A TRIO of Stratford Athletic Club runners have booked their places for the London Mini Marathon, held on the same day as the 26.2-mile event in the capital.
Held over the last three miles of the marathon course, each region of the country sends a team of six boys and girls in the under 13, under 15 and under 17 age groups.
The trials for the West Midlands team were held on Saturday at the cycle track at Stourport Sports Club over an undulating three-mile course and three of Stratford Athletic Club’s juniors took part knowing the first five in each race were guaranteed a place in the team.
In the first race, for the under 13s, the boys and girls set off together with Stratford’s Alex Adams to the fore straight away alongside Birchfield’s Finnan Robins.
Adams always controlled the race and moved clear after the first mile and then extended his lead continuously to eventually finish in 17:08, winning by a margin of 26 seconds. His time was exactly a minute quicker than he ran in London last year.
The other under 13 from Stratford was Maddie Linfoot on her debut at this distance. Although a first year in the age group, Linfoot ran a very mature race, pacing her run very consistently to finish fourth in a time of 20:02 to confirm her place in London.
In the final race for under 17s Georgie Campbell was racing having qualified for the last two years. A group of four girls quickly moved away from the field and settled into a fast pace.
After the first mile Campbell’s regular rival over cross country Ella Semple was first to drop back, leaving the other three girls running side by side.
Campbell was feeling strong so then pushed the pace which proved too fast for first Eden Schiller (Staffordshire Moorlands) and then Jess Humphreys (Wolves) and finally won in a time of 17:03, 26 seconds clear of Humphreys.
Interestingly, Campbell was 68 seconds quicker than in 2018 when she was second in the under 15 race, demonstrating just how she has improved in the past year.
Midland 10km Race Walk Championships (including Warwickshire Championships)
FOLLOWING the mini marathon trials on Saturday, coach Paul Hawkins returned to Stourport on Sunday to take part himself in the Midland 10k Racewalking Championships.
The race walkers used the same course as the day before although the laps were a little shorter so there were eight laps of 1,250m. After a mixed 2018 including several disqualifications due to knee problems, Hawkins was keen to check how the winter training had gone.
He settled into a good pace, averaging just under ten minutes a mile for the first five miles before slowing a little towards the end to ensure he maintained his technique.
After starting in the top ten, Hawkins did move through in the second half of the race, gaining a final place in the last 200m to finish fifth overall and claim second place in the Warwickshire Championships which were included in the race.
Hawkins was very happy with his time of 62:33, two minutes quicker than last year and his second-best time ever despite an undulating course.
Lambert smashes marathon PB in Worcester
PROLIFIC marathon runner Tara Lambert of Stratford AC took 16 minutes off her lifetime best at the ‘Greedy Marathon’ – part of the Seven Deadly Sins race series held in Worcester.
Following some promising recent training sessions, Lambert had been hopeful of breaking her PB of 4:18:55 set in Bournemouth back in 2015. However, once the race started, some doubts started to creep in.
“It was hillier than I’d hoped,” she said. “But it was a lapped course, which meant I could access my own energy drinks every few miles.”
She covered the first half in 1:59, putting her well inside schedule to achieve her 4:10 target.
“I didn’t expect to hold my pace so well in the second half, but I felt very strong and comfortable. It must be all those ultra-marathons!”
She finished third overall in 4:02:23, smashing her PB. “On a small event with 1,500ft of ascent, I was really surprised and pleased with the time,” she said.
“But I’ll have to put plans of a sub-four on hold as I’m mostly doing easy-paced long runs training for a 107-mile race in Ireland next month.”