The England Athletics teams competing at the 2023 Armagh International Road Races won team gold and silver on a fantastic night in Northern Ireland.
The women's team, competing over 3km, was led home by Calli Thackery (Hallamshire) who pressed ahead at the front of the race for the first two laps with some of the best British and Irish talent chasing. During the last lap Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey and Bramley) and Wales' Cari Hughes pulled ahead with Commonwealth Games 800m star Bell claiming victory in 9:02.
Thackery finished third in 9:12 - she was joined by strong performances from Rebecca Johnson (Highgate, Lewis Walker) who finished 11th in 9:18 and Ellie Wallace (North Somerset, Julian Emery) who finished 12th in 9:20 to claim the International team gold for England in a combined time of 27:49. Johnson and Wallace were rewarded for pushing hard with the leading pack as they claimed the win by just two seconds from NI & Ulster and Scotland who both finished with a combined time of 27:51.
58 women broke 10 minutes on a fabulous night for racing on the streets of Armagh.
The men's race saw a stunning 132 men break 15 minutes to cement the fixture as one of Europe's fastest road races. Henry McLuckie reeled in the early leader, Patryk Kozłowski to take the victory in a dominating display breaking the course record with 13:37. An excellent team performance saw the England teams claim the silver medal in a combined time of 41:46 with Scotland taking the win in 41:33 and NI & Ulster the bronze with 41:53.
Jacob Allen (Highgate, Steve McGowan) led home the England team to finish 5th overall in big road PB of 13:47. Kieran Clements (Shaftesbury & Barnet) and Kurt Taylor (Bristol & West AC) completed the men's team both crossing the line in 14:00 in 18th and 19th place with Taylor slicing 15 seconds off his previous road 5k PB. The fourth member of the England team, Ian Crowe-Wright (Brighton & Hove, Geoff Wightman) also claimed a road 5k PB with 14:13.
Team leader Dean Miller said;
Armagh once again proves itself as one of the quickest, highest quality and most exciting road races on the circuit. The quality of international teams was plain to see, therefore seeing the England women's team take the trophy was fantastic, in addition to the gents narrowly missing out due to a strong Scottish showing. A sublime effort from the whole team which should provide a springboard to the rest of the season and into the summer!