RUNNING: SUE Harrison is hoping she has done enough to earn a place on the England team at the British 100km Road Running Championship later this year.
Four women have already been selected to represent England at the event in Patrington, near Hull, in May and a fifth place was left open for Harrison to prove her fitness.
The experienced Leamington runner found it difficult to find a suitable 50km race but she was given an opportunity to run that distance at the former airfield at Long Marston alongside Saturday’s marathon.
While the marathon runners completed eight laps plus an extra 2km of the 5km loop course, Harrison had to run 10 laps of the 5km course, with her target being three hours and 45 minutes. It was a challenge she gratefully accepted.
Harrison quickly went about her target of running 22.30 for each of the ten laps and she made a positive start, clocking 22.18 for her first lap and she continued to tick off each of the laps at a similar pace.
Going through the half-way point in 1:52.24, Harrison realised that she was right on target, but instead of maintaining her pace she decided to slowly lift it.
Harrison ran the last three 5km laps in 21.56, 22.00 and 21.20 to finished three minutes ahead of her target, stopping the clock at 3:42.13. En route to that time she had run the marathon distance in 3.09 before running the extra five miles for the 50km distance at a slightly faster pace.
A quick check showed that her time was the fastest run by a UK woman athlete in 2017 and places her top of the British rankings. She now looks set to represent England against Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at the British 100km Road Running Championship.
“I am extremely grateful to the Raceways Organisation for going out of their way to accommodate me,” said Harrison.
“The whole event was superbly organised and the volunteer marshalls were brilliant and helped make the run an enjoyable experience. I have advised the England selectors and now have to wait to see if they will give me the last place in the team.”