Walthamstow track is set to stage an enthralling spectacle for lane-three distance fans when the FASTFriday meeting incorporates the England Athletics 10,000m championships on Friday evening.
The meeting, organised by Orion Harriers, is specially set up to encourage PBs as well as entertain. Indeed, last year’s men’s A race saw 11 of the first 17 athletes run lifetime bests. Spectators will be treated to trackside bars and street food stalls as they watch the action unfold over 25 laps in two championship races and three graded events.
The men’s A race, up last on the timetable, looks like it could see some close competition for the England title. This year’s Inter-Counties cross country champion, Calum Johnson (John Stevenson, Gateshead), will be out for more silverware as he makes his seasonal track debut. His PB of 29:16.65 hails from when he was third here last year. Beating him by one place on that occasion was Josh Grace (Aldershot, Farnham & District), who also set his PB of 29:15.04 there and is back again. Jack Gray (Mark Vile, C&C), who ran 29:22.85 at Highgate in May, is another who will hope to challenge. Clearly on form is Jonathan Escalante-Phillips (Cambridge & Coleridge), who clocked 13:59.49 for 5000m at Watford last weekend and will hope to beat his PB of 29:32.69. Ben Alcock (Bedford & County), who has run 29:29.18, is another to watch for. When it comes to the overseas entrants not eligible for medals, Ethiopia’s Kadar Omar (David Lawrence, Birchfield), who won the Trafford 10km in 28:28 this year, will be vying for overall victory. Australian Dylan Evans (Shaftesbury Barnet), who was just behind Escalante-Phillips in Watford, should be in amongst it too.
The competition for the women’s medals does not have the same strength in depth but British international Louise Small (Mick Woods, Aldershot, Farnham & District) could be set for a fast time. As with all the top-graded women, she will race with men in the B race. Small, who is a former European junior 3000m bronze medallist, has competed three times at the European Cup 10,000m and has a best of 32:34.73. Kat Estlea (Mick Woods, Aldershot, Farnham & District) ran 35:20.33 at Highgate this year and is out to experience more of the same type of atmosphere on Friday. Emma Navesey (David Leach, Lewes), who ran 35:29 on the roads last year, is another challenger. Tara Bage (Joel Kidger, Brighton Phoenix) ran 35:53 on the roads of Valencia in January and will be hoping for a track PB on Friday.
A club team prize sponsored by runcoach1to1.com will award £400 to the leading team of three including one woman, as decided on cumulative times across all the races.