Report – David Jones
Three club members were representing England at Sunday’s Chester 10k, a race that also incorporated the England v Welsh Masters International fixture.
Ben Kruze, Matt Burdus-Cook and Phil Brennan had all been selected to represent their country by meeting the qualifying criteria at a race in Regents Park in January.
To be selected the athlete’s had to meet the qualifying times and also finish in the top 3 of their age group categories. Ben, matt and Phil are in the M35, M45 and M80 age categories respectively. Their required qualifying times were 33:45, 35:45 and 65:00. They comfortably met this criteria, recording times on the day of 32:40, 34:19 and 52:51
This fast course at Chester starts from Nuns Road, next to the iconic Chester Racecourse and heads north-west out of the City along wide roads, allowing runners to rapidly settle into race pace. It then passes close to the picturesque village of Mollington, before returning to the heart of Chester City centre, passing the historic Victorian town hall and Medieval Cathedral, before finishing on Eastgate Street with a spectacular backdrop of the Eastgate Clock.
The Stratford runners had mixed fortunes leading up to the race, with Ben having spent the week prior with a bad back and then managing to pick up a cold. Despite this he finished in 13th place overall out of almost 3200 runners. He was 7th in his age category out of 278, finishing in a time of 32:12. He professed himself to be pretty happy with his 13th place finish in a very strong line up and felt his time was not too bad given his chequered preparation. He was just very glad to have made the start line.
Matt was 84th overall but more importantly 9th out of 203 in his age category with a time of 34:09. He feels he need to be a good minute faster, possibly 2, to be in the shake up for the England podium places for his age group. His focus now shifts to England 5km qualifying, which is panel selected from recent form rather than qualification events.
Phil Brennan has had a torrid time this year, particularly with a hamstring injury. Despite this he not only competed in the Chester 10k on Sunday but on Saturday he ran in the British Masters 3000m indoor Championships at Lee Valley, London, where he finished on top of the podium with a time of 16:00.40. At Chester he had another podium finish, finishing 2nd in his age group with a time of 56:16.
No Fool Like An Old Fool
Phil’s words not mine – I wouldn’t dare!
Report – Phil Brennan
The week started badly with Mrs Brennan telling me to get my hair cut.
A hamstring injury had ruined my winter season. I had to miss the last of the Tempo Series races and drop out of two crucial indoor meetings.
Although the injury is on the mend, I was left uncertain as to my fitness and too scared to train at more than a jog. I wasn’t quite sure how to rescue the situation and then, in the optimistic spirit of Michael Caine at the end of “The Italian Job”, I had an idea….
I still had two races left in my calendar: it was time to forget the lack of quality training and just get on with it.
Unfortunately, they were both on the same weekend.
British Masters Indoor 3000m Championship.
Having not raced indoors for three years, I ran the worst possible distance, in a mixed-category race, with the inevitable consequences. After one lap I was praying to anyone who would listen to get me out of there (“Beam me up, Scotty” never works) and could feel myself getting slower and slower.
I was amazed to finish in a time which was not quite truly awful-for-age (16 mins), and delighted to get no reaction from my leg and of course, the title, as the only one in my age category.
That just left Sunday to get through…
Chester 10k/ England Athletics Masters v. Wales
I had qualified for the England team in January, alongside Ben and Matt.
Despite Saturday’s antics, I had to make a very early start to get there in time for a long recovery/ warmup. Another good idea which didn’t work. It was just warm enough for one layer, but with a chilly wind.
The usual problems with a large field and a narrow start meant that we were penned far too early and by start time I was frozen, with my pulse down to “sleep”.
It didn’t take long to realise I shouldn’t be there and spent most of the time like Captain Scott hauling a sledge through the snow. It was probably scenic.
The only cheering thing was to see Ben and Matt powering homewards towards the head of the field on the return leg. I actually speeded up a bit at that point.
I was was four minutes off seasons best, bad enough to come second and got a prize. I also had the unique embarrassment of some of the other EA team members taking selfies with me because they couldn’t believe I was so old and still alive. If they saw me the next morning, they wouldn’t bother.
I’m not quite sure where that leaves my season……but hang on a minute, I’ve got an idea……..