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Mary Wilkinson


04 June 2012

Comrades Marathon, SA  03 June 2012

Ellie Greenwood (Serpentine) ran a brave race to finish second at the 87 km (55 miles) Comrades ultra marathon on Sunday. In doing so she made the Russian Elena Nurgalieva, six times former winner, fight all the way. 2012 saw almost 12,000 runners finish inside the strict 12 hour cut off point.

Both Nurgalieva and Greenwood were content to shadow each other in the first half of the race which started at 5.30 am in Pietermaritzberg. They reached the half way point (43 km) at Drummond, together in three hours and seven minutes and it then seemed that Greenwood was pushing the pace as, continuing to run together right up to 70km (44miles) they actually increased the tempo. Just beyond here, the Russian, with the advantage of knowing the course well, put in a surge, which by 83 km, at the last checkpoint saw her leading by almost two and a half minutes. Nurgalieva maintained her form well and reached the finish in Durban in 6 hours 7 minutes and 12 seconds to claim an incredible seventh victory in this event and her third in a row.  The Scot rallied well though to close the gap in the final 10km finishing just over a minute behind in 6.08.23. The 33 year old from Dundee, but now living in Vancouver, has shown incredible consistency at a high level  since bursting on the ultra scene two years:

“It really was the most intense race I had ever run. Going shoulder to shoulder with Elena, for over 20km for the lead. Then lost it and have never run 25km on such shot quads and crampy calves, but there was no way I was losing my second place," she reflected soon after.

Both Nurgalieva and Greenwood ran negative splits for the race, both running almost six minutes faster for the second half. Indeed both their times were two of the quickest seen on the “down” run. (The course alternates each year)

By Comparison Jo Zakzrweski the 37 year old GP from Dumfries ran an incredibly even paced run to claim 4th place. Her half way split of 3 hours 16 minutes 28 seconds being less than a minute quicker than the second half of the course. The world 100 km silver medallist from 2011, had lost over a month of training earlier this spring with a foot problem. Speaking after the race she said,

 “I am totally over the moon. As I had been a little short on miles the last two months,   I thought on a good day I could sneak under 7 hours and make the top 10 so to make 4th spot in that time really exceeded my expectations. My original foot issue was never a problem in the race, although I do have a couple of nice blisters now!”

Ludwick Mamabolo was a popular men’s winner becoming the first South African to win the event since 2003 in  5.32.42.

Futher down the field Edinburgh’s John Sneddon, a member of Hunters Bog Trotters, completed his 20th Comrades event in 8 hours 58 minutes and 17 seconds.


Leading Women

1. Elena Nurgalieva  RUS     6-07-12

2. Elanor Greenwood GBR   6-08-24    Serpentine R.C.

3. Marina Zhalybina RUS     6-30-54

4. Joasia Zakrzewski GBR   6-33-41    Dumfries

11. Emma Gooderham GBR 7-01-00   Malvern Joggers  1st Vet Women 0/40

1st Karen Galpin Almost Athletes  8-09-25    1st Vet Women 0/50


37th Michael Wardian    6-03-42  

European Mountain Running Trial - Sedbergh 2nd June

Mary Wilkinson and Robbie Simpson won the trial races to book their places in the Aviva GB & NI team for the European Mountain Running Championships in Turkey on 7 July. The race was the second of the four-race McCain Mountain Running Challenge.

In the women’s two lap race Emma Clayton led up the first climb, closely followed by her Bingley Harriers team mate Mary Wilkinson, whose climbing strength has improved a result of the hours of cross training she put in when sidelined with a stress fracture earlier in the year.

Wilkinson took the lead on the descent only to be passed by Clayton again on the second climb. Clayton reached the summit of the second climb slightly ahead but, as she was later to say on Twitter, Wilkinson descended like a ‘machine’ to take the win by four seconds.

Both athletes are automatically selected with two further places to be decided by the selectors.

20-year old Scot Robbie Simpson (Deeside) showed remarkable pace judgement in the men’s three lap race to inflict a rare domestic defeat on the mountains on Steve Vernon (Stockport). For Simpson, bronze medallist in last year’s World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in the blue vest of Scotland, this will be his first GB senior vest.

Simpson was in sixth place at the end of the first lap behind Chris Smith (Thames Valley Harriers), Steve Vernon, Orlando Edwards (Shaftesbury Barnet), James McMullan (Thames Hare & Hounds) and Alun Vaughan (Eryri).

He slowly moved through the field, finishing the second lap in third place behind Vernon, who had a clear lead, and Smith. At the summit of the final climb Vernon was still leading with Simpson second and Smith third but Simpson pulled clear on the descent to win by 12 seconds from Vernon. Both athletes are automatically selected with two further places to be decided by the selectors.

In the U20 race, 15 year old Annabel Mason (Wakefield) was an emphatic winner of the one lap race, ahead of Mel Hyder (Helm Hill), Laura Riches (Leigh) and Lucy Crookes (Leeds University).

The U20 men ran the two-lap race with the senior women. Joe Johnston (Rossendale) and Peter Harrison (Border) booked the two automatic slots with Max Wharton (Calder Valley) and Nathan Jones (Colwyn Bay) having to wait for the selectors’ decision.

Vernon and Walshaw now lead the McCain Mountain Running Challenge, the next event being the World Championships trial races on Sunday 5th August, at Glenridding, Cumbria.


Senior Women (7.6km, 470m climb + descent)

1 Mary Wilkinson (Bingley) 35.58

2 Emma Clayton (Bingley) 36.02

3 Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth) 36.27

4 Sarah O'Neill (HBT) 36.45

5 Catriona Buchanan (Ochil) 37.45

6 Anna Lupton (Radcliffe) 38.21

7 Holly Page (Calder Valley) 38.47

8 Dionne Allen (Leigh) 38.57

9 Clare Pearson (Skipton)39.29

10 Christina Rankin (Kilbarchan) 41.37

Senior Men (11.4km, 705m climb + descent)

1 Robbie Simpson (Deeside) 47.13

2 Steve Vernon (Stockport) 47.25

3 Chris Smith (TVH) 47.41

4 Orlando Edwards (SBH) 47.56

5 James McMullan (THH) 48.13

6 Gareth Raven (Sale) 48.16

7 Alun Vaughan (Eryri) 48.54

8 Mark Addison (Helm Hill) 49.02

9 Adam Osbourne (Leeds City) 49.08

10 Simon Bailey (Mercia) 49.35

11 Gary Priestley (Salford) 49.47

20 James Scott Buccleuch (Stockport) 55.11 Junior Women (3.8km, 235m climb + descent)


1 Annabel Mason (Wakefield) 17.12

2 Melanie Hyder (Helm Hill) 18.02

3 Laura Riches (Leigh) 18.51

4 Lucy Crookes (Leeds University) 19.04

5 Scout Adkin (Moorfoot) 19.54

6 Clara Evans (Hereford) 20.17

7 Caroline Lambert (Wetherby) 20.23

8 Louise Mercer (Gala) 20.31

9 Sarah Livett (Menai) 20.32

10 Sally Ratcliffe (Stockport) 20.49


Junior Men (7.6km, 470m climb + descent)

1 Joe Johnston (Rossendale) 33.48

2 Peter Harrison (Border) 33.55

3 Max Wharton (Calder Valley) 34.09

4 Nathan Jones (Colwyn Bay) 34.15

5 Andrew Lawler (Law and District) 34.40

6 Alastair Weymouth (Border) 34.50

7 William Jackson (Helm Hill) 34.59

8 Jack Ross (Staffs Moorlands) 35.05

9 Gwynant Lewis Jones (Maldwyn) 35.27

10 Joseph Crossfield (Halifax) 35.49

11 James Hall (Wharfedale) 35.56

12 Lloyd Heckler (Carmarthen) 37.17 

English Closed Championships, Birmingham June 2/3  - additional results

Eighteen year-old Edmond Amaning (coach: John Powell) won the 200m in a PB 21.3/0.2 after a 21.33 to put him fifth in the McCain Power of Ten Under 20 rankings.

The biggest breakthrough came from Oliver Newport (John Shepherd) in the long jump. The 17-year-old who had a PB of 7.19, first jumped 7.32m/0.6 in qualifying and then 7.70 in the final to surpass the world junior standard of 7.55m and go top of the Under 20 rankings.

James Bedford (Dave Smith) was close to his PB in winning the hammer with 70.13m.

results: http://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=62739

Walnut June 3

Carl Myerscough (self-coached) was second in the shot with 20.12m to better the Olympic B standard of 20.00 and go top of the rankings.

results: http://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=67319