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Boddington 50km augurs well for Worlds

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The 50km race at Boddington was the last in the IAU 50km trophy series before the finale in Winshoten in the Netherlands. In addition it was the race in which athletes could prove their fitness prior to the selection of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at both the IAU European 24 hour Track Championships in Verona, Italy, in September and the IAU World 100km Challenge in Korea in October.

 

So it promised to be a fascinating event although it was an all-British cast. 67 runners started in cool but blustery conditions. In the Men’s race, Rod Harris (Long Eaton RC), Rob Bentley (Wessex RR), Dominic Croft (Woodstock Harriers), Julian Rendall (Thames Hare and Hounds) and Brian Cole (Royal Marines) shared the early lead. However after just over 10km, Harris and Rendall went clear. The next group of Croft, Bentley, Nathan Montage (Swindon Harriers), Chris Finill (Harrow AC) and Jim Rogers (East Hull Harriers) were not far behind. This gap was maintained for the next 15km to the halfway point. However, the three laps brought considerable changes as tiredness set it and the benefit of wise pacing came to the fore. Croft came back through the field to take the lead at the end of lap 12, at about the marathon point, and extended it to 2 minutes over Harris, in 3:06:07 and 3:08:31 respectively. Bentley finished third in 3:11:56. Montage was fourth with Finill and Rogers, who were proving fitness to run for GBR in the European 24 hour Championships, fifth and sixth respectively.

 

In the Women’s race, there was a very exciting head-to-head. All three of the prospective team for the World 100km Challenge in Korea were running and two made a race of it. Lizzie Hawker (Road Runners Club), who had won the Davos 78km mountain race just two weeks previously, and Heather Foundling-Hawker, who won the Dartmoor Discovery in June, were inseparable for the first 11 laps – until about 22 miles. Fiona Bayley (Riverside Runners St Neots) was lying in third until cramp set in. Sarah Tucker (Springfield Striders) and Zelah Morell ( Cornwall AC) were running together in fourth. Sue Bruce (Tewkesbury AC), the third lady in the team for Korea, was sixth, intent on running a steadier race to maintain her training for Korea.

 

After maintaining steady laps of 14-15 minutes for 22 miles, Foundling–Hawker dropped off the pace and Hawker drew ahead gaining 2-3 minutes each lap until the finish. With a brilliant winning time of 3:23:13, she is likely to take the British 50km best performance. However Foundling-Hawker should not be disappointed with her performance in second of 3:30:36, which may well put her top of the World Veterans’ 50km best performance standards. With Tucker, Morell and Bruce all finishing closely under 3:41, all is looking extremely promising for British Women’s Ultra distance racing.