Chris Thompson (coach: Alan Storey; club; Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Lily Partridge (Alan Storey; Birchfield) claimed the Vitality Big Half titles and booked their places on the British team for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships later this month, while Jake Smith (James Thie; Cardiff) revised the British Under-23 half marathon record in the process.
Thompson took the race out hard from the start, laying down the gauntlet early on to Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), but the Ethiopian fought back to win the race, smashing the course record in 60:23 as he powered through the streets of London, taking more than a minute off Sir Mo Farah’s previous course record.
Thompson recorded a time of 61:07, a shade outside his personal best, of 61:00, to earn himself automatic selection for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships and the British title, holding his form well as the race wore on.
Smith took the British Championship silver medal in 62:00, which saw him revise his personal best and British U23 half marathon record by two seconds as he surged through the capital, getting his reward for an excellent run. Ross Millington (Steve Vernon; Stockport) rounded off auto-qualifiers as he crossed the line in fourth position, taking a bronze medal from a British perspective in 62:33.
In an entertaining senior women’s race, Samantha Harrison (Vince Wilson; Notts) and Partridge went toe-to-toe for the vast majority of the race, but it was the latter who kicked away in the closing stages to take her first British half marathon title.
Harrison took the race out hard in the early stages, opening up a large gap to Partridge, but Partridge continued to chip away at her lead and eventually clawed her back and produced a string final two miles to stop the clock in 70:50.
Harrison took second place overall after cutting the tape in 71:01, setting a new personal best by 43-seconds, with Stephanie Davis (Phillip Kissi; Clapham Chasers) following her home to take third spot in 71:15, a personal best by one minute and 42 seconds.
In the elite wheelchair races, David Weir (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy) and Shelly Woods (Pete Wyman; Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde) were crowned the British champions, but Canada’s Brent Lakatos stole the headlines as he revised Weir’s course record to take victory.
The Canadian put himself at the front of the field in the opening moments of the race and continued to push through the streets, extending his lead all the time, notching a time of 48:44 for victory, with Weir second in 50:07. JohnBoy Smith (self-coached) completed the podium positions, securing third place.
In the women’s race, it was all about Woods as she opened up her season with a 62:00 clocking for victory in the women’s elite wheelchair field, with Eden Rainbow-Cooper (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy second in 66:56, closely followed by Mel Nicholls (Job King; Coventry) in third position.