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UK Athletics

Blog Spot: Punta Umbria 2011

Seb Coe

Race Day

User AvatarPosted by Site Administrator at 23/3/2011 10:36:54 AM

After two days of waiting, race day arrived and the mood at breakfast was a little more subdued than the previous two days as athletes contemplated the challenges ahead!

The Aviva GB & NI teams made their way down to the course separately, so that they were there in good time to prepare for their races, but not too long.

Warm temperatures coupled with the fierce pace from the outset, made for some exhausted athletes crossing the finish line. Luckily though, there were no major issues for the excellent medical team.

After making it out of the press centre to watch each start and finish first hand, it is fair to say that it really is the toughest race out there. All the races, but the junior men’s in particular, set off at what would normally be deemed suicidal pace, and there is no respite.

Each loop of the course was 2km and the fastest of all the laps on the day was by junior men’s winner Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor of Kenya, whose very first lap, log jumps and all, took just five minutes 22 seconds.

Predictably the East Africans dominated, but a bronze for Japan in the junior women’s team race was a popular result for the tsunami-hit country who have reportedly been forced to withdraw Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics.

The Brits performed very strongly on the whole, with the junior and senior women finishing fifth, the junior men tenth and the senior men fifteenth. As Athletics Weekly Editor Jason Henderson tweeted, the Aviva GB & NI team were ‘easily the number one team at Punta Umbria 2011’ and will come away with a valuable experience.

After the racing, it was back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest before the final banquet, which saw Derek Hawkins turning up in full race kit – a forfeit decided between the team for being the sixth British senior man... despite him being the youngest in the team!

UKA’s full report has a more in-depth round up and full results can be found on the IAAF website, but particular praise must go to Charlotte Purdue, 14th on her senior debut, and Emelia Gorecka who finished 15th in the junior race.

Check out the photo album on the official UKA Facebook Page and keep an eye on UKATV for videos with some of Britain’s top athletes in Punta Umbria.

Nick – Team Media, Aviva Great Britain and N.I.