretty dangerous on cobbles! His time of 3:41:46 was fifth in his age category.
Eyam Half Marathon
On the 16th May Gavin Meadows travelled to picturesque Derbyshire to compete in the Eyam Half Marathon. With hills from the start, there was 366 metres of ascent before the 12 mile point then heading downhill to the finish. This was a tough race. But even so, Gavin ran a highly creditable 1:37:15.
BUPA London 10000
On the Bank Holiday Monday, Matthew Kingston-Lee surprised himself by knocking another 10 seconds of his 10k personal best in the BUPA London 10000. This is a highly prestigious race incorporating the British Men's and Women's 10k championships, yet is open to all. Starting and finishing in St. James's Park, it passes many of London's famous landmarks including St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. Matthew finished the race in 34min 24sec and 138th place out of 11900.
On the 24th and closer to home, William Parkin was our sole representative at the Market Deeping 10k. He added to his collection of top results, finishing 16th in 37:12.
On the 10th Paul Durham took another slice of his PB, finishing Eye 10k in 48:15. A fraction under the benchmark 70% age grade and faster than his Lincoln time from March. On the other hand, March was in the middle of his 40 10k’s in 40 days. So the benefits of a good taper for Eye!
On a sunny Wednesday evening in Lillestrom, Norway, Jānis Arseņikovs finished his latest 10k in 5th place in 34:02.09. We’ll continue to try and track his progress throughout the season.
On the same Wednesday, Willam Parkin competed in the first of the Lincoln 5k series. These are fast and flat with a very high standard of entrants yet still very welcoming to all. The winner, Matt Bowser competed in 14:55 while William was 25th in a still very fast 17 minutes and 17 seconds.
Assorted Parkrun Highlights
On the 16th Matthew Kingston-Lee returned to Melton Mowbray and won the event in the second fastest time there ever, in 17:25 and 77.8%
Also on the 16th, Rob Howbrook made his competitive return with a PB at Newark in 20:04. This was his 29th attempt at Newark Parkrun and still improving. Well done Rob! Paul Durham also gained a new PB at Newark in 24:08.
Chris Limmer attempted Clumber Park for the first time on the 23rd and recorded 3rd place in a highly impressive 18 minutes flat.
While Stuart Sinclair recorded 19:01 in Hazlemere in Aberdeen on the 23rd.
Finally, our new recruits were busy at the parkruns too. Martin Carter and Anthony Smith PB’ing on the 16th in Newark then first timers at Melton on the 23rd. Also at Melton were Emma Harrington and Margaretta Murray whilst Amy Money, Louise Fenton and Cheryl Bennett were first timers at Newark. For all our recent parkrun results, please see the Parkrun link at the top of the page.
Rimini Middle Distance European Championships Triathlon
Finally something a little different. GRC’s Jez Page was representing team GB at this year’s middle distance European Championship in Northern Italy. Having just clicked up an age group Jez was fancied to get close to the podium and went into the race in good shape having just set a lifetime’s best in the London Marathon but things did not go as well as planned mostly due to the weather. The open water swim didn’t suit him as he had not been practicing with waves crashing over his head as they were that day. Starting the 90k cycle ride in heavy rain he knew the climb into the mountain villages and back was going to be risky especially as he had almost nine minutes to make up after the swim. The climb went well and he was able to catch and pass as he negotiated the assent from the coast and the wet cobbles in the built us areas. Just after passing through the 50k mark on a steep decent whilst travelling at 31mph Jez rounded a corner and planted his front wheel straight into a pothole that sent the bike cartwheeling down the slope. After checking that the bike was not badly damaged and he had no broken bones he set off gingerly to complete the bike ride at a more sedate pace. Despite losing another fifteen minutes to his schedule on the bike Jez was still in a points scoring position for the team so felt obliged to start the half marathon leg of the event despite having shredded his suit and having grazed his whole right side. Literally limping home in a run time some 45 minutes outside his best he still claimed 13th position in the championship but he will need a new GBR tri suit for his trip to Sweden for the Long Distance Championships later this month.