Last Sunday Ross and Jonny travelled to Schoorl, a Dutch village in North Holland for some fast racing, tough competition and hopefully a revision of their 10km PBs. After taking victory last year in 29:30 on the 10.2km course (it was re-measured following the race), Ross’s eyes were set on retaining his title and considerably improving his time from 2016 having been assured it would be exactly 10km this year! When the boys arrived in Schoorl, a short trip from Amsterdam, they could have easily mistaken the quaint village for a skiing resort. Pine trees and snow covering everything in sight. However, unlike in the UK when snow seems to bring everything to a halt, the Dutch have it sorted and there was no need to panic, within a few hours there were clear roads and an ideal racing surface!
Once again the Schoorl 10k was hosting the Dutch national 10km road racing championships, attracting many of the top athletes in the country. It is a great course with the 1st couple of kilometres running through the streets of the village before winding up in to the forests at the back of the beaches sandunes for some very picturesque running through the snow covered countryside. The course then gradually drops back in to the centre where the athletes are cheered on over the last kilometre or so by hundreds of locals lining the streets. The race day conditions were not perfect with a 15mph coming in from the West and the temperatures close to freezing, but it was a fast well sheltered course with great competition. All which showed with the fast times achieved.
The boys took it out early on and on reaching the top of the main climb just after 3km pushed the pace on further so only 3 athletes remained in the lead group; Ross and Jonny plus the eventual winner Abdi Nageeye the Somalian born Dutch athlete (11th at the Rio Olympic Marathon). It was a sprint for the line with Ross coming home in 2nd place in a new PB of 28:46 and first sub-29min clocking, only one second behind winner Nageeye. Jonny was not far behind finishing in 28:55, his second time under 29mins and taking 3rd and final place on the podium. The boys now top the 2017 10km road rankings by well over a minute!
Jamie Van Lieshout continued on her return back to racing finishing 6th in 33:58.
Back in the UK, Andy and Eli ventured across the Pennies to race at the British Indoors Championships over 3,000m in Sheffield. Andy had a brilliant run to gain his first National Championships medal and ran another PB of 7:57.00 coming home in 2nd place behind Lee Emanuel (European Indoor Silver medalist over 3,000m in 2015) who took victory in 7:55.8.
Eli’s race ended up being very tactical early on passing the first km in 3:16. The pace then gradually picked up until a ferocious last km of 2:50 with Eilish McColgan just pipping Steph Twell on the line for 1st place. Eli finished in 4th place and was disappointed with her tactics and positioning early on that resulted in her not being in the race for the medals at the end.
Next up for these two is the Muller Birmingham Grand Prix next Saturday! Andy is now in an automatic selection position for the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and will chase the qualifying time of 7:53.00 to hopefully book a place on the Great Britain Team.