Women shine in Eastleigh 10k – off island results. Images (Southampton Echo & Vanessa Rodrigues)
Sarah Mercier became the first Guernsey woman to run below 35 minutes for 10k with a great performance to place third woman in the Eastleigh 10k whilst in Reading Carl Holden made a significant improvement to his half marathon best to run 74 minutes 37 seconds, just outside the island games ‘A’ Standard of 74:20.
The current strength of women’s endurance running was underlined by their team win in the Eastleigh event. Though outside her best Louise Perrio ran a good race to clock 35:39 and place 6th woman. Jenny James took 2 minutes off her previous best to place 13th woman whilst Laura McCarthy made a near 3 minute improvement for 18th in 39:34. Though not counting within the team quartet Vanessa Rodrigues, a relative newcomer, also made a significant improvement to place 29th of over 600 women starters in a time of 41minutes 28 seconds.
Mercier made a reserved start and went through 5k in 17:30, just 12 seconds ahead of Perrio, but sped up over the second half to run a negative split and close with a 17:15 5k split and a 34:45 finishing time. For the second week in succession she was involved in a sprint finish with Sophie Cowper but it was the Rotherham runner that got the better to finish just seconds clear and turn round the Inter-Counties XC result.
Reflecting on her own run Perrio was positive. “I’m almost there, I just feel I have a little more to find” she said. She is likely to run the 10,000m in Gotland’s island games having won gold in 2009 and 2011. Significantly her time was well inside the current island games record. Mercier, dubbed ‘The Mercinator’ by her colleagues, said of her run “I could hear by their breathing that the women around had made a big effort in the opening stages but after closing them down she (Sophie Cowper) sprinted early and I just could not get her back.”
Another runner targeting Gotland is Jenny James and after being helped through the first 5k in 19:30 alongside Dan Galpin she, like Mercier, ran 15 seconds quicker over the second half of the relatively flat Eastleigh route. With 400m to go she had the 38:35 island games ‘A’ standard in her sights but faltered slightly in the final 200m to finish just 9 seconds outside her target. However with an ‘A’ standard over 5k and ‘Development’ B standards over 10k and half marathon the improving mother of three increasingly looks a likely Gotland selection.
Whilst the Women’s side of the FNB Endurance squad had a great weekend the men perhaps did not fare quite as hoped. David Emery went off at a good pace and passed through 5k in just outside 16:30, but faded over the closing stages to finish 31st overall in 33:45. Withdrawals from Jason James and Ed Mason weakened the team significantly. It was a breakthrough endurance performance for 800m specialist Richard Bartram though as he posted 34:56, which suggests he may feature in the selectors minds over both 800m and 1500m come May’s island games selection date.
Hendy-Ford Eastleigh 10k Results (chip times)
David Emery 33:45
Sarah Mercier 34:45 Gsy Wmns Record, 3rd Woman
Richard Bartram 34:56 PB
Tristan Robilliard 35:06
Louise Perrio 35:39 6th woman
James De Garis 35:57
Jamie Ingrouille 37:10
Warwick Helps 37:49 PB
Dan Galpin 38:37 (pace)
Jenny James 38:44 PB 13th W, 3rd W35
Laura McCarthy 39:34 PB, 18th W
Vanessa Rodrigues 41:28 PB, 29th W
Michael Way 43:12
Laura Quayle 46:58
Darren Lewin 46:57
Reading Half Marathon
Carl Holden 74:37
Gemma Le Sauvage 2:03:48