Top tens feature this weekend
Ten miles could be the perfect stepping stone
The fixture list has started to resemble normality with traditional races appearing in their usual positions in the calendar. This Sunday (23 January) there are two fine examples of the once widespread 10-mile road race, long since supplanted in popularity by the 10K and half marathon distances.
However, the 10-milers should not be dismissed as an archaic event as they can provide the perfect stepping stone for 5K/10K runners who wish to progress to half/full marathons. Indeed, 10 miles takes a lot of stamina and concentration for most people, who will be at full gas for well over an hour.
Let's take a look at these two opportunities to try the classic distance on Sunday. The Fred Hughes 10 has been organised by St Albans Striders since 1986. The race is held on the rolling country lanes of the Bedmond district of St Albans, Hertfordshire, and race HQ is at St Columba's College, King Harry Lane.
There is an entry limit of 1,000 and the last race in 2020 had 922 finishers in 2:32:28. The race winners were Alex Bampton (Highgate Harriers, 52:36) and Hannah Oldroyd (Ribble Valley Harriers, 1:01:37). There were 22 runners inside 60 minutes and the race usually hosts the Hertfordshire County Championships.
The Pentland Homes Canterbury 10 was held last year but had moved temporarily to August due to the coronavirus pandemic. On that unusual occasion, there were 402 finishers in 2:28:31 and the top prizes went to Charlie Brisley (Newham & Essex Beagles, 51:19) and Helen Gaunt (Tonbridge AC, 1:04:36). Just 13 athletes beat the hour on the undulating course that starts and finishes just off the historic Pilgrims Way, Canterbury.
The normal attendance at Canterbury 10 is around 1,500 and the host venue is the well-appointed Christ Church University Sports Centre. Invicta East Kent AC are the long-term race organisers. The course has a wicked climb between seven and eight miles but still produces fast times with its welcome downhill finish.
It will be interesting to see how these two old stagers fare in the (almost) post-Covid era and runABC South will be first with the results, as always.
Image by Renalt Smith for Canterbury 10