The Lillebaelt half-marathon was held on Saturday 5 May in Middelfart, Denmark in clear blue skies with the thermometer being fairly kind to the runners, peaking around 19C.
Team England performed admirably with Peter Huck (Barrow & Furness) pushing the pace from the off before striding clear over the second half of the race to stop the clock in 67:27 to take the victory by a huge margin. Ryan Burling (Guernsey, Coach: Tony Simmons), took fifth place in 70:24 after drifting from the leading group just after 5k but battled extremely well despite having no company for the remaining 16k.
Peter said: "I was really pleased to take the win, but obviously slightly disappointed with my finishing time. However, sometimes it's not all about times and to be honest I struggled over the last 2k. The event was fantastic and I really appreciated the support from the Danish spectators en-route and I have learned a lot from today."
Ryan added: "That was very hard as I didn't run up to my expectations and it was really just me and the course. I was very tired over the last few miles but like Peter I have taken so much from having the opportunity to race here."
The women's race saw Dani Nimmock (City of Norwich, Coach: Pauline Ash), (77:20), push the pace for much of the race but she didn't quite have enough in her legs to cover the break by Scotland's Fiona Brian over the final 4k. Emily Waugh (Rugby & Northampton, Coach: Nicholas Garner), (80:59), had unfortunately picked up a knee niggle just before the race and this exacerbated as the race unfolded, reducing her capabilities significantly along with intestinal problems during the event.
Dani said: "I am slightly disappointed as I felt I did everything right, except from either covering Fiona's break or not pushing harder to try and break her. However, I am not probably fully recovered from Manchester Marathon and I feel my form is improving all of the time and I'm looking forward to better things in the next year or so. The event was great with tremendous support and the course, although an unusual one, was definitely testing."
Emily, who resides for long periods in the cauldron of Dubai was understandably upset with her outcome. She explained: "It is just the frustration of my sore knee holding me back and to get stomach problems too, was so disappointing. If it hadn't been for wearing an England vest, I probably would have called it a day. My knee is hurting a lot right now and I will look to get treatment, but it looks like no running for a while."
Team Manager, David Lowes, commented: "This was a worthwhile trip in near perfect conditions and I'm sure all of the team will take some positives from their respective runs or just the whole experience of race preparation and running in a more tactical scenario. Everyone, regardless of their performance, gave everything in terms of commitment in their treasured England vests."
Photos and report by David Lowes