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UK Athletics

Farah and Reed records over festive season

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Kate Reed
European cross country champion Mo Farah rounded off an outstanding 2006 when equalling Rob Denmark's British 5,000 metres road running record in Stranorlar, Ireland, on Boxing Day.


Farah flew to victory in a time of 13minutes 29.68seconds which was rounded-up to 13min 30sec matching the performance which Denmark a former Commonwealth 5000m gold medallist, also achieved on Irish soil in Dublin 10 years ago.


The 23-year-old made his intentions clear from the start with an opening kilometre split of 2min 37sec, before powering away for a solo victory, eventually winning by over 90 seconds from University of Southern Illinois student Joe Byrne. 


"I didn't know I was on record pace although with three kilometres remaining I knew I was running at sub-14min pace," said Farah, throughly enjoying support from a vocal Irish crowd. 


Farah apart from his Euro medal winning achievements, now ends the 2006 season as the fastest British athlete at 3000m, 5000m, 5k road and 10k road. 

Meanwhile, Kate Reed, who has helped Norwich Union GB win medals at the last two European Cross Country Championships, warmed up for the Belfast International leg of the UK Cross Challenge on Saturday week by claiming a national 4-mile record.


The 24-year-old clocked 20 minutes 15 seconds in a road race at Clevedon near her west country home to knock 15 seconds off the previous best, which she set when winning the same race in 2003.


The only British woman to have a faster time for the distance is Paula Radcliffe, who was timed at 19:51 through the 4-mile marker on her way to setting a 5-mile record of 24:47 at Balmoral in 1999.


Reed will be aiming to lead home the UK women for the second successive year at Belfast’s big cross country meeting on 6 January – the day Radcliffe is due to give birth to her first child.


In the Ribble Valley 10k, Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers) used New Years Eve to post a last minute 10k time which took her to 5th on the 2006 Power of 10 rankings with 32.32 - Jenny Blizard (Rotheram Harriers) was second in 34.08 and Vicky Gill (Chorley Harriers) third in 34.14. In the men’s race Stuart Stokes (Sale Harriers) showed a return to form with 30.13 over Ben Fish (Blackburn) with 30.18.


Finally, in the New Years Honours list, recipients from the world of athletics include honours awarded to Jim Alder (Morpeth Harriers), for services to Sport in the North East, Roger Ingham (Skipton AC) for services to sport in North Yorkshire and  Dr David Davies - for services to Welsh Athletics, in particular Carmarthen Harriers AC.