A seven strong England Athletics Team competed in the innovative Home Nations International event run in conjunction with the IAAF World Half Marathon Men’s race held in Cardiff on 26th March. The poor weather conditions hampered runners in terms of times recorded. Nevertheless, the Home Nations International gave major event experience to all who ran and especially for the England Athletics Men’s Team who mixed it with the IAAF athletes.
Matt Bond (Club: Sale Harriers, Coach: Norman Poole) finished 3rd in 65:21, crossing the line 44th when combined with the IAAF field. Toby Spencer (Club: Coventry Godiva Harriers, self coached) was next in for England in 5th in 66:38 (58th) followed by Stuart Robinson (Club: Salford Harriers, Coach: Helen Clitheroe) 10th (67:18, 72nd) and James Douglas (Club: Border AC, Coach: Andy Henderson) 11th (67:36, 74th).
In the Women’s race Stacey Ward (Club: Herne Hill/Hillingdon, Coach: Geoff Jerwood) and Leigh Lattimore (Club: Harrow, self coached) were 3rd and 4th in 77:16 and 77:27, which would have placed them 70th and 71st in the World Championships race. Bryony Proctor (Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District, Coach: Mick Woods) got caught up in the start line melee falling alongside eventual Men’s Champion, Geoffrey Kamworor; and sadly was unable to continue. Rebecca Robinson (Club: Kendall AC) withdrew from the Team the day before the event with injury.
Team Leader Andi Drake said, “Big thanks to Steve Brace and his Team at Welsh Athletics for setting up the Home Nations International as part of the World Championships. This allowed a host of domestic athletes to experience this high level of competition. Their challenge is to reflect on how they faired relative to the IAAF field and identify how they will take the next step towards making GB&NI Teams and/or their respective Commonwealth Games Teams in 2018. While it may not have been a PB day, it was a day for learning more about racing; and all will have gained valuable experience as part of the England Athletics Team.”