EMACNS Alicante – Report for Days Two and Three

The sun continued to shine on Saturday morning as the Cross Country relay teams made their way to the San Juan region, about six mile east of the town centre marina, where the walking events had taken place.

Situated close to the stunning golden Mediterranean beaches, this was the same area that hosted the start of the 10km road race the evening before. It was not ideal having the walking events and running events so far apart, which just made it feel like two entirely separate events were taking place. It also caused huge problems on Friday night as athletes finished the 10km race to be told that the medal presentations would now take place near the marina, in an hour’s time. The tram ride was 40 minutes duration with a good walk either side and there were no taxis anywhere to be seen. Surely a courtesy bus would have made more sense. Of course this meant that many of the medal presentations on Friday night had empty spaces on the rostrum.

Thankfully on Saturday they seemed more organised with plenty of time between the events concluding and the medal ceremonies. More people were in attendance at the presentations and the enthusiastic Swiss cow bell ringers added to the atmosphere.

The 2km course weaved it’s way through numerous palm trees and over a number of different surfaces, including grass, gravel and sand. Whilst the trees gave some cover from the sun, you needed to be aware of low branches overhead and exposed roots and kerb stones underfoot. Once again the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team found this to be a hugely successful event.

First up were the Men over 55 running one lap each. Paul Fletcher, Grant Matheson and Tevor Rayner ran well to take Bronze in a really competitive field. The M65 category saw the Great Britain and Northern Ireland trio of Desmond Michael, Michael Mann and Terry Eakin win Gold, exactly two minutes ahead of Switzerland. The M70 team also won Gold with Mick Casey, David Beattie and Norman Baillie as runners. It was silver for the M75 team of Phil Brennan, Arthur Kimber and Anthony Brackstone.

Next up were the women, who also ran 2km each. The W40 team of Sarah Metz, Helen Brown and Carol Lowes won bronze as did the W45 team of Lynne Champion, Denise Johnson and Tracey Gibson. It was Gold for the W55 team of Jane Pidgeon, Susan McDonald and Karen Rushton. The W55 team won Bronze with runners Fiona Matheson, Lynne Marr and Fiona Bishop and the W65 and W70 teams both won silver. Rosalind Tabor, Barbara Ockendon and Susan James (W65) and Pauline Rich, Patricia Cummins and Anglea Copson (W70).

The third race was for M35 to M50. Two laps of 2km each. The M35 team of Tony MacDowall, Tony Golabek and Gary Gregory won a highly competitive race against the Ireland team for bronze, taking it by just four seconds.

The M40 team secured bronze behind Spain and Germany with Kelvin Lowes and two M50 athletes, Peter Costley and Paul Smith. The M50 team also won bronze through Roger Alsop, David Smith and Philip Leybourne.

In the early evening it was back to the marina for the 20km and 30km walks. The picturesque course was in a horseshoe shape around the harbour which is also adjacent to the main shopping and restaurant area, making it ideal for spectators.

Helen Middleton won silver in the W55 category and Catherine Duhig secured bronze in W60. It was gold for Noel Blatchford in W70. In the team events Helen Middleton, Melanie Peddle and Angela Martin won silver in W45. It was gold for the W60 team of Catherine Duhig, Ann Wheeler and Noel Blatchford.

It was gold for Malcolm Martin and Ian Richards in M60 and M70 respectively. Roger Michell added bronze in the M70 category. The M70 team Ian Richards, Hardeep Minhas and Roger Michell won gold.

On Sunday morning it was the final event of the championships, the half marathon. Roads were closed for competitors to make their way around the 13.1 mile course which passed by many of top the local tourist attractions.

The ladies were much more successful over the distance with Angela Copson winning gold (W70), Jo Coates (W40) silver, Charlene Jacobs-Conradie (W35) and Rosalind Tabor (W65) taking bronze. Jo Coates, Charlene Jacobs-Conradie and Catherine Charlton also added the W35 team silver. Likewise Karen Rushton, Susan McDonald and Fiona Price won team W55 silver. Angela Copson, Rosalind Tabor and June Johnson also won team silver W65.

Individual medals were in short supply for male GB athletes with only Phil Brennan (M70) winning bronze for the men. In the team events there was a silver for M65 trio of Desmond Michael, Nick Kernahan and Michael Mann and bronze for the M70 team of Mick Casey, Kenneth Black and Trevor Edgley.