Monday, March 1, 2021

Early bird entries open for Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2020

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Image Credit: Charles Whitton Photography

The organisers of Shrewsbury Half Marathon have confirmed that the 2020 event will take place on Sunday 11th October and early bird entries are now open.

Following the success of the 2019 event – which had moved from its June date to October- the UKA accredited Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2020 promises to deliver another first-class race experience with incredible runner and community support.

Powered by UKRunChat, Shrewsbury Half Marathon starts and finishes at Shropshire County Showground, home to a fully equipped race village. The route then takes runners through Shrewsbury town centre and out into the beautiful Shropshire countryside before returning to the Showground to be cheered over the finish line.

The course incorporates some Shropshire hills and features scenery and support are second-to-none, making the race a firm favourite among local club runners as well as athletes travelling from further afield.

The 2020 event will welcome an increased number of local and national charity partners, giving runners plenty of opportunity to run for charity and make a difference to others.

The day will also be an important meet-up for leading online running community Run Mummy Run, with members from all over the UK expected to get together and run.

The atmosphere at the 2019 event was fantastic, with superb support from all the volunteers, marshals, pacers, medical crew, sponsors, spectators and local residents who lined the route to cheer on the runners. Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, with many runners complementing the efficient organisation, friendly atmosphere, wonderful support, stunning views, impressive medal and environmentally-friendly goody bag and carton of water.

Participants at Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2020 can once more look forward to a professional and friendly race, with a team of SRG pacers to help them hit their targets and more big-name sponsors which will be announced soon. The race represents excellent value for money, with a bespoke medal, technical race souvenir t-shirt, free pre and post-race massage, free photos, as well as a carton of water and race treats at the finish all included in the entry fee.

There will also be a shopping village, easy parking on site, and prizes for the top three male and female and age category winners.

The winners of On Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2019 were Tom Roberts with a time of 01:09:54 and Jackie Skinner with a time of 01:21:27.

Organisers Joe Williams and Rebecca Richardson commented, “We are delighted to confirm that Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2020 will take place on Sunday 11th October. Our new autumn date proved extremely popular and we celebrated a brilliant day for everyone at the 2019 event. The support and camaraderie were amazing with everyone out in force to cheer on the runners, a friendly atmosphere, many PBs, and all round celebrations of the day’s achievements. We can’t wait to put on another incredible day and look forward to welcoming runners of all levels to the 2020 event. Early bird entries are available until midnight on 31st December, offering the lowest price for runners to secure their place for Shrewsbury Half Marathon 2020.”

Shrewsbury Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 11th October 2020. A total of 3,000 places are available. Early bird entry is open and costs £27 (affiliated) / £29 (unaffiliated).

Go to www.shrewsburyhalf.com to register and for further event details. You can also like the Facebook page, and follow @Shrewsburyhalf on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest news at #ShrewsburyHalf #UKRunChat.

Great Britain Cycling Team extend deal with KALAS to develop next generation kit

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Image credit: SWPix

Following a successful four-year partnership, KALAS Sportwear and British Cycling have committed to a further four-year collaboration. The Czech based custom cycle wear specialists will continue as the Official Sportswear Supplier to British Cycling and the Great Britain Cycling Team until the end of 2024.

British Cycling Performance Director Stephen Park said: “When it comes to performance, our on-bike clothing supplier is important to the success of the Great Britain Cycling Team. To be the world’s best we must be at the cutting edge of innovation. We have developed a close working relationship with Kalas and together we have some very exciting on-bike clothing plans which will improve aerodynamic performance and help make our riders go faster on the bike.”

Kalas Director Josef Filip said: “In British Cycling we have found a fantastic partner to work with. Together, we have an incredible combined knowledge and expertise in the development of high-performance cycle wear. British Cycling support world class athletes which includes an unrivalled amount of track and wind tunnel testing data. Kalas have developed a state-of-the-art production facility. Together we have the combined ability to quickly innovate like never before. Our ambition is to pass on the opportunity of experiencing the benefits of enhanced comfort and performance to all our customers.”

Work commences immediately on the first of a series of development projects with the Great Britain Cycling Team. This will see a focus on enhanced aerodynamic performance, a new rider measurement methodology, and testing of new fabric combinations and construction methods.

2021 Paris-Roubaix team selection

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Photo Credit A.S.O.

The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the first edition, Sunday, April 11th.

The nine UCI Women’s WorldTeams automatically entered are:
Alé BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon / /SRAM Racing (Ger)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Liv Racing (Ned)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team SD Worx (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)

Furthermore, the six following UCI Women’s Continental teams will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix Femmes:
A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team (Ita)
Ceratizit – WTN Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)

The organisers have invited the following teams:
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team (Fra)
Ciclismo Mundial (Bel)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Continental Team (Bel)
Drops – Le Col supported by Tempur (Gbr)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Jumbo – Visma Women Team (Ned)
NXTG Racing (Ned)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling (Fra)

The nineteen men’s UCI WorldTeams are:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)

Furthermore, the two highest ranked UCI ProTeams in 2020, Alpecin – Fenix (Bel) and Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra), will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix.

The organisers have invited the following teams:
B&B Hotels p/b KTM (Fra)
Bingoal WB (Bel)
Delko (Fra)
Total Direct Energie (Fra)

IRONMAN virtual club launches 2021 VR All-Terrain Series

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Building on the success of the IRONMAN® VR™ World Tour held in 2020, IRONMAN Virtual Club™ (VC™) has launched the next evolution of virtual racing with the 2021 IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series. The new series will consist of six months of training-length challenges highlighting some of the best geographic elements that IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3® courses have to offer. Themes including “Flat and Fast,” “Coastal,” “Urban,” “Athlete’s Choice,” “Countryside” and “Alpine” terrains are all designed to provide IRONMAN VR athletes a comprehensive and realistic approach to their virtual training experience. In addition, the new IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will see the return of two IRONMAN VR Championship Series events, allowing athletes to earn one of 100 qualifying slots offered for the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Presented by Utah Sports Commission being held in St. George, Utah, United States this September.

“The new IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series offers athletes of all skill levels an opportunity to experience some of the most exciting elements that have made our world-class events so unique,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO for the IRONMAN Group. “As athletes continue to utilize IRONMAN VR while training for their upcoming live and in-person races, we are also pleased to provide them with two IRONMAN VR Championship Series events as a way to stay competitive and earn a slot to this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George.”

Each month will offer rotating Sprint, Olympic, and half-distance VR races inspired by the following types of terrain encountered by IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 athletes all over the world. The month of March will focus on “Flat and Fast” courses designed as a perfect introduction and starting point for IRONMAN VC athletes looking to step into live and in-person events. Featured events will include IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman, IRONMAN Western Australia, IRONMAN 70.3 Davao, and IRONMAN 70.3 Lahti Finland. Progressing monthly, the terrain will vary offering athletes a chance to experience “Coastal,” “Urban,” “Athlete’s Choice,” “Countryside” and “Alpine” themed virtual challenges and races. In addition to the traditional schedule of three weekday workouts and one weekend IRONMAN VR that features various race distances, there will also be multiple month-long challenges offered, allowing athletes to chase a certain number of kilometers for the month in whatever sport they like and on their own time.

IRONMAN VR9 will kick off the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series with a sprint distance simulation. Each week, the race window will open on Thursdays at 5:00 a.m. ET (10 a.m. GMT) and concludes on Sundays at 6:59 p.m. ET (11:59 p.m. GMT). In addition, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will offer Classic and Challenger options for each event as well as both swim-bike-run and run-bike-run options allowing athletes of all abilities to participate in the action.

2021 IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series monthly schedule:

2021 IRONMAN VR Championship Series

The IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will also see the return of IRONMAN VR Championship Series with a new single-race format to reward top-performing athletes with the opportunity to earn IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots. The 2021 IRONMAN VR Championship Series will be integrated into the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series. Athletes will have the choice to compete during the half-distance virtual races on April 22-25 (IRONMAN VR16 Championship Series) or May 20-23 (IRONMAN VR20 Championship Series). Athletes will have the opportunity to race virtually with 100 qualifying slots (50 for each event) on the line to the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Presented by Utah Sports Commission, taking place in St. George, Utah, September 17-18, 2021.

Athletes can register for the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series or find additional details and specifics regarding the IRONMAN VR Championship Series as well as IRONMAN VC platform at www.ironmanvirtualclub.com

‘Super’ Sam Holness joins HUUB’s family of athletes

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Triathlon and cycling brand, HUUB, signs triathlete, Sam Holness, to support his journey to become a professional triathlete.

HUUB will provide funding, equipment and specialist technical advisors to help Sam achieve his maximum potential.

HUUB will also support charitable efforts to raise funds to help the autistic and neurodiverse community, as well as the development of BAME and autistic athletes’ participation in endurance sports.

‘Super’ Sam Holness, who recently launched his campaign to become the first autistic Ironman athlete, is excited to announce his partnership with leading triathlon and cycling brand HUUB.

The partnership with HUUB, is another key step in Sport Science graduate Sam’s drive to make sport his full-time profession. The three-year deal will not only provide the same world-leading triathlon and cycling equipment used by athletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee but will also include swim and bike aerodynamics and position testing and support.

Additionally, HUUB has agreed to help Sam fundraise for causes supporting autistic, neurodiverse and BAME sports communities, areas of huge importance to Sam.

Dean Jackson, founder and owner of HUUB comments; “Sam is an inspiration, and we are privileged that he has chosen to work with HUUB. Sam is an unbelievably focussed and committed athlete, whose dedication to his sporting progress is rivalled only by his dedication to inspiring and helping others. As part of our support, we will be connecting Sam with HUUB elite athletes, coaches and technical advisors like Dan Bingam and the Swim Smooth team.”

He continues; “Sam has taken what many in society wrongly view as a barrier to success and turned his autism into a strength. It’s a lesson that I believe will inspire so many people, helping them to overcome their own personal barriers to achieve their potential. He and his father Tony are hugely active in supporting both the BAME community’s development in endurance sports and creating opportunities for autistic athletes, and we look forward to supporting them on this journey.”

On his new partnership with HUUB Sam said; “I’m really excited to join HUUB’s family of athletes. Alistair and Jonny are sporting heroes and to be supported by the same sponsor gives me great confidence.”

In addition to supporting Sam’s athletic development, HUUB will be working with him to develop an annual limited-edition collection of triathlon and cycle clothing to raise money for key charities.

Sam is currently training with the aim of getting to the Ironman World Championships. His first race of the year is scheduled to be the full Ironman in Mallorca on 15th of May, followed by Ironman Cork on 15th August.

Sam is also supported by global footwear brand Hoka One One. To find out more about Sam’s journey follow him on Instagram on @samholnesstri

British team announced for 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships

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Getty Images

British Athletics can announce that 41 athletes have been selected to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland between 4-7 March.

European leading athletes Elliot Giles (coach: Jon Bigg; club: Birchfield), Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter; Leigh) and Tiffany Porter (Jeff Porter; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) are among the leading names who will compete next month.

The 2018 World Indoor 60m hurdles champion Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon), 2019 European Indoor silver medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) and Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Cambridge & Coleridge), who has moved to second on the UK all-time list over 3000m in the last few weeks and ran 27:10.41 over 10,000 metres at the weekend, join the squad.

Giles has been in supreme form during 2021, breaking the long-standing British indoor 800m record previously held by Sebastian Coe. His time of 1:43.63 was the second fastest indoor time in history over the distance, and elevated Giles to the top of the world rankings this year. 2019 European Indoor silver medallist, Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers) joins Giles in the 800m having moved to second on the UK all-time indoor 800m list with his time of 1:44.54 set in the same race last week. Guy Learmonth (Justin Rinaldi; Lasswade), who has improved his indoor PB this season, completes the line-up in the men’s 800m.

Hodgkinson smashed the U20 record in Vienna last month, lowering her best to 1:59.03. The 18-year-old – who is also on the British Athletics Futures Academy Programme – also moved to the top of the British U20 all-time standings in the process. Next month the 2019 European U20 bronze medallist will make her senior debut for GB & NI.

In the women’s 60m hurdles, Porter is leading the European standings in 2021 after clocking 7.89 in Arizona earlier in the month. Ten years ago, she won silver on her GB & NI debut at the European Indoors in Paris, clocking the British record of 7.80 which still stands.

After clearing her highest bar in nine years in Rouen earlier this month, Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) will be among the favourites for the women’s pole vault. Her 4.85m clearance was just two centimetres shy of her personal best. She claimed silver at the 2019 edition of the Championships in Glasgow and won the title in 2013.

Following a lifetime best score of 4557 points in the Pentathlon at the weekend, Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover) has been invited to compete in the women’s pentathlon. Her series included personal bests in the shot put (14.03m) and 800m (2:12.07), which contributed to a score which moved her to fifth on the UK all-time list.

Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch) threw an indoor shot put personal best at the European Indoor Selection Trial events in Loughborough at the weekend. The mark of 18.54 metres is a sign of the strong form the Great Yarmouth athlete is currently in.

As per selection policy, due to the limited qualification opportunities as a result of Covid-19, European Athletics (EA) have amended their qualification process to allow nomination of unqualified field athletes for selection to the Technical Delegates. British Athletics have notified the athletes who have been nominated under this rule and European Athletics will confirm on 25 February whether or not the nominations have been accepted and these will be published soon after.

There was no expression of interest from eligible athlete’s in the women’s 60m.

Olympic Head Coach at British Athletics, Christian Malcolm, said: “I’m pleased to be selecting such a strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the European Indoor Championships next month. It has been a challenging time for all athletes and coaches recently, but we have seen some incredible performances.

“Of course, we are looking to maximise the number of opportunities to win medals, but it is also about providing opportunities for developing athletes as well as established athletes to achieve a GB&NI vest. We have a real mix in the squad with several young athletes demonstrating their potential in really challenging circumstances. I am really looking forward to seeing how the team perform in Torun.

“We are awaiting decisions from European Athletics on several field event nominations that we have put forward, so we hope to add several other athletes to the team later this week.”

The British Athletics team for the European Athletics Indoor Championships 4-7 March 2021

Women

400m:
Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)
Ama Pipi (Linford Christie; Enfield & Haringey)
Jodie Williams (Ryan Freckleton; Herts Phoenix)

800m:
Ellie Baker (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet)
Isabelle Boffey (Luke Gunn; Enfield & Haringey)
Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter; Leigh)

1500m:
Holly Archer (Andrew Parmenter; Cambridge & Coleridge)
Katie Snowden (Dan Stepney; Herne Hill)

3000m:
Amy-Eloise Markovc (Chris Fox; Wakefield)
Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin; Swansea)
Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell)

4x400m Relay:
Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley)
Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh)
Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow)
Yasmin Liverpool (Stewart Marshall; Coventry)
Ama Pipi (Linford Christie; Enfield & Haringey)
odie Williams (Ryan Freckleton; Herts Phoenix)

60m Hurdles:
Emma Nwofor (Newham & Essex Beagles)
Tiffany Porter (Jeff Porter; Woodford Green Essex Ladies)
Cindy Sember (Jeff Porter; Woodford Green Essex Ladies)

Pole Vault:
Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn)

Long Jump:
Abigail Irozuru (self-coached; Sale Harriers Manchester)

Shot Put:
Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch; Great Yarmouth)

Pentathlon:
Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover)

Men:

60m:
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist; Sutton & District)
Oliver Bromby (Marvin Rowe; Southampton)
Andrew Robertson (Sam Robertson; Sale Harriers Manchester)

400m:
Joe Brier (Matt Elias; Swansea)
Lee Thompson (John Henson; Sheffield & Dearne)
James Williams (Paul Waters; Liverpool)

800m:
Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg; Birchfield)
Guy Learmonth (Justin Rinaldi; Lasswade)
Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool)

1500m:
Piers Copeland (Bob Smith; Wimborne)
Archie Davis (Joel Kidger; Brighton Phoenix)
Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas; Giffnock North)

3000m:
Andrew Butchart (Barry Fudge; Central)
Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen; Aldershot Farnham & District)
Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Cambridge & Coleridge)

4x400m Relay:
Joe Brier (Matt Elias; Swansea)
Efe Okoro (Tony Hadley; Birchfield Harriers)
Tom Somers (Newham & Essex Beagles)
Owen Smith (Matt Elias; Cardiff)
Lee Thompson (John Henson; Sheffield & Dearne)
James Williams (Paul Waters; Liverpool)

60m Hurdles:
Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon)

Long Jump:
Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Matt Barton; Leeds City)

Critérium du Dauphiné 2021: Enter the mountain warriors

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Even in recent years, the various theories on how to interpret the Critérium du Dauphiné to predict how the Tour de France will unfold a month later have been tried and found lacking. Whereas Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas got a taste of success here ahead of the greatest victories of their careers, Alberto Contador would often struggle in the Critérium du Dauphiné, even at his peak, while the winners of the last two editions, Jakob Fuglsang and Dani Martínez, proved unable to follow up their promising results in June with a similar performance in July. However, one thing always remains the same: even as the Tour looms on the horizon, the stars of the peloton take the challenge seriously, put on a spectacular show and attach a great deal of importance to the Alpine duels that take place here. The 2021 course has been designed to gradually turn up the heat on the peloton in a trek from the Central Massif to the Alps. The rubber will hit the road in the inaugural stage starting and ending in Issoire, where sprinters will have their work cut out for them to stay in contention until the finish. It will be more of the same two days later in Saint-Haon-le-Vieux, where the 800 m home straight bends towards the sky. At 16.5 kilometres, the time trial from Firminy to Roche-la-Molière will be just long enough to shake things up a bit but, at the same time, short enough to keep the race wide open.

After four stages run mostly in Auvergne and a plunge to the Rhône Valley that could force a selection among the punchers for the showdown in Saint-Vallier, the peloton will head to the Alpine peaks, where the mountain warriors will hog the limelight from the stage to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, featuring the Col de Porte. This will be just an appetiser, as the next day will see the Dauphiné discover the La Plagne ski resort, coming after a 17 kilometre ascent with an average gradient of 7.5% and with the riders’ legs already softened up by the Col de Pré and the Cormet de Roselend. On Sunday, the 145 km grand finale will serve up a succession of climbs ready for use as a launch pad for an epic adventure: the roads up the Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombière, Côte de Châtillon and, especially, Col de Joux Plane, are the perfect terrain to go on the offensive, as is the plunge to Morzine, where the top descenders in the peloton will come out to play. The ascent to Les Gets will wrap up this climbing-fest. On clear days, it is said you can see Brest from the top of the mountain…

Critérium du Dauphiné 2021 stages

Sunday, May 30th – Stage 1 – Issoire > Issoire, 182 km
Monday, May 31st – Stage 2 – Brioude > Saugues, 173 km
Tuesday, June 1st – Stage 3 – Langeac > Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, 172 km
Wednesday, June 2nd – Stage 4 – Firminy > Roche-La-Molière, 16,5 km (individual time trial)
Thursday, June 3rd – Stage 5 – Saint-Chamond > Saint-Vallier, 175,5 km
Friday, June 4th – Stage 6 – Loriol-sur-Drôme > Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, 168 km
Saturday, June 5th – Stage 7 – Saint-Martin-Le-Vinoux > La Plagne, 171,5 km
Sunday, June 6th – Stage 8 – La Léchère-les-Bains > Les Gets 147 km

Team selection

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules, the following nineteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:

AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)

The organizers invite the following teams:

B&B Hotels P/B KTM (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)

Holly Mills moves to fifth all-time on UK Pentathlon rankings; McKinna improves indoor shot put PB

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Image: British Athletics

Sophie McKinna (coach: Mike Winch; club: Great Yarmouth) improved her shot put indoor personal best, Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover) moved third on the European indoor pentathlon rankings and Joe Brier (Matt Elias; Swansea) and James Williams (Paul Waters; Liverpool) hit the European Indoor 400m qualifying standard on the second day of action at the British Athletics European Indoor Selection Trial Events in Loughborough and Manchester.

In Manchester, Mills was the star of the show on the track and in the field events, posting a personal best score of 4557 points, including two personal best event scores, to win the women’s pentathlon, moving third on the 2021 European rankings and up to fifth on the UK all-time list.

Mills kicked off the day with victory in the 60m hurdles in 8.22s, one hundredth outside her PB, before an eight-centimetre season’s best in the high jump of 1.73m was followed by a huge 70cm shot put PB of 14.03m, moving her 143 points clear after three events.

A 6.02m best in the long jump helped maintain her lead at the top of the standings before she rounded off her competition with a 2:12.07 lifetime best over 800m to secure victory by nearly 300 points.

After the long day of competition, Mills said: “The hurdles was 0.01 off my PB which I set last weekend so between this year and last year I’ve brought it down two tenths. It’s amazing but we still know there is more there. The high jump it was five centimetres off my PB, but we’ve changed so much with my high jump technique I’m pleased with that. It was a big improvement on last week.

“Probably the highlight of my day was the shot put where I threw 14.03m which is my first time over 14 metres. Last weekend I threw 13.33 metres and that was my first throw over 13m. There has been a lot of work behind that. It has been a long time coming.

“The 800m was very painful – I got lactic on lap two and I was just telling myself ‘hold on!’ It came through as a PB. There are quite a few PBs in there altogether. I know I’m in shape, so it could be better, but it is very exciting.

“Coming into this event we were aiming to get over 4400 points, so to get over 4500 is exceeding our expectations. Me and my coach (Laura Turner-Alleyne) are so happy. Hopefully I’ll be at the Europeans in a couple of weeks to add some more points to that tally.”

Jade O’Dowda (Toni Minichiello; Newham & Essex Beagles) claimed second position and moved to tenth on the all-time British rankings with a lifetime best score of 4262 points, including three personal bests.

O’Dowda smashed her 60m hurdles PB by nearly two tenths of a second clocking 8.59s, before matching her lifetime best in the high jump with a 1.76m clearance, the best of all competitors. An 18cm improvement to 12.56m saw her shot put PB fall, before rounding off her afternoon with a near four second 800m improvement to 2:15.68.

Ellen Barber (David Feeney; Yeovil) took third place overall with lifetime best score of 4169, with personal marks in the 60m hurdles, high jump and 800m. Katie Stainton (David Feeney; Birchfield) unfortunately withdrew after picking up an injury in the high jump, having earlier set a PB of 8.61s in the hurdles.

On the track, the men’s 400m saw 2019 European Under-23 Championship 4x400m silver medallist Joe Brier and reigning British indoor 400m champion James Williams join Lee Thompson (John Henson; Sheffield & Dearne) in achieving the European Indoor standard, shattering their indoor PBs in the process.

In the men’s ‘B’ final, Williams left it late to surge beyond Thompson and claim victory in 46.60s, a 0.64s improvement on his lifetime best, with Thompson shaving another seven hundredths off his season’s best for second in 46.65s.

In the ‘A’ final, Welshman Brier produced an excellent gun to tape victory, powering his way to the standard in 46.81s, holding off training partner Owen Smith (Matt Elias; Cardiff) and bagging himself a third consecutive indoor personal best in a row in the process.

Starting in lane four, Brier ensured he took the bell heading the four-man field before turning on the afterburners in the home straight and securing himself his first ever senior standard, with Smith battling to second spot in a season’s best 47.40s.

After winning, Brier said: “That’s probably the first race this year I’ve committed to, I wanted to get out, get to the front and control it from there. I gave it everything down the home straight and I came away with a standard for the European Indoors so I’m well chuffed with that.

“Me and my coach [Matt Elias] had a chat this morning about tactics and what might happen. At the end of the day you can only concentrate on yourself and my plan was to go out there, get to the front and really control the first 200m, open up on the backstraight and finish strong.

“I’m on cloud nine at the moment, I’ve never hit a standard like that before and it’s my first senior standard so I’m really chuffed.”

Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong; Thames Valley) and Niclas Baker (Piotr Spas; Crawley) finished third and fourth in the B final in 48.25s and 49.02s respectively, with Efe Okoro and Thomas Somers rounding out the A final in 47.49s and 47.55s respectively.

It all came down the final moments in the women’s 400m final as Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix) produced a late surge to get the better of Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), clocking 52.27s for victory to Knight’s 52.38s.

At the break, Williams found herself trailing to Knight but dug in and produced an excellent final lap to pass Knight in the closing stages and hold on for an important victory, with Amy Hillyard (Stewart Marshall; Birchfield) third in 53.92s.

After the race, Williams, who improved her indoor PB once again, said: “That was different to yesterday and for me. The last few races I’ve been first to the break so as soon as she [Jessie] came round me I thought ‘just hold on and hope for the best’ and it paid off so I’m happy.

“I knew that the top bend was where I needed to attack, I was never going to get her (Jessie) round there and I focused on staying close enough so that i could come round the top and do everything I could.

“I’m not enjoying this distance, but I love a challenge. It’s something new for me and in that sense, I’m enjoying it but it’s a rough distance. That was a big leap up again, so we aim to keep improving every time.”

Ama Pipi (Linford Christie; Enfield & Haringey), who yesterday dipped inside the qualifying standard with a 52.9ss run, won the ‘B’ final in 53.05s, beating European number five Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley), who took second in 53.43s. Yasmin Liverpool (Stewart Marshall; Coventry Godiva) was third in an indoor best of 53.59s, with Holly Turner (Stephen King; Crawley) fourth in 56.06s.

In the distance events, Guy Learmonth (Justin Rinaldi; Lasswade) secured a fourth consecutive European Indoor Championship 800m standard as he won in 1:47.81. The Scotsman kept his cool to take the win from 2019 European U20 Championship 800m silver medallist Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan; Basingstoke & Mid Hants) and Alex Botterill (Andy Henderson; City of York), who clocked 1:50.02 and 1:51.51 respectively.

Over 1500m, British indoor champion Holly Archer (Andrew Parmenter; Cambridge & Coleridge) backed up her personal best and European Indoor qualifying standard last week of 4:10.03, with a last-gasp victory, “boomeranging” off the final bend to win in 4:13.02.

Heading into the final lap at Sportcity, Archer found herself behind Katie Snowden (Dan Stepney; Herne Hill) and Ellie Baker (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet), but dug in and found space on the outside to pass both and secure herself victory by 0.14s from Snowden, with Baker third in 4:13.66, a 1500m PB.

Piers Copeland (Bob Smith; Wimborne) continued on his upward trajectory with a measured victory in the men’s event, clocking 3:52.17 for victory. In a cagey affair, it was Copeland who had the clinical edge when it mattered most, kicking away in the final 50m to take the win from Archie Davis (Joel Kidger; Brighton Phoenix) and George Mills (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix) in 3:52.94 and 3:53.12 respectively.

In the first women’s track action of the day, Megan Marrs (Alex Nwenwu; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) continued her good form as she took back-to-back victories in the women’s 60m hurdles.

In the first of two rounds, which was shared with the pentathlon field, Marrs flew to victory with a 8.21s showing, with Heather Paton (Benke Blomkvist; Birchfield) recording 8.36s. Paton improved in the second round to a season’s best 8.31s but could not do enough to edge out Marrs, who claimed her second victory of the day in 8.26s.

In the men’s heptathlon, Andrew Murphy (Colin Sinclair; Kilbarchan) rounded off his competition with a final score of 4559, including two season’s bests on the final day of competition.

Entering day two with 2204 points to his name – down on his usually tally at this stage due to no points in the shot put – the Scottish athlete kicked things off with a 8.45s clocking in the 60m hurdles, followed by a season’s best of 4.50m in the pole vault, with first time clearances at each height, up to three failures at 4.60m. He rounded off his two-day competition in Manchester with a season’s best 2:48.36 over 1000m, adding to 60m and long jump season’s bests from day one.

In the field events in Loughborough, Sophie McKinna shattered her indoor shot put PB for the second competition running and strengthened her grip on the third all-time British best mark with an 18.54m effort to take victory in Loughborough.

The reigning British outdoor champion unleashed the effort in the second round of the competition, bagging her second qualifying standard of the indoor season and taking victory by more than a metre from Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin; Thames Valley), who notched a season’s best of 17.26m in the fifth round.

Speaking after the event, McKinna said: “It was okay; it’s an indoor PB for me. I feel like there was much more there as I didn’t quite get it through so there are lots of positive to take and lots to go away and work on before the European Indoors. So overall it’s been a relatively good day.

“Without the fans, friends and family watching obviously for me makes a big difference but we have to be grateful and you know we’re really privileged to be able to compete. This is a privilege, to be able to throw and British Athletics have put on a really good event.

“I’ve got a couple weeks of training now and then hopefully, if I get selected tomorrow, going to the European Indoors. I’d like to put on a good show and challenge for a medal there.”

Adele Nicoll (Birchfield) took third spot with a 15.61m effort, with Serena Vincent (Bronwin Carter/Andrew Vincent; City of Portsmouth) fourth with 15.19m and World Para Athletics F20 shot put champion Sabrina Fortune (Ian Robinson; Deeside) was fifth with a best of 13.09m, her second best indoor throw.

Fortune added: “Today was an amazing experience, especially with lockdown having not been able to throw. So, to be here and to be able to throw is really heart-warming. I was just so excited. I feel so bouncy, I am just so happy.

“The throws weren’t bad they went up and that’s the main thing. It just kept going up and up and up. I wanted 14 but you can’t always do it. Plus, I haven’t been able to throw for such a long time, it’s just an amazing experience to get to throw it and see the distance.”

In the men’s event, Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson; City of York) saved his best until last to take the spoils courtesy of a 19.93m best effort. The City of York man put together a consistent series that saw only one foul and of his five legal efforts, all were above 19.25m. His final round effort was just 14cm shy of his season’s best 20.07m, set last weekend. George Hyde (David McKay; Harrow) claimed second spot with a 16.22m season’s best, coming in round three.

Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake; WSEH) produced her best jump for two years as she cleared a season’s best 1.93m at the third time of asking.

Entering at 1.83m, Lake showed a clean card to 1.90m, where she required a second time clearance to progress. Having twice failed at 1.93m her third jump proved to be right on the money, before three attempts at the Olympic and European qualifying mark of 1.96m saw her bow out.

After the event, Lake assessed: “I was just trying to build on what I did last weekend, so I am really happy with that. My aim was just to be happy, have fun and enjoy it. Ideally, I wanted to get back into the 90s, so I am happy I have.

“It was so close to both European and Olympic qualifier and I had a few attempts at it. I am happy and hopefully it will come in a few weeks. With Europeans we’re just going to have to wait and see. It depends on rankings at the moment, so we’ll just have to see.

“I am really happy with how winter training has gone, and this is only my second competition so it’s nice to show what I have been working on and put on a good performance.”

Emily Borthwick (Fuzz Caan; Wigan & District) added three centimetres onto her lifetime best with a 1.87m clearance for second place, with Laura Zialor (Jade Surman; Marshall Milton Keynes) third with a 1.75m best.

In the men’s event, it was Joel Khan (Deirdre Elmhirst; Worcester) who emerged victorious with a lifetime best 2.23m effort, adding three centimetres onto his previous best. Khan almost bowed out at 2.13m, but a third time clearance ensured his continuation in Loughborough.

The 22-year-old only needed one attempt to get over 2.23m, before coming close to clearing the European Indoor qualifying mark of 2.26m. Chris Baker (Graham Ravenscroft; Sale Harriers Manchester) posted three first time clearances but finished with a best effort of 2.17m following three failures at 2.20m, with Will Grimsey (Fuzz Caan; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) third, clearing the same height for a season’s best.

Having recorded his best jump since 2017 last weekend in Loughborough of 2.12m, World Para Athletics T64 high jump champion Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Graham Ravenscroft; Newham & Essex Beagles) finished with a best of 2.04m for fourth, with Kelechi Aguocha (Fuzz Caan; Blackheath & Bromley) fifth, matching Broom-Edwards’ best.

In the men’s pole vault, Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy; Birtley) finished with a best effort of 5.52m as the only competitor in the men’s event. After a second time clearance at 5.32m and a third time clearance at 5.52m, the Birtley athlete came mightily close to clearing the 5.72m qualifying mark for next month’s European Indoor Championships in Torun, only for the bar to come down.

Natalie Hooper (Henrietta Paxton; Birchfield) was just five centimetres away from her lifetime best set last weekend in Loughborough as she took victory in the women’s event with a 4.15m clearance. Hooper sailed over 4.15m at the first time of asking to take the win, before three failures at a personal best mark of 4.25m put an end to her competition.

Defending British indoor champion Sophie Cook (Scott Simpson; Halesowen) was second courtesy of a 4.05m opening clearance. Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst; Sale Harriers Manchester) took third with a season’s best 3.85m, while Courtney MacGuire (Scott Simpson; Edinburgh AC) came fourth with a 3.75m best effort.

Results from Manchester day two: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/man-results/

Results from Loughborough: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/lboro-results/

Ockenden and Rowe win 3000m in Manchester; Fincham-Dukes and Robertson shine in Lee Valley

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Image: British Athletics

The British Athletics European Indoor Selection Trial events in Manchester and Lee Valley saw several strong performances across the board.

In Manchester, there were 3000m victories for Verity Ockenden (coach: Tony Houchin; club: Swansea) and Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen; Aldershot Farnham & District) as both ran inside European Indoor qualifying standards again. Meanwhile, Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) and Lee Thompson (Sheffield & Dearne) were among those to impress in the 400m heats.

In Lee Valley, Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Zivile Pukstiene; Leeds City) jumped an outright personal best of 8.08 metres to win the long jump, also a European standard, while Andrew Robertson won the men’s 60 metres in 6.61.

In Manchester, for the second time in a week, Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin; Swansea) ran a controlled race to win the women’s 3000m, while Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell) and Rosie Clarke (Rob Denmark; Epsom & Ewell) also went below the 9:00 European mark in second and third, respectively.

In a highly entertaining contest, Ockenden bided her time, taking the lead for the first time with over 100m to go. Prior to this, Aimee Pratt (Vicente Modahl; Sale Harriers Manchester) had been the main protagonist at the head of the field, dictating the pace for two-thirds of the race. As the laps counted down, Pratt, Quirk, Clarke and Ockenden were the main players, with Quirk making the first move with five laps to go. After her spell at the front, Clarke took a share of the lead with 600 metres to go and looked to be pushing on until the final lap. That was when the Swansea athlete showed great strength to close it out in 8:56.27. Quirk grabbed second, moving passed Clarke in the home straight; their times 8:58.57 and 8:58.97.

Ockenden said post-race: “I’m on a roll. I am so glad I did the race here last week as that really set me up well for this one, so thank you for Vicente (Modahl) for that. I really wasn’t that confident in my preparations coming into that. I’ve just been doing what my coach, Tony, says. I’ve been going through the motions so I’ve been unsure if it would be good enough or not. It has all come good despite the difficulties which everyone has had. Being tough and being able to cope with change is a big asset.”

Quirk added: “I was a bit nervous because I’ve never run indoors before. I’ve never even run a lap on an indoor track before! As races were cancelled, I thought ‘why not?’ So I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in and didn’t really know where I sat with European Indoors.”

Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen; Aldershot Farnham & District) overhauled Andrew Butchart (Barry Fudge; Central) in the closing stages of an entertaining men’s 3000m contest, clocking a season best of 7:54.35.

The pace was conservative in the opening few laps as Butchart headed the field before Emile Cairess (Philip Townsend; Leeds City) pushed on the pace after the halfway point. With the field bunched, it was a gradual wind-up. With 800m left, Butchart moved away from the rest of the field, bringing Rowe and Philip Sesemann (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City) away from the large pack making it a three-way battle. With a couple of laps remaining, Sesemann dropped off the pace and would ultimately hold on to third (7:57.22), but it came down to the last few metres for the other pair. As Butchart started to fade with 200m to go, Rowe made his move with conviction to seal victory.

Rowe said afterwards: “I have been training really hard, so it is was nice to race and get out there. It was really slow to start off with but then Emile (Cairess) put in a huge amount of work in the middle. I usually die in the last 200m so for once it was quite nice to kick on. I saw Butchart tiring and I thought if I got round him on that bend, he wasn’t coming back. That was probably my best race in the UK, so I’m really happy.

“I am in the shape of my life, but I haven’t been able to show it. My coach told me to express myself and be confident early on. I had to stay calm and wait for the move. I raced here six weeks ago, and it was me that made the move and then got kicked at the end. So, this time I just had to have patience. When it really went, I had to make sure I was in the right spot.”

Butchart, who was second in 7:56.01, added: “Jack ran really well. I got hit by a sniper with 200m to go, I had nothing. It was nice to get a race in. I know it isn’t British Championships, but I’m thankful this race was put on and it was a really strong field. British distance running is in a good place right now, and you could see that today as it was a high calibre race. To win it isn’t easy as I found out today.

“I just wanted to get a good effort in. I’ve got the 1500m tomorrow, so I wanted to get a hard effort in today. So, if no one was going to take it on, I was prepared to take it on. I did that and got bit at the end for it, but you live and you learn.”

Jodie Williams (Herts Phoenix), Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) and Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley) were all winners in the women’s 400m heats and will return for the final on Sunday.

Williams ran an indoor personal best – 52.76 – which was also inside the European Indoor qualifying standard.

In the second heat, Knight ran a superb two-laps to win in 52.46 while Clark looked comfortable on her way to the heat three win in 53.23.

In the men’s 400m, James Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea), Tom Somers, Lee Thompson (John Henson; Sheffield & Dearne) and James Williams were the heat winners.

Thompson impressively went inside the European standard with a time of 46.72. He admitted his first 200m was not as fast as he would have liked, but he picked it up on the second, gliding passed Efe Okoro and Ben Snaith to earn the heat win.

Thompson said: “It was smooth. Too slow through the first 200m. I’ve got to work on that, but I was strong on the second lap. I felt strong so went around them on the top bend into the back straight. I just tried to keep that going to see if I could get the qualifier and I did. I feel like the time is there, but I have to set myself up properly. I can run something really good, I just need to set it up.”

Brier won his heat in 47.14, while Somers came through in 47.07. Williams won the fourth heat in 47.30.

Andrew Murphy (Colin Sinclair; Kilbarchan), the sole participant in the men’s heptathlon, got off to a solid start in the 60 metres, clocking 7.24 which was a season best. He followed this with a 6.85m mark in the long jump, the best mark coming on his final effort.

However, three fouls in the shot put competition curtailed his overall chances. He returned for the high jump, committed to continuing the seven events. He cleared 1.80 metres on his second attempt.

Fincham-Dukes was the star of the show at Lee Valley with his third-round effort of 8.08 metres the best of his career to date, and it also was over the European Indoor qualifying standard.

He commented post-event: “Today went better than I could have expected. I am just really happy I got over the qualifier and set a PB. It means a lot. I’ve been working really hard over this last year and a half. It means everything. I did 7.99 indoors a couple of years ago and outdoor last year I was having a bunch of injury problems, so it’s always difficult going into the winter carrying that with you, but I just worked really hard and took real good care of my body. I made sure everything I was doing was at a better standard and it’s paying off and there’s more to come.

“About a month or so ago I actually had Covid, I tested positive, so I was like ‘oh my god’ am I going to get back [from the US where Jacob is based doing his Masters]. I got over it and was negative in time to come back so I am glad from that aspect as well. I am just happy I could put in a good performance.”

Also in the long jump, European T13 silver medallist, Zak Skinner (Aston Moore; Tonbridge) was narrowly outside his outright best as he jumped 6.80 metres.

In the women’s long jump, Jazmin Sawyers (City of Stoke) took top spot with a leap of 6.45m ahead of Abigail Irozuru (Self-coached; Sale Harriers Manchester) in second with 6.34m. Olivia Breen (Aston Moore; City of Portsmouth) jumped an indoor personal best of 4.65 metres.

Andrew Robertson (Sam Robertson; Sale Harriers Manchester) impressed in the men’s 60m as he won in a season best time of 6.61 ahead of Oliver Bromby (Marvin Rowe; Southampton) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist; Sutton & District) – they both clocked 6.67 for second and third respectively.

Robertson said: “It was an OK run, not my best, but I’m just very grateful to be here today. It’s been such a difficult year for everyone. Hopefully that’s enough to secure the European Indoor Championships.

“I felt OK coming into today. I had a good run at Loughborough last week which probably took a bit more out of me than I thought. The most important thing is I wanted to come here and execute two good runs and I’ve done that. It’s a case now of sharpening up. I’ve had a fantastic winter preparation, just need races now. Hopefully I’ve done to get sharpened up enough now ready for two weeks’ time.”

In the women’s 60m, Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) came home first with a time of 7.37, just outside her season best.

David King (Tim O’Neil; City of Plymouth), who flew in from America at 8:30am on Saturday morning, won the men’s 60m hurdles in a time of 7.73.

“I flew in from the US this morning, so I actually arrived at Heathrow at 08.30am. I’ve just flown in from Phoenix so it must be about 4am or 5am right now, for me. There has been such limited competition opportunity even in America. I just wanted to have the chance to come here and try and run the time. I just needed to prove some form and I’m really happy with the time of 7.73. To run that after that trip, I’m really happy.”

Efe Uwaifo (John Herbert; Enfield and Haringey) and Jahisha Thomas (John Shepherd; Blackheath & Bromley) were the winners of the men’s and women’s triple jump.

Uwaifo won with a best of 15.99m, while Thomas won the women’s contest with a best of 12.93 metres which came in round one.

Results from Manchester day one: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/man-results/

Results from Lee Valley: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/lvac-results/

Wells and Smith both take a triumphant win on the new Integrity Homes Challenge Wanaka course

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The Integrity Homes CHALLENGEWANAKA Festival Challenge Half and Garth Barfoot Aquabike saw 800 happy competitors enjoy the new course out in Glendhu Bay on a spectacular day Wānaka day.

2019 winner Hannah Wells repeated her success with a triumphant win on the tough new 2021 course. “I was really happy with my swim and to stick with Becs [Rebecca Clarke] was great as she is a great swimmer. I wanted to ride the bike pretty hard and try and remain conservative on the run. That was my plan and it seemed to work,” said an excited Hannah Wells.

Wells came out of the swim with Rebecca Clarke but on the first lap of the 5-lap bike course took the lead and consolidated that into over 4 minutes at T2. The run course leads up into Bike Glendhu mountain bike park and features an uphill section, which tested all the athletes out on course. “I don’t think anyone will like the first 25 minutes of the run, it’s pretty gnarly but the down afterwards is flowy and fun,” said Wells. “I’ll be back next year!”

The 21km run course finishes with a section along the Motatapu road where the women had to pace themselves in the heat and grind out the kilometres. In third place was Maeve Kennedy an Australian who has recently moved to Wānaka and gained professional status. Kennedy is new to on-road triathlon, having raced and won Xterra triathlons previously and showed her calibre as she gained on the lead two on the run. But the experience and grit of Wells and Clarke shone through and they came into the finish corral to a cheering crowd in first and second 10 minutes behind.

“My initial plan was to solo the swim but Hannah has no weakness now and is swimming with me, so I decided to ride my own ride and try and keep a time gap to her not too much and put time onto third and fourth place,” commented Rebecca Clarke.

It was the third time this summer “new kid on the block” Kyle Smith, as his nemesis Braden Currie affectionately calls him, and the Multisport Wānaka local Currie have gone head to head. The first time Smith beat Currie by 3mins 40 minutes at the Rotorua Suffer and then at Mount Maunganui by 10 seconds and here today by another 13 seconds. Smith came out of the water first and was fast off on the bike, where he lengthened his lead to just over 4 minutes over the 90km course, which has been described as having a few good pinches in it.

You could see the passion in Currie’s eyes as he went through transition ready to chase Smith down on the run. With Jack Moody in third also looking fresh off the bike and well known for being incredibly strong run. Both Currie and Smith would have been looking behind for Moody.

Over the 21km course, Currie took 4 minutes out of Smith and left all the spectators on the edge of their seats as the news keep coming in of him gaining fast. The feeling was electric when the two came down the Finish shoot together with Smith jubilant he pipped him for the third time by a mere 13 seconds.

“Yeah I rode too hard,” joked Kyle Smith. “I jumped on the bike and my power metre wasn’t paired. So, I thought oh well, that is basically a doctor’s prescription for a two-hour life expectancy. I just rode to feel and it is super hard as I felt good, so when you get out there you push way too hard and I thought I had to shimmer down and wait for the run. Knowing how hard it was going to be and it was brutal.”

“I knew Braden would be coming home strong so I knew I had run as hard as I could down the hill and ignore the pain from my feet and stomp it. I only just held on really, look at the class of the man [pointing at Braden]. He’s just an animal.”

Braden commented, “My legs were pretty slammed the first 40 -50 kms of the ride and then I started finding some rhythm and I guess undulating runs like that I feel good on. I have been doing a lot of running lately and feel on good run form. I didn’t really fade, just felt better and better all the way through the run. I guess it was just a touch too much lead. I think there was 3 km to go and I knew I had to go 15secs faster than Kyle and it was all downhill. I thought however much he blows up, it is still hard to run that much faster. Yeah, I gave it everything and tried to make it as exciting as I could.”

Jack Moody who is the former national steeplechase NZ champion and Queenstown Marathon winner proved his class coming in 4 minutes behind Currie and grabbing the bronze medal position.

The professional athletes showcased their amazing talents, but it was some outstanding performances by the Age Groupers which also had the crowds cheering. With 800 competitors across the Challenge Half, which was also the Tri NZ Suzuki South Island Middle Distance Championships and the Garth Barfoot Aquabike there were plenty of fantastic performances.

The first men’s Age group finisher Matt Kerr had an epic race being chased by a talented field of triathletes. With Jared Millar coming in second over the line and George Millar in third.

In the women’s Age Group field, Annabelle Bramwell came in with line honours with Olivia Ritchie and Katherine Reardon following on in with the passionate crowd cheering.

The Garth Barfoot Aquabike was won by Georgina Thornton, followed by Danielle Donaldson and Julia Hunt. The men’s field was won by Tri NZ High Performance Coach Stephen Sheldrake, then Michael Crowe and Jason Dobson in a well-deserved third.

“We are just so happy to have been able to host everyone here at our new venue in Glendhu Bay. The feedback we have received so far has been amazing,” said a delighted Race Director Bill Roxburgh. “We want to thank everyone who has supported us, the volunteers, sponsors, my team and all our fans and competitors across all the days for their positivity and helping us create a wonderful experience for all.”

For all the results from the day: https://www.challenge-wanaka.com/results/

First virtual Antarctica marathon

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It is not every day that one ventures to Antarctica nonetheless to run a marathon or half-marathon. Since its inception in 1995, Marathon Tours & Travel takes 200 runners and supporters annually to King George’s Island by ship to experience a once in a lifetime adventure, which just happens to include running. Due to the global pandemic, this annual trip, which had its 20th running in 2019, was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021. As confirmed clients patiently wait to experience Antarctica in person, Marathon Tours & Travel decided to bring Antarctica to them. The first-ever Virtual Antarctica Marathon Experience offers the distance of a Marathon or Half-Marathon, or the challenge to do both. Additionally, a virtual Polar Plunge is an option runners (or non-runners) can join.

The Virtual Antarctica Marathon, Half-Marathon & Polar Plunge are open to past Antarctica Marathon alumni, future confirmed Antarctica clients and anyone who is looking for a unique experience. The virtual race organizers, including Antarctica Marathon Founder and Race Director, Thom Gilligan, have created engaging and entertaining content so all participants can discover more about ‘The Last Continent’. Additionally, for friendly competition there is an option to join a team. Antarctica Alumni can join the year they ran with their fellow shipmates; future confirmed clients team-up with those they will run with ‘in-person’; those who do not have Antarctica on their bucket list (yet), can run on the Stowaway Team. Running Groups, such as Boston Buddies, the National Black Marathoners Association, Chicago Marathon Runners United, Rooted in Hope, Penguin Runners, and more are recruiting runners as well.

Since the race inception, Marathon Tours & Travel along with its’ Antarctica clients have raised more than $200,000 to support Oceanites, a US-based nonprofit environmental and scientific organization focusing on climate change research and related education. Like many charities, they have taken a huge hit with the pandemic. As part of the Virtual Antarctica Experience, registrants can support Oceanites by creating a fundraising page and/or making a donation. To date, generous donations have amounted to more than $7,600.

We are also proud to collaborate with Road Runner Sports. Virtual Antarctica registrants can save $50 off a pair of running shoes, plus a 90-day trial in their VIP Family Rewards Program, which offers additional discounts.

Click here for the registration website

www.marathontours.com

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