England Athletics 10k titles awarded
Once again the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash proved a popular choice for club runners looking for a high quality field and a fast 10k, with Sunday’s race living up to its billing.
The weather was still and a little cool, but noticeably better conditions than the previous two years and with the race getting off to a smooth start there was an expectation that quick times might be on the cards and it wasn’t long before the lead runners were streaming into the finishing straight in front of the iconic Leeds City Hall building.
On paper the likes of Ben Connor (Club: Derby AC; Coach: Steve Vernon); a recent bronze at the England 10 mile Championships, last year’s race winner Jonny Mellor (Club: Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Steve Vernon), or Phil Sesemann (Club: Blackheath & Bromley / Leeds uni, Coach: Andrew Henderson) and Graham Rush (Club: Cheltenham / Gloucestershire uni) - who were amongst the fastest runners at the National Road Relays last month - seemed the most likely to challenge for the title of English Champion.
However, a previous best of 30:26 for 10k on the road rather masked the fact that 25-year-old Sam Stabler (Club: Wreake & Soar; Coach: Rob Denmark) had clocked a time of 29:03.64 on the track back in August. Stabler was certainly in the lead group from the start and as the runners turned back towards the city centre looked very much in control, eventually coming through the finish line in a new road personal best of 29:13.
Battling out for second place was the Irishman Paul Pollock and Englishman Ben Connor who both clocked 29:20c, but with Pollock taking second overall in the race and Connor taking third overall and second in the English Championships. Andrew Heyes (Club: Hallamshire Harriers; Coach: Steve Vernon) was fourth overall in 29:22c taking bronze in the England Championships.
In the women’s race it was Elish McColgan (Club: Dundee Hawkill) who took the overall race title in a new course record of 32:05c, taking 10 seconds off Jill Boltz' (nee Hunter) 1990 record. There was also a national record for Northern Ireland’s Emma Mitchell recording 32:51c.
The first English runner and third overall - and perhaps a little unexpected given this was her 10k debut - was a delighted Ashley Gibson (Club: Tonbridge; Coach: Bill Foster) clocking 33:32c. Taking second place in the England Championships was Rebecca Robinson F35 (Club: Kendal) who was equally delighted with her return to form at the 10k distance. Emma Clayton (Club: Leeds City AC; Coach: Andy Henderson) took bronze in 33:50c.
Once again the Leeds Abbey Dash proved that it’s a race that produces quick times whatever the conditions with 189 predominantly club runners breaking 34 minutes, and 29 athletes breaking the England Athletics road running development standards.
England Athletics podium positions
1st Sam Stabler (Club: Wreake & Soar; Coach: Rob Denmark)
2nd Ben Connor (Club: Derby AC; Coach: Steve Vernon)
3rd Andrew Heyes (Club: Hallamshire Harriers; Coach: Steve Vernon)
1st Ashley Gibson (Club: Tonbridge; Coach: Bill Foster)
2nd Rebecca Robinson (Club: Kendal)
3rd Emma Clayton (Club: Leeds City AC; Coach: Andy Henderson)