England’s elite men and women made it a 1-2 respectively at a super-charged Home Nations Podium 5km in Cardiff’s Bute Park at the weekend.
Our male team consisting of Tom Mortimer, Jack Gray, Jack Goodwin, and Cameron Allen, produced a combined time of 55:37 to top the podium whilst our female runners featuring Ellie Wallace, Kate Maltby, and Holly Dixon, finished second in 48:25 behind the composite team for race sponsors Adidas (47:31).
England’s Mortimer was first across the line in the elite men’s race, breaking the Welsh all-comers record in the process in a time of 13:39. Gray finished 3rd (13:51), followed by Goodwin in 5th (13:59), and Allen in 11th (14:09).
Mortimer, who was the favourite going into Saturday, sat 2nd at the gun but quickly moved into position to lead the pack after the first minute. The Stroud AC athlete stayed at the front throughout the race, stretching his lead at the midway point, to take the win and achieve a world qualifying time.
Gray (Cambridge & Coleridge) and Goodwin (Bedford County) both finished strongly in 3rd and 5th respectively whilst Cameron Allen (Houghton Harriers) posted a road PB to ensure a stunning team win for England.
Mortimer said afterwards:
“I knew it was going to be tough so lucky I guess to come away with the win. It’s always nice to put on the England vest, it doesn’t happen very often. It’s been great fun and I really enjoyed it. It’s nice coming away with a team, you go to so many races on your own and it’s good fun having that team with you.”
In the elite women’s race, race favourite Calli Thackery and Kate Axford, both running for Adidas, set the early pace with England’s Ellie Wallace (North Somerset) placed nicely in 3rd. At around the two-minute mark, Calli, who represented England in the 5,000m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, took to the front and from that point it was all about how hard she could make it for the other runners.
With Calli and Kate seemingly set for 1st and 2nd at the midway stage it was whether Ellie could remain in contention for a top three place.
She paced her race brilliantly and was closing on Kate Axford, crossing the line 3rd overall and first home for the team in a time of 15:57. Her England colleagues Kate Maltby (Black Combe), who ran a really brave race to hold her position, and Holly Dixon (Cambridge Harriers) finished 7th (16:12) and 10th (16:17) respectively.
Calli was 1st (15:29) which was also a Welsh all-comers record with Kate Axford clocking 15:56.
Speaking after the race, Ellie Wallace said:
"It was an honour to be part of Team England at the Home Nations 5k on Saturday. It was a great event and the atmosphere was amazing. I was really pleased to take third in such a high-quality field. Thank you to the Team Managers, Sally and Richard, and the rest of Team England for such an enjoyable weekend."
Team Managers with some of the athletes.
Men's start photo by Jerry Sun