Anglo Celtic Plate 2017 and UK 100km Championships 2017
The 2017 ACP Championships, a Home Countries International, with teams from England, Scotland and Wales was incorporated into the National 100K Championships held at Patrington Haven, near Hull.
The event was held on a four-times ‘out and back’ 25 km loop with the course consisting of narrow country lanes through flat farmland, which offered little if any shelter from the head, cross and tail winds which were evident throughout the event. With long straight stretches, all athletes were to be tested to the full.
The English men’s team were there to retain the Anglo Celtic Plate team title from 2016 ,but knew that Scotland and Wales would be there to challenge this aim.
From the start Lee Grantham (East Cheshire) led with two open event runners who eventually withdrew from the race. Lee’s pace was relentless and at 80K it was clear that all opposition had faded and he was to finish with a world class time of 6:42:42. An outstanding achievement on the day.
Lee was supported by the experienced Ant Clark (Bournemouth) who ran a very solid race and improved on last years time by over 13 minutes, to finish second with a very respectable 7:04:28. In 4th came Paul Fernandez (Abingdon) who was stretched to his limits by two strong Scottish runners David McLure who came 3rd and Dave Ward (Hunter’s Bog Trotters) who finished 5th.At the finish Paul was delighted to have a set a PB by over 45 minutes in a fine 7:25:27.
With Nathan Montague (Swindon) finishing 6th in a very respectable 7:33:04 and Darryl Hards (Brighton Phoenix) running in his first 100K recording 8:12:48.The English men’s team not only retained the Plate but all finished ,which was a significant achievement on a challenging course over the classic 100K distance.
In the women’s race three of the five ladies representing England, Sam Amend (Belgrave, Rodger Hughes), Sophie Carter (Belgrave) and Susie Chesher were given their first opportunity to race over the 100km distance on the roads. Completing the team were the 2016 Champion, Mel Venables (Spa Striders, Les Barnett) and European 100km Bronze medallist Sue Harrison (Leamington C & AC, Les Barnett).
From the gun Amend, Carter and Chesher went into an early lead which they held through the first 25km lap with a two minute lead over the more experienced duo who held back sticking with their clear race strategy.
By 40km Chesher was forced to withdraw leaving Amend and Carter racing together. Harrison had slowly closed the gap to 90 seconds with Venables a further two minutes back.
The early strong pace was soon telling and soon after the halfway point Harrison moved into the lead which she was never to relinquish. Shortly afterwards a tightening hamstring saw Amend retire and Venables slightly close the gap on Carter who was faltering slightly.
By 90km Harrison had an almost unassailable lead of 15 minutes over Carter who had found a new belief and was a clear second. A troublesome Achilles’ almost forced Venables to pull out, but as defending Champion she showed great determination and continued out on the fourth and final 25km loop determined to hold on to third place.
A tiring Harrison showed her experience as she held her form to cross the finish line over 10 minutes clear of Carter and lead England to the women’s team race and claim her first UK Championship Title. Her time of 8.01.22 put her in second place on the IAAF World 100km Ranking list for 2017. 100km debutant, Carter finished strongly to takes 2nd place in 8.11.34. Whilst Venables’ determination and courage was rewarded with 3rd in the ACP to give England a clean 1-2-3 sweep.