Performances of the Week – 18 to 25 November 2010

27 Nov
1 TOM LOWE – Tom made a sensational debut in what now could become a prospective lucrative career as an ultra endurance athlete when he finished a remarkable third in the prestigious USA Ironman Arizona triathlon. Better known as a duathlete and distance runner – he is a past European Duathlon and Midland Cross-country bronze medallist – Tom has endured a harrowing past two years due to a chronic injured knee that has necessitated two operations and left him despairing that he would ever be able to run competitively again. Undeterred he never gave up hope and continued to concentrate on swimming and cycling while accompanying his girl friend Chrissie Wellington – who just happens to be the women’s Ironman world record holder! – at her US altitude training base in Colorado.
In the spring he at last showed signs of real recovery when he was able to run for us, although not fully race fit, in the Midland and National 12-stage road relays. Building on this at their training base he decided he might as well join Chrissie and have a crack at a full ironman, which consists of a mere 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile marathon, and what a crack it proved to be. The triathlon cognoscenti must have wondered who this English novice was. Maybe Tom himself was the most surprised of all when he found he was still very much in the hunt on the final marathon run as he closed the gap with Rasmus Henning on longtime leader German Timo Bracht, who is recognised as one of the world’s leading ironman triathletes. Bracht did manage to hold on and set a new course record of 8hrs 7mins 16secs, while Tom finished only 46 secs behind Henning in an amazing performance for a first-timer of 8-11-44. He also had the satisfaction of clocking the fastest marathon split of 2:412, though knowing Tom he will not be satisfied with that and quite clearly he has real scope for improvement provided he can avoid any more major injury problems.
2 DAVE BISHOP – Dave followed up his fine run in the Mountain Region NCAA qualifying race by finishing 4th Brit in the NCAA cross-country championship final. In what is a remarkably high standard race that would put our own BUCS championship in the shade due to the many different nationalities involved, Dave finished right on the heels of his University of New Mexico team mate GB international Keith Gerrard in a very creditable 41st place, with Lee Carey Britain’s best in 24th. The three Brits ahead of him – young Tom Farrell was the other – are all committed endurance runners, while Dave is better known as a middle distance track specialist and has never shown this sort of form over the longer distances. Clearly if he can transfer the endurance he has gained this winter to the track, he could be in line for a major breakthrough.
3 STEVE MITCHELL – In what has been a week when many performances deserved to be ranked Steve is the only one to earn the accolade from our own BMC Mike Sully 4K Classic on the Downs last weekend. Like Dave Bishop, Steve has never pretended to be a cross-country devotee, so to finish in the top three in a good class field proves that he too is building his endurance base for next summer’s track season. He may have been disappointed to be beaten on the day by two of the country’s top juniors in Tom Curr and Josh Gorecki, but they were both using the race as a final warm-up in their bid to make the GB U20 team at this wekend’s European trials, while Steve was the best part of half a minute faster over the course than he had done before..
While the top three spots are taken care of it would be remiss not to mention the fine effort of Dan Woolford in finishing as high as 9th, as well as new signing Michael Johnson, who despite only using the race as a training run after taking a two week break following his brilliant autumn road race campaign, made the top ten too, and then after not much more than a five minute rest proceeded to lead our team to victory in the accompanying Easy Runner Avon Clubs 5K mob match.
1 KATE GOODHEAD – Kate wrote another chapter in her ever burgeoning career by smashing her previous best 10K time in the country’s top road race last weekend – the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K. Taking well over a minute off her PB she also surprised herself by taking second place overall less than half a minute behind cross-country and marathon international Susan Partridge in the impressive time of 33:49.
2 IMOGEN AINSWORTH – Imo maintained the progress she has been making this autumn towards elite status by chasing international pair Kerry Harty and Sophie Morris all the way in the BMC Gemma Butler 4K championship. At the line she was only four seconds down on Irish star Harty and just one on Army champion Morris in easily the fastest time she has posted in the event (14:02).
3= REBEKAH RANDELL and LUCY McALISTER – Behind Imo Rebekah, who is perhaps short of race fitness and clearly needed the blowout with the European trial event in mind, stayed with the leading trio until the last of the four laps and held on well enough to secure 4th place only eight seconds down on the medal positions. Lucy for her part continued her promising comeback by dipping under the hour barrier to record an easy victory – by nearly five minutes – in 59:41 in the Epsom 10M road race.
1 MATT PETERS – Showing no lack of self-confidence Matt threw the gauntlet down to his experienced senior rivals Michael Johnson and Julian Emery in the Easy Runner Avon Clubs 5K mob match held in conjunction with the BMC cross-country Classic, so much so that both of them complimented him on taking up the pace on the third of the five laps in a brave but vain bid to make a break. However, predictably the greater experience and strength of his senior peers told on the last lap, but all credit to him as he still finished less than ten seconds in arrears at the finish, when Johnson duly outsprinted his veteran rival.
2 HOBIE MARTIN – Hobie once again underlined his outstanding talent by easily dismissing the challenge of his well rated rivals Aaron Phelps and Alex Hills in the BMC U17 3K championship. Looking ever stronger on each of the three laps he pulled away to win by nearly 50m in a more than respectable time for the undulating course of 9;25.
3 RHYS PARK – Rhys opted to run in the Mike Sully senior race with the forthcoming European trials event in mind and did well to finish close behind the fast improving Chris Dood  with a time inside 13 mins for 17th place overall. Nor was that the end of his afternoon’s work as he went on to underline his natural stamina by covering another 5K to finish a not surprisingly very weary-looking 4th in the mob match.
1 HANNAH ALDERSON – Hannah made a bold bid to match strides with her senior rivals in the BMC Gemma Butler 4K senior championship, and though eventually having to drop off the pace of the five strong lead group in the second half of the race she was never in any danger of being caught from behind  and finished a clear 6th overall to take the U20 gold medal in 14:34.
2 OLIVIA SADLER – Olivia was in a class of her own – her younger sister Miranda excepted – in the BMC combined U15/17 championship, eventually taking the U17 honours by nearly half a minute from Somerset champion Aoife Thorogood in the very respectable time of 11:06.
3 VICTORIA KENNEY – Victoria made a medal-winning debut for the club by doing exceptionally well to finish less than ten seconds adrift of Thorogood and secure the U17 bronze.
1 ALEC WOODS – Following his medal winning effort as a member of the England V45 team in the Home Countries vets cross-country international, Alec had a battle royal with Julian Emery for Masters honours in the latest Gloucestershire League race at Cheltenham, eventually having to concede defeat to his younger Clevdon rival by just eight seconds as they finished 4th and 6th respectively in a race won by Cheltenham’s fast improving triathlete Dave Roper.
2 HEATH BAMPTON – Heath not only took the vets title in the Swindon 10K, but found only one runner too good for him as he came in second overall in a more than reasonable time of 34:11.
3 MICK O’DOHERTY – Mick eased his way back to competition following another setback with a calf muscle injury by finishing just ahead of Team Bath’s top veteran Dave Coales and inside the top 20 in the Gloucestershire League event – a more than respectable position for any V50 runner.
1 CAMILLA BRIGGS – Camilla not only took the winning vets prize in the BMC Gemma Butler 4K, but beat well rated Welsh pair Bethan Strange and Natasha Cockram to finish in 9th place overall only just over a minute down on the winner.
2 ALISON HURFORD – Coming in just over a minute behind Camilla, Alison sealed the V45 prize in 17th place.
3 SIAN DAVIES – Sian not surprisingly could not match Alison’s finishing speed, but still came in only three seconds down in 18th place – not too bad for a V50 I might add! 
Mike Down (26-11-2010)