Race Report: Simplyhealth Great South Run & Champions of the Road finale

Last weekend’s Simplyhealth Great South Run once again produced fine performances and worthy England Champions over the 10-mile distance.

On the 10th anniversary of hosting the England Championship, it was perhaps fitting that some new champions emerged with Verity Ockenden (Swansea Harriers) taking the women’s title and Marc Scott (Richmond & Zetland Harriers) the men’s title.

A number of previous and multiple-time past champions were competing in the men’s race and posted highly respectable performances, Scott Overall (2010), Andy Vernon (2013) and multiple-times champion, Chris Thompson (2011, 2016, 2017 & 2018), but it was a younger generation of athletes who took the top spots in 2019.

Marc Scott, posted an impressive 46:50 in the breezy conditions gaining almost a thirty second lead over Ben Connor (Derby AC), only recently back from the IAAF World Championships in Doha and finishing in 47:16. Emile Cairess, who enjoyed a successful summer on the track with a bronze at the European U23s 10,000 metres emerged as the bronze medallist, smashing the British U23 10 miles record by nearly 20 seconds to finish in 47:32.

EA men 10M champions

The overall race winner in the women’s race was Scotland’s Eilish McColgan, only recently back from the World Championships in Doha. Showing no signs of fatigue from a successful World Championships, she went on to set a new Scottish 10-mile record of 51:38, breaking her mother Liz’s 18-year-old record. There was a battle between Wales’ Jenny Nesbitt and England’s Verity Ockenden for second place overall in the race with Ockenden getting the edge by 3 seconds, in a time 55:15. Second place in the England Champs and fourth overall was Holly Archer (Cambridge & Coleridge) in a time of 55:32, Archer has enjoyed a successful twelve months on the track at 1500 metres and above, and on the roads. Whilst GB marathon and ultra-runner, Alyson Dixon took bronze in 56:27, demonstrating that the 10 miles distance can be a great test for endurance runners across the range of distances.

EA women 10M champions

This year’s Great South Run also concluded the sixth race in the England Athletics Champions of the Road series, and Cambridge & Coleridge AC swept up on both the individual titles and the team title. Jack Gray succeeded in holding onto this lead and took the overall men’s titles having placed 4th at the BM10k in April, 4th at the Ipswich 5k in May and 2nd at the Preston 5 mile in August, securing a total of 293 points across the series. Doug Musson (Notts AC), pushed him for the title with his best placings from the series being 16th at the BM10k, 1st in the Great Birmingham Run and 11th in the Great South. Holly Archers’ fine run at the Great South also secured her win for the series with a score of 295 points, having placed 1st at Preston and 5th at the Ipswich 5k. The Cambridge & Coleridge AC team ethos clearly paid dividends and no doubt the efforts of coach Mark Vile played a significant part in their successes.

Champions of the Road winners

GSR photos by Mark Shearman