10th March 2019
FARAH AND PURDUE WIN AGAIN IN LONDON
In a repeat of last year Sir Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles; Gary Lough) and Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot Farnham & District; Nic Bideau) claimed victory at the Big Half in London today and in the process the British half marathon titles once again.
Farah ensured his opening race of 2019 ended in trademark fashion as he won a sprint finish amid blustery conditions with Bashir Abdi of Belgium and Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru on the streets of Greenwich, taking the tape in 61:15.
In contrast Melbourne-based Purdue broke away from Steph Twell (Aldershot Farnham & District; Geoff Wightman in the latter stages to run unopposed and clock 70:38 to claim her second Big Half title and second successive British title with a determined effort.
Farah, who will now return to train in Ethiopia ahead of the London Marathon next month, said: “Conditions were tough, very windy, rainy but I got the job done, came first and it is a nice stepping stone to the London Marathon.
“Training has gone well, early on in the race I felt sluggish, had a little bit of cramp but I got through it. I dug in deep and got through it, I didn’t feel like I was tired or knackered, which is a good sign.”
Purdue’s win comes just over a month after she broke the 70-minute barrier for the half marathon in Japan and she’ll now also move onto the London Marathon. She said: “It was really windy. I got back from Australia on Thursday morning so a bit of a shock to the system but I am feeling good for the London Marathon after another win.
“It was really tough out there, I was alone for a lot of the race as well. I was trying to catch a group of men to tuck in but I was pretty much alone and the wind was really strong. I knew it wasn’t going to be a really quick day, I just followed my own race plan and went off at my own pace. I like to finish strong, instead of going off hard and not finishing as strong, I always run that way and it always works for me.”
Finishing almost exactly two minutes behind Farah for British Championship silver was Dewi Griffiths (Swansea; Kevin Evans) in 63:17 while Chris Thompson (Aldershot Farnham & District) completed the top three with bronze in 63:41.
Just ten seconds outside his personal best, Derek Rae (Fife, Ron Morrison) continued his preparations for the World Para Athletics Marathon Cup at the London Marathon in perfect style. Despite the challenging conditions, he posted a time of 69:35, narrowly outside his previous best from the 2018 Great Scottish Half Marathon.
In the women’s race, Twell would comfortably take second and British silver behind Purdue while Charlotte Arter (Cardiff; Chris Jones), who herself broke the 70-minute barrier in Barcelona a month ago, claimed third and British bronze.
David Weir (Weir Archer Academy; Jenny Archer) was the first winner on the day winning the elite men’s wheelchair race in 51:11 ahead of Simon Lawson (Carlisle Tri; Ian Thompson) and Johnboy Smith (Weir Archer Academy; Archer) while fellow Brit Mel Nicholls (Coventry; Job King) finished second in the women’s race behind Margriet van den Broek of the Netherlands.
Weir said: “I haven’t raced since November and I’ve had a tough winter but I feel like I am getting there and ready for the London Marathon next month. I feel good, you are always a bit anxious ahead of your first race, seeing what your fitness is like and how well training has gone but the last couple of weeks my training has gone up another level and that is when I know I am starting to get back to myself.”
Full results from the race can be found here.