Arne Dumez reports:
With the excitement of the Westminster Mile behind them, those keen Londoners still hunkering for a fixin’ of running gathered around the Mall once again to see off the thousands of brave souls ready to tackle the 10,000m course. Andy Fyfe, Will Johnson and Arne Dumez – experienced and stat-obsessed as they are – decided to skip the start altogether and set up shop right outside the Bank of England for optimum halfway split watching. The weather was looking rather grey and humid in spite of the 29 degrees predicted for the morning, but the cloud canopy was threatened by a sizzling sun teasing a break out every few minutes. While not awful, conditions were sure to be a factor.
As the timer hit 15mins, the cheerleaders caught their first glimpse of the leading pack announced by Mo’s fluorescent arm warmers. Still surprisingly compact, the group featured established names like Mo and Jonny Mellor alongside a sprinkle of up-and-comers such as AFD’s Ellis Cross and Richard Allen, Matt Sharp and Mohamud Aadan. No Callum Hawkins in sight…
It was only 20s later that our most valuable Kiwi import, Dan Wallis, reached the 5km point in 15:30 accompanied by a lonely Reading Road Runner who already looked like he was aching for that sweet, sweet finish line. As expected, the mirage of cool that are Paskar Owor’s Ray Bans floated into sight a mere 10s later, which could only mean that the man himself was well and truly in the race, locking horns with the usual Hercules and Serpentine suspects. He managed to keep the gap to Dan minimal as they finished in 31:05 and 31:36 respectively, earning themselves a 25th and 49th spot.
Andrius Jaksevicius had also put himself in prime position for a tussle and closed Belgrave’s elite contingent with a PB of 31:54, once again proving he is one of the claret and gold’s most reliable staples be it on the roads or the grass.
As Andy shouted “there they are!” with child-like wonder in his eyes, the glorious sight of the Battersea Train burst through the masses. Precisely and neatly driven by the engine of Matt Welsh, Sophie Harris and Stephen Gardner cruised through 5km in 17:04. While Steve eventually chopped almost a minute off his previous best with a fantastic 33:52 effort – seriously, someone might have to resort to illicit means to stop this guy from PBing every race – Sophie was devastated to accept a DNF at the 8km mark. Despite being in the shape of her life and excited to race, she started feeling ill early on in the race and was eventually forced to stop due to sickness. Knowing her, she will use this minor setback as a motivator and a springboard for her ascent to the next level. We’ll be here, on the edge of our seat.
Is it a plane? Is it a promotional board for Jurassic World? Nope, it’s Ross ‘T-Rex’ Finlay. Passing the 5km clock in 17:59, Ross looked set to add another solid race to his recent streak. Only losing 18s in the second half, he clawed his way to a 36:17. Right behind him was first Belle Jane Vongvorachoti who showcased a textbook example of negative split pacing; an 18:26 5km saw her come through 10km in 36:27 as 29th woman.
“Is that Alex?!”, exclaimed Will in surprise as he pointed at the figure of Alex Mills. After his fantastic mile race the morning previous nobody really expected the young gun to actually double up, but what a nice surprise it was! The signature head tilt – commonly observed as a tell-tale of fatigue – reared its head at the halfway mark in the mile the day before but was nowhere to be seen here. By all indications Mr Mills was headed for a swift run. He finished just 25s behind Jane in 36:52 in an admirable demonstration of resilience.
Next on the women’s roster was Georgie Fenn. After a phenomenal 18:04 5000m on the track the weekend prior, she ran the day’s first 5km in 18:35 – still smiling for the camera. The mall had barely recovered from Georgie’s marathon exploits last month and here she came again, barreling towards a 37:01 10km PB. To wrap the whole thing in a nice bow, she placed 42nd woman and finished just as the sun burned through the last of the clouds. Is there a better start to a bank holiday Monday?
Although he donned the blue and white stripes of St Mary’s University vest for the occasion – we will have to have a word about that at some point – Robel Fesoom’s 37:56 counts for the claret and gold. Having appeared in a few 1500m races, Robel passed the 5km mark only 6s after Georgie but struggled to maintain the pace in the latter stages. Still, this was a very strong first mark on the distance and we look forward to seeing what else he can pull off! Just make sure to wear that Belgrave vest, okay?
Iona Cousland was still smiling from her fantastic 1:26 half marathon in Kingston and added a 41:39 10km to her CV. Behind her was another one of Charlie’s angels. Lizzie Goldie-Scot, still in the process of ‘racing herself fit’, looked relaxed and comfortable halfway through her run and got a great picture for her troubles. Finally, closing the ranks was the young Freya Marney who concluded the team’s campaign with a clocking of 47:22 – a ginormous improvement on her 51:53 in Crystal Palace just over a month prior!
Nick Buckle, Mhairi Hall and Lizzie Dingemans were all very keen to represent the club too, but sadly had to pull out due to shin injuries. Hopefully they will be right back to their best shape in no time and doing the club proud!
We would like to extend a huge thank you to the organisers and everyone who came out to support the athletes on the day – this would not have been the fantastic event it was without you! We already look forward to next year’s edition.