The Great Eastern Run has attracted a huge pool of local talent
A field of impressive domestic depth has been assembled for Sunday’s Great Eastern Run (October 13).
With no clear favourites emerging from either the men’s or ladies line-ups an exciting morning’s racing seems guaranteed.
The reputation of the race and its attractiveness to top UK talent has been growing over recent years after a decision was made to stop hiring overseas athletes.
In 2018 the leading 17 runners went under the 70 minute mark, the most at any half marathon in the UK that year.
Stamford-based Aaron Scott is the fastest half marathoner on paper, with a best time of 1:05.50. The flying Scott clocked 1:06.25 when finishing 14th in the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday in atrocious weather conditions.
However, with an eye on the Frankfurt Marathon which is only two weeks away Scott plans to run at a controlled pace and not react if the race starts to go away from him.
“I won’t be going hard,” Scott said. “It’s the same situation as last year when I finished fifth. With Frankfurt two weeks away I want to go round at my marathon pace.” Cambridge & Coleridge AC’s Jon Escalante-Phillips should be there or thereabouts, and may well lower his personal best (PB) of 68:16 having clocked 50:09 in a 10-mile race in Ireland recently.
Irishman Conor Bradley is sure to be a contender and is in good form having run 13:56 in a 5km track race in Dublin during the summer. The Liverpool Harrier has a 67:31 half marathon under his belt which he ran in Cardiff 12 months ago.
Lincoln Wellington AC’s Tom Straw could also be one to watch.
Straw knows the course well having run his fastest half marathon of 1:10.08 on the streets of Peterborough in 2015.
Yaxley-based Michael Channing of Bedford and County AC ran 1:08.57 in the Great North Run in September and could be a surprise package, as could Dave Hudson of BRJ Huntingdon who clocked a 1:09.29 half marathon recently.
The ladies race is also wide open and Birchfield Harrier Chloe Richardson will fancy her chances having finished 11th in a time of 1:15.11 at the New York City Half Marathon in March this year.
Laura Wilkinson of Lincoln Wellington AC could be a surprise package. The 20-year-old has never raced further than 10km before, but did so in style this year with a 36:02 clocking in the Stirling 10k.
Georgina Schweining of Cambridge and Coleridge AC will be hoping to celebrate her second Peterborough win having finished first in a time of 75:24 in 2017.
Schweining could be well placed to repeat the achievement having finished third in a Spanish half marathon last Spring just 11 seconds outside her 2017 Peterborough time.
Peterborough Nene Valley AC speedster Chloe Finlay will be a favourite with the crowds.
Finlay has been making big strides forward over the last couple of years and lowered her 10km PB to 37:04 earlier this year. Despite having not raced for six months due to an overseas posting she feels that her summer training has gone well.
Local legend Philippa Taylor is carrying a niggle and will make a late decision on whether or not to run.
The popular 52-year-old Helpston Harrier is sure to be towards the front of the ladies field if she does race.
For the second year the half marathon will incorporate The Armed Forces Invitational Competition which this year has attracted teams from, the North of England, Midlands, Eastern Counties, Royal Air Force British Army and Northern Island & Ulster.
These regional teams are made up of the best male and female runners in the field within each of their selective regions or branches of the armed forces.