Jess takes British Half Marathon championships

Report: Peter Powell -

Stockport’s Jessica Coulson ran the race of her life in the Lloyds Bank Cardiff half marathon which incorporated the British championships.

Not only did she smash the Harriers’ club record but also helped herself to qualification for Great Britain in next year’s world championships at the same venue and well ahead of the cut off time of 74 minutes.

Coulson used the tactic of overhauling runners by latching on to other elite male competitors in the event until at the 10 mile point she had the two Kenyan leaders in her sights. She wound it up and eventually caught up with them at the 13 mile point but the Kenyans who had not had to play catch up took first and second spots to Coulson’s third finish but with only 6 seconds between all three athletes.

Lena Jerotich took first (1:11:30) with De Maris Areba just one second behind in 1:11;31 and just a further five seconds ahead of third placed Coulson in 1:11:36 and reduced Elle Vernon’s old club record (1:15:54) by over four minutes in the process to complete a most amazing bronze medal finish.

“I was quite nervous as this was my debut, I passed one Kenyan at 5 miles but wasn’t sure if there were any further ones ahead of me and managed to break away from the pack on the long hill which came at 10 miles and then gradually managed to claw back distance on the two front runners” exuded an enthusiastic Coulson.

A bronze age category medal also came the way of Stockport’s Kelly Crickmore in the over 35’s veterans category with a finish time of 1:18:39 to score a third place out of no less that 1156 runners in her age group.

The two “Elles” topped the fastest timed legs in the womens’ national road relays at Sutton Park, Birmingham with Stockport’s Elle Vernon just edging out Swansea’s Elle Kirk (14:11 to 14:13) but unfortunately there was no further team support owing to injury problems but Team Stockport are already sharpening themselves up for an assault on the National cross country relays at Berry Hill park, Mansfield at the end of the month.

Shorter cross country distances prevailed at Woodbank Park with the 2nd of the Harriers’ sponsored primary schools cross country races with one of the largest margins of victory ever recorded in the history of the event.

Freya Murdoch (right) of Pownall Green school competed in the year 3/4 girls’ event and such was her margin of victory coupled with amazing pluck and courage, that she blew away the rest of the field by over 200 metres and 47 seconds for the short course race and with 100+ competitors in the event and is starting to cement her position at the top having won the first race of the series in September.

Topping the pecking order in the other races was Luke Carrington (boys’ years 3/4 Gee Cross), Isabelle Burk (girls’ years 5/6 (St Ann’s) and with a 10 metre margin of victory Cathal O’Grady Smith won the boys’ event for years 5/6 representing St Christopher’s, Romiley school.

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