The 2019 Parelloop 10k took place in Brunssum in the Netherlands yesterday with a strong field of runners from across Europe and East Africa taking part. Racing conditions were good and the England Team acquitted themselves well.
The stand out performance in the elite race by a Briton was that of Laura Weightman (Morpeth) who ran the fifth fastest ever time at 10k on the roads by a British Women to finish third behind Kenya’s Evaline Chirchir, in a new personal best of 31:39.
The men’s race was won in 27:56 by Uganda’s Mande Buschendich who was pursued by a pack of sub 29 minute 10k runners. The home nation’s Jesper van der Wielen finished fifth place and first European in 28:42, whilst Jack Gray (Cambridge & Coleridge) was first home for the England team. Gray judged his race well, coming through strongly in the final stages to finish 16th in a new personal best of 29:21 and clearly with the potential to break the 28 minute mark before too long.
There were strong supporting performances by team mates Dejene Gezimu (Liverpool Harriers, Anthony Clarke), Will Mycroft (Enfield & Haringey) and Lucian Allison (Lincoln Wellington AC, Mark Baddeley). Gezimu went out hard at the start and perhaps paid the price in the second half of the race finishing in 30:05, but he ran a brave race and his determination and mindset was an inspiration to his team mates throughout the weekend. Will Mycroft ran his second fastest 10k ever making the most of the quality competition and racing conditions. He went out quickly, fading a little in the second half, but still hanging onto a respectable 30:08. Making his England debut was Lucian Allison, relatively new to running and still very much learning about racing and although not feeling 100% on the day he nonetheless acquitted himself well to run a solid 30:20 and complete the England quartet.
Competing in Brunssum alongside the England team members was Paulos Surafel (Thames Valley Harriers) who raced to a great new personal best of 29:45.
Another athlete making a debut for England was Danielle Hodgkinson (Wallsend, Paddy Dinsmore). Hodgkinson who has come close - but never quite made England teams on previous occasions - was thrilled to be fulfilling a lifelong ambition in representing her country and she was determined to make the most of the experience. She certainly did just that, leading the way for the England women’s team and despite running solo for much of the race went on to set a new personal best of 34:13. Team mates Dani Nimmock (City of Norwich, Pauline Ash) and Lucy Crookes (leeds City, Philip Townsend), whilst both hoping for faster times on the day, nonetheless produced solid performances with 34:35 and 35:16 respectively, both athletes giving 100% on the day.
Team Leader Tom Craggs said: ‘Success is measured in a lot of different ways on trips like these and whilst not everyone achieved the times they wanted, everyone of the athletes out here was brimming with pride and did England Athletics proud with their attitude when racing and throughout the weekend. This was a high-quality competition experience and one I am sure the athletes will have learned a great deal from.’