Mansfield Harriers battle bad weather to star in Armagh Road Races

Mansfield Harriers were well represented at the Armagh International Road Races, which are held every year on the second Thursday in February and have a reputation for being one of the best road races in the world for quality, writes Richard Massey.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This year the event had teams from 14 Countries and Mansfield had three men in the 5K race and two in the ladies 3K race.

The athletes were faced with a cold, wet and windy night.

However, the men's 5K provided an extraordinary race where, in spite of the weather, 130 men broke the 15 minute barrier.

Paige Roadley and Alex Hampson after their races in Armagh.Paige Roadley and Alex Hampson after their races in Armagh.
Paige Roadley and Alex Hampson after their races in Armagh.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alex Hampson continues to make significant progress, and after breaking 30 minutes for 10K at Telford in December and a recent good block of training was looking to break his personal best of 14.30.

Although the weather was inclement, he went out with a strong group of athletes and a storming last lap saw him come home in 14.23 with the belief he has more to come with better conditions.

In the middle of heavy mileage from his London Marathon training, Kris Watson is currently very strong but has sacrificed some of his top end speed and, using the race as an indicator for London, was pleased with his 15.39.

Jan Bailey made up the trio and battled round to 16.07, as he struggled with a very recently caught cold.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paige Roadley has had a phenomenal 12 months with significant progress over a wide range of distances and the Armagh 3K was another benchmark in her development.

Last year in much better conditions she recorded 11.22 and went into the race hoping to get close to 11 minutes.

A superbly paced run saw her dip under the 11 with a terrific 24 second PB of 10.58.

Claire Watson went into the race with very little preparation due to a string of recent injuries but showed real character, recording a very promising 12.34.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Athletes looking for a spring marathon will often use the challenging Stamford 30K as an indicator to see how the training is going.

Five Mansfield athletes put in impressive performances with Jonny Lowe 43rd plus and first M60 in 2.02.41, James Mee 55th in 2.05.14, Mark Connell 61st in 2.06.34, Chris Dale 83rd in 2.09.17 and Holly Colton 389th in 2.50.04 out of the 627 finishers.

Neil Kennedy has put in some remarkable performances recently over a range of distances and last weekend raced the Tour of Bradwell.

The challenging event measured a fraction over 30K with over one thousand metres of elevation with Neil recording three hours and 26 minutes for the event.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Stef Wilcockson is another Mansfield athlete who is competing at Torun in Poland next Month in the European Masters Indoor Championships and will go into the event in fantastic shape.

Racing at the Loughborough Indoor Open meeting, Stef recorded a personal best of 8.79 seconds for the 60m Hurdles.

At the same event Scarlett Jane recorded a new best time of 8.40 for 60m and Sophie Peet recorded new best in the Shot with 8.51m and 4.16 for Long Jump.

Ben Lowe competed in the High Jump and came away with a 1.68m clearance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On the same weekend at the Run Jump Throw meeting at Sheffield Ben recorded a 200 personal best of 24.33 and Emma Nowak put in an impressive sprint double with times of 8.44 for 60 and 28.63 for the 200m.

Related topics: