The 28th Anglo-Celtic Plate 100k Championship saw England return home with a men’s team gold, a female individual gold and a new British 100k record of 7:03:40. Following last year's event in Scotland, it was the turn of Northern Ireland to host in Craigavon.
The star of the show was ultra-distance debutant Sarah Webster (Northern Isle of Man AC, David Leach). The Isle of Man athlete came into this race on the back of a 2:39 marathon PB in Seville this spring and with her eyes firmly set on a British record in her first attempt at the distance.
Looking calm and relaxed for the first two thirds of the race, Webster followed a precise fuelling plan and ticked away most of the 21.5 laps of the roughly 4.5km loop in metronomic fashion. Having lapped the entire female field by halfway it was clear that it was a race against herself and the clock. It wasn’t until the last third the race seemed to be taking its toll, but the determination on Sarah’s face was clear. She was here to do something special.
The last couple of laps were clearly tough, and a sub seven hour time slipped from her grasp, but 7:03:40 was a new British record by over 20 minutes and the fifth fastest 100k of all time. It would also have been a European record were it not for Poland’s Dominika Stelmach running 6:53 earlier this year. Carolyn Hunter-Rowe’s previous British record mark of 7:27:19 had stood since 1993.
The men’s race saw more of a fragmented field than the previous year in Perth, with England’s Ollie Garrod (South London Harriers) and Northern Ireland’s Gareth King breaking free of the rest of the field. The faster pace at the front took its toll on both of the men from GB&NI’s 2022 World Championship team with King stopping with a knee injury and Garrod fading heavily in the latter stages.
It was debutant Jarlath McKenna who came through for the win for NI, with England debutant Dale Seddon (Candy Racing, Andy Elks) running an intelligent and strong willed 6:47:57 to lead home Garrod (6:58:10), Paul Martelletti (Tower Hamlets & Victoria Park Harriers, Nick Anderson) (7:14:46) and Nick Barry (Sale Harriers) (7:25:11) to take the team gold for England in the Anglo-Celtic Plate.
Other strong performances saw an excellent return from injury and a PB for Joe Turner (Cambridge and Coleridge, Nick Anderson) with 6:41:06 for second overall, a Welsh record for Daniel Rothwell with 6:43:25 for third individual and an Irish record for Ciaran McGonigle with 6:57:32 in seventh.
England Team Manager Robbie Britton said:
"It was excellent to see a team with such a mix of experience work so well together both during the race and in the build-up."
- Sarah Webster (Northern Isle of Man AC, David Leach) – 1st (7:03:40)
- Dale Seddon (Candy Racing, Andy Elks) – 4th (6:47:57)
- Ollie Garrod (South London Harriers) – 8th (6:58:10)
- Paul Martelletti (Tower Hamlets & Victoria Park Harriers, Nick Anderson) – 12th (7:14:46)
- Nick Barry (Sale Harriers) – 16th (7:25:11)
For full report see Athletics Weekly.
Photo: Adrian Scott