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UK Athletics

Bristol Half Marathon elite entries – updated

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Three of the current top four men in the UK rankings for the distance are among the elite entries for the Reebok Bristol Half Marathon, which incorporates the UK Half Marathon Championships and the official trials for places in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at this year’s World Road Running Championships.


The immensely popular West Country event – flat and fast scene of the 2001 World Half Marathon Championships won by Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie – is not until Sunday 9 September. But it is already firmly in the plans of several athletes who have raced on the roads for Norwich Union GB&NI and many more on the fringe of selection.


Tomas Abyu (Salford Harriers), who ran last summer’s European Championships marathon and is second in this year’s UK half marathon rankings with 64:24, has decided his key autumn target is to qualify for the World Road Running Championships, to be run in Udine, Italy, on 14 October.


And so have Mark Miles (Belgrave Harriers) and Huw Lobb (Bedford and County AC), who rank third and fourth on the basis of their respective times, 64:29 and 64:43, at last month’s Reading Half Marathon. The only man above them in the UK rankings, Dan Robinson (Stroud AC) is in the Norwich Union GB team for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.


Joining the trio in the Bristol entry are Dave Anderson (Belgrave Harriers), the AAA and UK Inter-Counties Half Marathon Champion of 2004; USA-based Michael Green (Blackburn Harriers), who ran 65:25 in Tennessee last month; Stephen Hepples (Newham and Essex Beagles), who leads the UK 10 mile rankings for this year with 49:22 at Pocklington, Yorkshire, in February; Kevin Heywood (Bristol and West AC), who aims to take in his home city race on the way to an autumn marathon; Dave Mitchinson (Newham and Essex Beagles), who will be aiming at his half marathon best of 64:22, run at Bath in 2005; and two of the Norwich Union GB&NI team at this year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kenya, Ben Noad (Highgate Harriers) and Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers).


The women’s entries include Alice Braham (Harrow AC), who clocked 73:25 at Reading last month; Birhan Dagne (Belgrave Harriers), who has been in or close to GB teams since she arrived from Ethiopia a decade ago; Holly May (City of Bath AC), who ran 75:32 in Barcelona in February; cross country international Gemma Phillips (Kendal AC), moving up to the distance now that she is among the fastest five UK 10km runners on the roads; the fastest of them all this year, Michelle Ross-Cope (City of Stoke AC), who won the Wilmslow Half in 72:43 last month; and Mary Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers), who is fired-up by the three weeks she recently spent training in Ethiopia.


The “open” race has already reached its limit of 15,000 but there is still room for more ‘elite’ athletes – men with a best under 66:30 or women with a best under 76:30. Please go to http://www.bristolhalfmarathon.com/enter/


UK Athletics will announce the selection criteria for the World Road Running Championships within the next few weeks.