15th April 2018
HOME NATIONS CONCLUDE ATHLETICS PROGRAMME WITH FOUR MARATHON MEDALS
Robbie Simpson (self-coached), John Smith (Jenny Archer), Simon Lawson & Jade Jones (both Ian Thompson) secured the home nations’ final medals on the last day of athletics action at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the men’s T54 marathon, Smith and Lawson were in medal contention throughout and when Smith made a break for it with just over a kilometre to go, he held off Lawson and Canada’s Tristan Smyth to take silver in a season’s best 1:31:44.
Lawson followed him over the line in the same time, with fellow team England athlete Callum Hall (Thompson) crossing in seventh in 1:37:36 at his debut Commonwealth Games.
In an incredibly close women’s T54 marathon, Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) and Jones were in medal contention throughout the race, with the latter producing a fine late surge, good enough for bronze in 1:44:20.
Kinghorn, who narrowly missed out on a bronze in the women’s T54 1500m, fell agonisingly short once again, finishing fourth in 145:02, with Nicole Emerson (Thompson) finishing sixth in 1:50:13, a new season’s best.
Simpson fought back in the closing stages to take a well earned bronze medal in the men’s marathon, with Northern Ireland’s Kevin Seaward (Andrew Hobdell) one place back in fourth. Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) fell with two kilometres to go after leading for much of the race and did not complete the event.
After taking his silver medal in the T54 men’s marathon, Smith said: “Kurt went off straight from the front so it was essentially a three-man race all along. It was a really good race; everyone pushed hard. But I’ve never competed in conditions like this.
“I’ve competed all around the world and I’ve never been so hot, it was intense so it made it hard. I don’t know if I made it look easy but I found it tough.
“Simon is a good friend of mine; we’ve know each other for a while so I’m pleased he also won a medal. We are 50/50 in terms of rankings and times. But I’ve been working on my weaknesses; my sprint finish, breaks, turns, flat straights.
“I’ve worked hard with my team to do everything to give me the best chance. I’ve put in 1400 miles since last July so I’ve put everything into that 26 miles to come away with a result so I’m very happy with the silver medal.”
After winning bronze in the women’s race, adding to her triathlon medal earlier in the programme, Jones added: “I knew I could do well in the triathlon and that was where all my training was focused towards.
“I didn’t think I could win, but I knew I could do well. To come way with the gold in that and then the bronze here is just amazing. It was easily the best marathon I’ve ever done in my life. I think it was actually a personal best as well, so I’m really happy with it.”
In the men’s elite marathon, Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) appeared on course for a medal, only to take a nasty fall a mile and a half from the finish. He did not complete the race.
Following Simpson (2:19:36) and Seaward (2:19:54) home was Guernsey’s Lee Merrien (self-coached), who was eighth in 2:24:10.
Welsh duo Andy Davies (Steve Vernon) and Josh Griffiths (self-coached) were 11th and 15th in 2:26:05 and 2:37:10 respectively.
For the women, Sonia Samuels (self-coached) was the highest placed finisher in 5th with countrywoman Alyson Dixon (self-coached) one place further back, the Team England athletes recording times of
Wales’ Caryl Jones (Alan Storey) and Eli Kirk (Steve Vernon) finished in 2:43:58 and 2:57:01 good enough for eighth and 15th positions respectively.