Tidy win for James McMurray in St Albans
St Albans Easter event was the first non-elite 10K race to go ahead post-lockdown and was supported by 540 runners
It certainly was a tidy victory for St Albans Strider's James McMurray in the Active Training World's St Albans Easter 10K on Good Friday (2 April). The local race favourite started running with St Albans AC in 2006 as an under-13 and has since progressed to a 29:53 PB for 10K with the Striders. On Friday he was clocked in a perfectly tidy 30:00 minutes wearing race bib #1.
Pete Robinson (Springfield Striders, 30:46 PB) and Jack Eykelbosch (Dacorum & Tring, 31:43 PB) occupied the podium, with both rewarded for their travels by personal best times. Under-17 prospect Ben Brown (Southampton) just missed sub-32 with 32:04 PB in fourth place – his previous best (32:15) was set on this course in August last year. Our image, courtesy ATW on Facebook shows the winner under some early pressure from the talented teenager from Southampton (wearing #8).
The women's race was equally swift, with the top five inside 38 minutes. W40 Jen Baird (London Frontrunners, 37:08) had just 12 seconds in hand after the wave starts had been unravelled by the wizards from Event Chip Timing. The leading quintet was completed by French W45 Carole Coulon (Blackheath & Bromley, 37:20 PB), W35 Heather Hann (St Albans Striders, 37:45 PB), W40 Helen Mussen (Watford Joggers, 37:48) and W45 Vikki Taylor (Finch Coasters, 37:51 PB).
The single-lap course started and finished in Highfield Park and utilised the flat, tree-lined disused railway line, now called Alban Way, towards Hatfield before a loop at Sleapshyde and returning on Alban Way. The route is mostly traffic-free, flat, and fast. There were 540 finishers in 1:22:51 and 334 of those were under 50 minutes.
Covid-secure measures dictated two race starts, at 09:00am and 10:15am, with the faster-seeded athletes going on the earlier gun. Waves of six athletes were set off 10-20 seconds apart and the post-race medal and water pick-up were self-service. ATW also implemented separate warm-up areas and colour-coded pre-start pens to more than comply with current guidance for coronavirus safety.
Of all the kudos on social media, Aisling Patterson (Harpenden Arrows, 45:48) spoke for many when she posted: “Thanks ATW for a brilliantly organised race, for all the marshals, the safety checks, and Covid measures put in place. BUT most of all thanks for putting a smile back on our faces! Soooo good to be back out there! Looking forward to more ATW events to come”.
Image: Active Training World