Last month Milton Keynes once again played host to a great evening of 5000m racing, incorporating the English National Championships and there were a few Guildford & Godalming runners on hand to test themselves over 12.5 laps of the track.
In race number 9, George Dollner delivered another PB this year, taking 3 seconds off his (road) PB set in February at Armagh to dip under 15 minutes again, clocking 14:55 for 9th place.
Shortly after, Hannah Irwin lined up in the women's English 5000m Championship race with her sights firmly set on another PB.
Hannah had this to say on her race - “From the gun I was feeling strong and thought a PB could be in sight, but I wasn’t sure how I would feel as the race went on. With each lap I felt more confident I could stick with a good pace and push myself. By 5 laps to go I was closing in on the girl ahead and focusing on pushing as hard as I could all the way to the finish. I was aiming for 16:30, so to cross the line in 16:24 was a massive surprise. Qualifying for British Champs was never a goal I thought realistic, so I didn’t aim for it, now I wish I did aim for 16:20 to try and get qualification but I’m so chuffed to have PB’d and wouldn’t have changed anything!"
In the final race of the evening, John Sanderson was up in the men’s English 5000m Championship race, determined to deliver in what was a stacked field.
After a gripping final KM and incredibly close finish, John later shared his thoughts on the race - “My track season had been pretty mixed (at best) in the lead up to the race, plenty of OK runs, but nothing to write home about. I knew I was in good shape, but after a series of average races I think I was lacking a bit of confidence. This, coupled with the fact that this was my last good opportunity to run a British Championships qualifying time (sub 14:00) meant that I was feeling pretty nervous!
That said, I knew it was going to be a great race. There was a good field, with a lot of guys chasing similar times, quality pace makers and the conditions were perfect. My race tactic was to sit in and do as little as possible for as long as possible, making sure to cover any gaps that appeared (I had got caught out in a 1500 a week earlier and had been left isolated).
After the race settled down I found myself in a good group with eventual winner Ben Bradley, training partners Jake Shelley and Callan Moody and a few other guys. We went through 3k in about 8:25, a touch outside 14 minute pace. At this point it looked like the race itself (and the England medals) were already decided as Jack Gray, Adam Hickey and Mohammed Mohammed had built up a pretty big lead.
The group kept on working well together and with about 800 to go Ben started to pile on the pressure and move away from us. It was at this point that I realised that the front guys were starting to come back to us and suddenly I wasn’t thinking about time anymore, but whether I could get a medal!
The last 400, as always, was a bit of a blur. With 300 to go I moved into 3rd and from then on I was just trying to hold it together. My legs were starting to give way down the home straight and I had to (literally) throw myself across the line to hang on to the medal by 3 hundredths! And to top it all off, a new PB and British Champs qualifying time of 13:58. Job done!"
Congratulations to both John and Hannah who have since been invited to the British Championships at Birmingham later this month as a result of their performances in Milton Keynes.