10 July 2016
On the morning of the final day of action, the European half marathon cup took centre stage at the picturesque museum square acting as the backdrop to the start and finish area. Callum Hawkins (coach: Robert Hawkins) and Gemma Steel (Rob Denmark) finished in the top ten of their respective races.
There was a fine performance from Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) who secured a solid ninth place finish in the senior men’s race at the inaugural competition. The Scottish athlete started well, settling into the top six after the opening 5km, going through in 14.26. He dropped down the 12th at the 10km mark but the Kilbarchan athlete ran a strong second half to the race, recording a time of 63.57.
Hawkins said afterwards: “I was feeling quite strong in the last 6km, but the middle part I just wasn’t feeling it. It started off a lot more aggressive than I thought, normally I like to come through, but I thought I’d try something different and try to put myself near a medal but it didn’t pay off.
“Racing in in a championship definitely helped pre-Rio, I’m going to Mallorca on Monday, so hopefully that will help me to get used to the heat. The temperature here was up what Rio is going to be, so coming from Scotland I don’t get much of a chance to run in that, so this has definitely helped.”
Matt Bond (Norman Poole), on his first European Championship appearance, was the next British athlete to cross the line in the city centre. After going through the 10km point in 12th place, he experienced a trickier second lap around the streets of Amsterdam, placing 42nd in 67:00.
Lee Merrien (Gavin Smith) was next home in 52nd, posting 67:29 with Jonny Hay (Mick Woods) 77th in 70:08. Unfortunately, Tsegai Tewelde (John MacKay) had to withdraw from the event due to illness. The men’s team finished outside the medal places in ninth position.
Steel was the leading British woman, placing tenth overall in 72.19. The Charnwood athlete was in seventh at the halfway point, working hard to stay with the chasing pack. She was pressured by fellow Briton Alyson Dixon (self-coached) in the next five kilometres as she dropped to 12th. However Steel, who is third on the UK all-time rankings, pushed up the field in the closing stages, grabbing a top ten finish on the European stage.
Steel said afterwards: “I found it was a bit hotter than I expected it to be. I put myself in contention in the first 5k and it went off a bit quicker than I expected it to. I hoped we would have done better as a team, but it just wasn’t quite there on the day. But it’s been a great experience and I came here to do my best and that’s what I’ve done”
Dixon, already selected for the marathon at the Olympic Games, showed her good form over the 13.1 mile distance, crossing the line in 13th in 72.47. It was a consistent run from the Sunderland Stroller athlete who will now continue her preparations for the 26.2 mile distance in Rio next month.
Dixon commented: “It was good practice for Rio; there were a lot of twists and turns so it was never going to be fast. The heat did start to get to me a bit, but you’re not going to get better conditions than that for preparing me ahead of Rio. Coming into this I didn’t know what shape I would be in, with such a short turnaround from London. I’m happy with what I’ve done today because obviously the big picture is five weeks today and the Olympics.”
Lily Partridge (self-coached) was the third British finisher in 51st, crossing the line in 1:16.57 after a difficult second half to the race after sitting in 23rd at the 10km check point. Tina Muir (Steve Picucci) was the fourth British finisher in 59th in 1:17.23. Unfortunately, Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau) did not finish. The women’s squad finished seventh in the team standings, with Portugal taking the gold after Sara Moreira won the individual title.
Full results from the European Championships can be found here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2016/schedules-results/
British Athletics medal tally at the 23rd European Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – Women’s 200m
Martyn Rooney – Men’s 400m
Greg Rutherford – Men’s Long Jump
Jazmin Sawyers – Women’s Long Jump
Anyika Onuora – Women’s 400m
Tiffany Porter – Women’s 100m Hurdles
Julian Reid – Men’s Triple Jump
Danny Talbot – Men’s 200m
Steph Twell – Women’s 5000m