Half Marathon Champs Review & Champions of the Road Series Update

The 2019 England Athletics Half Marathon Championships took place last weekend at the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run. The race was part of our Champions of the Road series - the final race of which will take place this coming weekend.

Unfortunately a potential security risk in Birmingham involving a suspicious vehicle in the Cannon Hill area of the course meant the event organisers had no option other than to make some last minute changes to the course for the safety of everyone involved. The start of the race was delayed by some 15 minutes leaving the elite runners time to reassess their race strategies for the revised course and shortened race distance of 11.07 miles.

The race got underway, and by the 10k point a clear leader in both the men’s and women’s fields had emerged. Omar Ahmed (Birchfield Harriers/Ethiopia) had clearly set out with intent from the early stages of the race having already established a lead of over 90 seconds. Meanwhile, fellow Birchfield Harrier, Hayley Carruthers who will compete for England at the Frankfurt Marathon in just under two weeks’ time looked to be taking the last-minute course changes in her stride. Ahmed went on to more than double the extent of substantial lead in the second half of the race and the diminutive runner looked to be an athlete to watch for the future has he effortlessly crossed the line on the uphill finish in 52:18. Doug Musson (Notts AC) was the first English runner to cross the line in second place overall and a time of 55:33, followed by Will Mycroft (Enfield & Haringay) and Thomas Drabble (Stockport Harriers & AC). In the women’s race, Carruthers clocked 62:09 for just over 11 miles, establishing a lead of nearly a minute and a half on Tonbridge AC’s Lucy Reid, who finished in 63:34 and Laura Gent (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 65:54.

Whilst the results cannot be recognised as an official England Half Marathon Championships, the performances and positions of those individuals on the day will be recognised in the context of the wider Champions of the Road series, with individual and team scores carrying through.

The final race in the Champions of the Road series will take place this weekend at Portsmouth, over the 10-miles distance at the Simplyhealth Great South Run. Cambridge & Coleridge AC have already secured the team Champions of the Road title having heavily targeted the early races in the series. However, the individual series titles remain up for grabs and could all change at Portsmouth.

In the men’s series Jack Gray (Cambridge & Coleridge AC) currently leads the series having placed 4th at both the BM10k in April and the Ipswich Twilight 5k back in Spring, followed by a 2nd placing at the Preston 5 mile in August. Doug Musson, jumps to second after securing a 1st place at Birmingham. However, a number of athletes who have yet to secure their third scoring race in the series could well turn the tables at Portsmouth.

In the women’s race Sophie Cowper (Rotherham Harriers & AC) tops the tables, but as with the men’s race the Champions of the Road title is still very much open to those runners still looking to secure a good result at Portsmouth.

Series winners will be announced next week with the final scores published in our next edition of The Record.