England Masters Representation 10k Road Race results and report by Dot Kesterton

England Masters Representation 10k Road Race incorporated into A J Bell Great Birmingham 10k road race.

Race Date: Sunday 5th May 2024

A few Striders, notably Sarah Moss, Louise Rowley and me qualified for England Masters Representation at the AJ Bell Great Birmingham 10k road race in Leicester in early March so made the 80 mile trip to Birmingham last week to meet and run with other qualifiers. It should be the England v Wales Masters 10k but in the absence of any older Welsh athletes became a showcase for the English to compete against each other wearing the coveted national vest.

Going back to Brum fifty years since I lived and was educated there is a bit of a trip down memory lane. The canal, a filthy eyesore, the gas lit Birmingham Rep, and fume filled New Street have given way to delightful paths, pedestrian areas and a whole quarter of theatre, library, concert hall and fancy shopping malls. Despite facing economic ruin after the recent Commonwealth  Games Birmingham is a vibrant city although the Gravelly Hill Interchange threatened to spit me out in Walsall or Brownhills or somewhere else I really didn’t want to go.

Race day dawned warm and sunny in contrast to my all spring events. The hotel obligingly provided a generous breakfast early enough to fuel well before heading to Centenary Square, overlooked by the Golden Boys, Boulton, Watt and Murdoch with a Gormley peering in from the Town Hall. Team photo, warm up and endless toilet queue later and we were corralled like sardines in the starting pen waiting for the countdown to the start. At the signal we leaped into action and hared off in a tortuous, undulating route around the Jewellery Quarter where my Dad Frank was apprenticed in the 1930’s before joining the Fleet Air Arm to go to war, finishing somewhere near Digbeth and the Rotunda where twenty one people enjoying an evening out in local pubs in 1974 were killed by IRA bombs. My poor mum, Belfast born, was cruelly ostracised in the following months whilst six innocent Irishmen, the Birmingham Six, were incarcerated for sixteen years in a notorious miscarriage of justice.  Whilst running my race I was able to celebrate the best and remember the worst of my hometown.

I knew one or two W70 women were new to the age group so I had to keep my eyes peeled for those with fresher legs to outpace me. One such woman, Judy Orme set off at a good pace so to keep her in check I put in a daring burst in the first few kilometers before settling into my familiar stride using my Sheffield hill training to surge on the ups and recover on the descents. Thankfully I didn’t see her again after the first half though had to stay vigilant just in case.

The finish finally in sight I attempted a mini sprint and staggered across the mat in 46:55 chip as England 2024 W70 10k road champion. A great relief and a tribute to beloved parents who would have been proud of their girl in Birmingham that day.

Louise Rowley, Strider, making her debut for England achieved third place in 49:06, behind Judy Orme, 47:59. Congratulations to Louise for a superb run. Sarah Moss also ran a great race finishing 3rd W45 in 38:41. My apologies if I have missed other Striders who may have run.

The race winner was Stephen Blake, Aldershot Farnham & District AC in 31:16. First woman was Gemma Steel in 34:06.

Striders results:

Position Name Category Time
125 (3) Sarah Moss FV 45 38.41
399 (1) Dot Kesterton FV 70 46.55
526 (3) Louise Rowley FV 70 49.06

Full result are on: https://www.greatrun.org/results/1223/?search=

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