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UK Athletics

BUPA Great South and Nike Young Athletes’ Road Relays reports

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Jo Pavey
Jo Pavey

While Jo Pavey became the first British woman for eight years to win the BUPA Great South Run, another West Country girl was the record-breaker at the English Road Running Association Nike Young Athletes’ Road Relays in Sutton Park on Sunday 22 October.


Naomi Speake (Bristol and West AC) covered the aptly named glory leg of the Under 13 Girls’ 3x3861m race in a course record of 13 minutes 36 seconds. To put it into perspective, it was beaten by only one Under 15 Girl, Sarah Barker (Sale Harriers Manchester), who clocked 13:33, and by only five of the Under 17 Women, Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District), who splashed through intensifying puddles as the rain teemed down to clock 12:49; Jessica Coulson (Stockport) 13:09; Katie Knowles (Bristol) 13:25; Blue Haywood (Lincoln Wellington) 13:44; and Lily Partridge (Aldershot) 13:35.


Even though the older athletes had progressively worsening weather, Speake’s run was special in that it was 28 seconds faster than the Midlands record she set only last month – when the only other female to go faster was her Under 17 club mate, Knowles. And Speake picked up 28 places – taking her from 36th to 8th in a race won by AFD.


Club officials are astonished by Speake’s progress, especially as her father and coach, Wayne Speake – a member of successful Bristol teams of the past – insists she trains only three times a week. To complete the family’s success, Naomi’s twin brother Adam clocked 14:15 over the same distance to help Bristol take the Under 13 Boys’ bronze medals.


For full results, go to www.race-results.co.uk. For an analysis of how the top-ranking track runners of this summer fared in the relays, go to www.powerof10.info


Jo Pavey transferred her world-class track quality onto the roads by covering the Great South Run’s 10 miles at Portsmouth in 52:46, despite dreadful weather (high winds, heavy rain), to go to 5th in the UK all-comers’ rankings.


The Commonwealth 5000m silver medallist was also heartened by the fact that she finished the race feeling physically well after her problems at the BUPA Great North Run. She won by over a minute from Serbia and Montenegro's Olivera Jevtic, who holds the curious record of having won 4 bronze medals at successive European Cross Country Championships, and Cathy Mutwa, the Kenyan athlete who spearheaded Birchfield Harriers’ victory in the ERRA Nike National Women’s Four Stage Road Relay in a drier Sutton Park 24 hours earlier.


Pavey had planned challenging Jill Hunter's 16-year-old British record of 51:14, but quickly realised it would be a hopeless task: "I was aware of what mile splits I wanted to do, so I was disappointed not to run a quicker time. I just concentrated on keeping relaxed and judging my pace. I wanted to run quicker but the weather was so tough it was exhausting me."


Jon Brown (Sheffield AC) continued his preparations for November’s Chiba Ekiden Relay and December's Fukuoka Marathon in Japan by finishing with 2 agonising seconds of becoming the first British male winner of this race since Gary Staines a decade ago.


In a thrilling finish, Brown was beaten across the line by Kenya's pre-race favourite Simon Arusei, who clocked 47:17, and former European 10000m champion Chema Martinez from Spain.


Brown said: "The first two miles were very tough and the wind at the seven-and-half mile point to the finish caused problems. But it shows things are going in the right direction and I'm improving every week."


Leading men: 1 S Arusei (Kenya) 47:17; 2 J-M Martinez (Spain) 47:18; 3 J Brown (Sheffield) 47:19; 4 P Musyoki (Kenya) 47:55; 5 V Shabunin (Russia) 47:57; 6 M Pukstas (Lithuania) 48:30; 7 M Carroll (Ireland) 48:30; 8 Dan Robinson (Stroud) 48:42; 9 B Bene (Hungary) 48:49; 10 S Yemilanov (Russia) 48:54; 11 Tomas Abyu (Salford) 49:05; 12 Jason Ward (Altrincham) 49:09; 13 Peter Riley (Leigh) 49:19; 14 I Babarika (Ukraine) 49:33; 15 Richie Gardiner (Cardiff) 49:38.


Women: 1 J Pavey (Exeter Harriers) 52:46; 2 O Jevtic (Serbia and Montenegro) 53:53, 3 C Mutwa (Kenya / Birchfield) 54:16; 4 H Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) 55:01; 5 Y Gromova (Russia) 55:06; 6 Michelle Ross-Cope (City of Stoke) 55:51; 7 Birhan Dagne (Belgrave) 56:19; 8 G Ignatieva (Russia) 56:24; 9 Tracey Morris (Valley Striders) 56:36; 10 S O'Sullivan (Ireland) 56:42.