Bristol & West Strong Showing in Bristol 10k on Sunday 15th May 2011

As befits a club with the endurance pedigree of Bristol & West the club produced a very strong showing in the Bristol 10k on Sunday 15th May 2011. Pride of place must surely go to Claire Hallissey on a flying (literally) visit returning from altitude training in Font Romeu (France) with the UK Athletics squad to her new home in Washington DC. A quick stop over in Bristol saw her finish a close second and first British woman in the women’s race. Her time of 32.36 was a new PB by 24 seconds and shows that despite only intermittent training since the New York Marathon she is in great shape and is poised to move up a level. Helen Clitheroe’s Manchester run lifted Helen to number one in the 2011 UK rankings but Claire’s time lifts her to a healthy third position.

Having started with the women I will stick with them as Amy Chalk finished sixth (fourth Brit) in 34.15. Amy is relishing training with the club women’s group and this showed as she took 13 seconds off her PB from 2008. Amy was also recovering from illness and I believe BUPA London 10k might see a sub-34 clocking from Amy on 30th May 2011. Just behind in ninth overall was Lucy Macalister in 24.22 just five seconds outside her 2008 PB of 24.17. Kate Goodhead was next in eleventh place in 35.08 showing she is returning to fitness after a hamstring injury and she will surely benefit from a further two weeks of training before the BUPA London race. Imogen Ainsworth shaved two seconds off her 2010 time for thirteenth place in 35.25 (the fact that she was seventh in 2010 shows how much stronger the 2011 women’s field was). Again Imo should run far quicker in London as she will have finished her finals then and will be running without the worry of her dissertation hanging over her. Sixteenth and seventeenth in the race were Nikki Brookland and Annabel Grainger, as Nikki took 24 seconds off her PB with a 36.09 clocking and Annabel with 36.33 posted her fastest 10k time since 2004.

The women’s team result hasn’t officially appeared yet but I don’t think I am sticking my neck out to say that with four in the first eleven the ladies would have been comfortable winners and with seven in seventeen it was a great show of strength. Had Rebekah Randell finished (she dropped out suffering from the effects of an infection) we surely would have finished eight in eighteen.

Vicky Tester was under 40 minutes with a 39.20 clocking and Julia Belyavin and Clare Joliffe ran 40.35 and 43.36 respectively. Former track star Sarah Herbert ran around in 42.28 (could this be the start of a comeback) and the Sadler sisters Olivia and Miranda appeared on the results clocking 39.22 and 42.11 respectively. (Any omissions are due to the information on the Run Bristol web-site).

The men performed equally as well with Phil Wylie leading the guys home in fourteenth place – just shading under 30 minutes with 29.59. Jon Wills was satisfied but not delighted to finish twenty-eighth in 30.53 and Tom (I started too fast) Merson hung on for 33rd in 31.04. Steve Francis finally ventured away from the Bridge Inn and found it to his liking as he finished 39th in a massive PB of 31.35 to come home fourth club scorer. Behind him Andy Chambers ran strongly for 45th in 31.53 to miss 32 minutes out completely as he took his PB from 33.01 to 31.53 in one go. Just behind him Steve McGuigan ran 31.55 as he bettered his 32.13 from 2009 by eighteen seconds.

Mick O’Doherty was well up the veteran results with a 33.23 clocking in 74th place overall. Just behind Tim Wallis was 76th in 33.28. Dan Woolford ran 34.03 to finish 86th – which is no reflection of his true potential while Matt Deacon (106th in 35.33) and James Bird (108th in 35.38) just failed to make the top 100.

Newcomer Stuart Price showed Monday nights at Whitehall are getting him fitter as he finished 252nd in 39.19 – strides in front of Vicky Tester.

Once again Georgette van Hoof and her team staged a first class event that produced a whole host of fast times and PBs on what was not a particularly fast day due to the wind. As ever several club members were well to the fore on the organisational front and mention must be made of Mike Strange and his timekeeping team who are there to ensure there is a fall back if there are problems with the chip timing (thankfully there were none – although Kate Goodhead gave the author a fright by declaring she had lost her race chip only moments before the start (thankfully she did not appear on the results as Tom Russell after his chip was hastily reprogrammed and transferred across.

Full results are available on the Bristol 10 k web-site at www.runbristol.com and highlights of the race – plus a post-race interview with Claire Hallissey, can be seen at http://www.runbritain.com/runbritain-tv/AJPwupoXDTQ/.

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