The England senior teams won both team competitions following a very successful 10k road race in Rennes, France on 14 October.
In very mild, but wet conditions the women tackled the multi-lap course with a dominant display of distance running. Comprising of three athletes, due to a late withdrawal, Danielle Hodgkinson (Wallsend, Coach: Paddy Dinsmore), Hannah Viner (Highgate Harriers) and Hannah Irwin (Guildford & Godalming) surged to the front to take control of the race, making their intentions known at the same time. At the start of the fifth lap, the chasing French athlete slipped off the pace leaving the three England athletes to battle for the top three positions.
With 3k remaining, the strong-looking Danielle Hodgkinson, who celebrated her birthday two days before, made her move to break away from her teammates and crossed the line with a fabulous individual win in 34:54. She was soon joined by her teammates with a fine England debut and mature performance by Hannah Irwin to finish a brilliant second in 35:13, closely followed by another fine performance by Hannah Viner, to take bronze in 35:15 and a clean sweep of 1-2-3. They were full of smiles knowing they had done themselves proud by winning the team competition.
With the standard set by the women, the senior men had it all to do.
England’s senior team was represented by Oliver Lockley (Leeds City AC), Jack Gray (Cambridge & Colridge, Coach: Mark Vile), Alex Bampton (Highgate Harriers, Coach: Simon Burley) and Owen Hind (Kent AC, Coach: Ken Pike).
They started the late afternoon race in high spirits and packed competitively in the opening laps at a comfortable pace. Passing halfway in about 15:11 the main contenders continued to jostle for positions until about 7k when the strong and confident looking French athlete Bastien Augusto seized his moment and pushed for home to win the race in 29:55. Oliver Lockley followed to take an individual second with a well-executed performance at 30:07. Experiencing some difficulties over the closing stages, Jack Gray did well to come in 4th overall, but second for the team at 30:15. With England and France having two of their scoring runners in, it was left to Owen Hind to bring the England team home in first position, finishing fifth overall in 30:24. Alex Bampton finished a solid ninth in 30:52 on marathon legs, making it all four England athletes across the line before the final scoring French athlete. Alex looks forward to the Frankfurt Marathon at the end of the month.
The men’s performance ensured England reigned in Rennes by matching the women’s performance with combined victories, making it a hugely successful trip for team England.
Team staff Richard Owen (Tonbridge AC) and Bill Boyed (Corby AC) were delighted with the team’s success, both individual and collectively, but both recognised that the athlete's team spirit, and togetherness was a notable factor for them.