03 September 2009
Local athlete Claire Hallissey (Bristol & West) will lead the women’s field at the Bristol Half Marathon, incorporating the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Trials and the UK Championships on 6 September.
The outcome of the trials will determine which athletes will compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the IAAF World Half Marathon in Birmingham on Sunday 11 October.
Hallissey, who clocked a lifetime best of 73.17 when winning the Newark Half Marathon on August 9th, has had an outstanding season, clocking personal best performances over 3000m (9:39.1); 5000m (16:24.27); 10000m (33:10.73); 5k (16:16); 5miles (28:02); 10k (33:56), and most recently the half marathon distance.
She was part of the Aviva GB & NI silver medal winning team in June’s European Cup 10,000m in Madeira, finishing ninth overall in 33:17.13 – a personal best at the time. She went on to better that with a fifth place finish as the first Briton home in the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships a month later (33:10.73).
Hallissey’s time of 73.17 is inside the women’s 74:00 selection standard for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham on 11th October and ranks her fourth in the UK for 2009 to date.
Of those who have run faster, only Michelle Ross-Cope (72:35, March 2009) will start in Bristol, although the City of Stoke athlete, who represented GB & NI in last year’s World Half Championships in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), has only recently returned to competitive action after missing most of the summer due to injury.
She finished fourth when the Trials were last held in Bristol two years ago.
A number of athletes will compete for the required mark, including Rebecca Robinson (Kendal), Holly Rush (Team Bath) and Susie Bush (Aldershot, Farnham & District), while Jo Wilkinson (Bedford & County), without the standard in 2009, has the time from 2008.
The men’s race and subsequent selection is wide open, with a number of athletes expected to compete elsewhere on the road, trying to show form ahead of Monday’s selection meeting.
Phil Wicks (Belgrave), the top ranked UK senior over the half marathon distance for 2009 to date with 62:51 and first Briton home in the Trial event two years ago, falls into that category, as does fourth ranked Andi Jones (Salford Harriers) with 64:22, the top British finisher in this year’s Flora London Marathon.
The men’s guideline standard is set at 65:30, a mark smashed by US-based Scot Andrew Lemoncello (Fife AC) when clocking 61:52 at the Austin Half Marathon (overall downhill gradient) in January. He will race over the half marathon distance at Virginia Beach this weekend with selection in mind.
Of those who will compete in Bristol, Ben Whitby (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) with 63:43 and Mark Miles (Belgrave) with 64:11, second and third respectively in the UK for 2009 to date behind Wicks, head the field. Also in contention is Salford’s Tomas Abyu, although he has struggled to re-capture the form he showed when clocking a lifetime best half marathon time of 62:50 in 2007.
Winchester duo Tom Payn, the defending champion, and Toby Lambert, runner up on that occasion, will also be in the mix.
The first two eligible UK senior male and female athletes - providing they have achieved the guideline standard - will be automatically selected for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham on 11 October.
All performances will be considered within the qualifying period 1 October 2008 to 6 September 2009, although any athlete who achieved the relevant guideline standard prior to 2 June 2009 is required to show current form over an appropriate distance from that date through to the Bristol trial this Sunday 6 September.