Vitality London Big Half
11/03/2019 00:00, I Mewn Road /
Dewi Griffiths and Charlotte Arter produced encouraging performances despite very strong winds at the Vitality Big Half in London on Sunday.
Griffiths (Swansea Harriers, Kevin Evans) was fourth overall and took silver in the incorporated British half-marathon championships behind Mo Farah, his time of 63:17 proving solid under such conditions and on the twisty course. Arter (Cardiff AC, Chris Jones) was fourth in 71:44 behind winner Charlotte Purdue, following up her recent PB in Barcelona.
Griffiths ran much of the race alone after deciding against going with the leading leading quartet from the gun and eventually overtook former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya.The seven-time Welsh cross-country champion, who had ran just 11 seconds slower his PB with 61:44 in Houston in January, said it was a step in right direction as he builds up to the Virgin Money London Marathon next month.
“I’d say I ran a lot better than that time suggests,” he said. “It’s another stepping stone towards London.”
He added: “It wasn’t particularly fun running on my own for most of the way, but that’s the luck of the draw sometimes, but it shows I’m in feeling pretty strong, otherwise I’d have crumbled.”
Griffiths is confident he can attack his PB of 2:09:49 in London and says he will run his own race rather than run to make sure he is among the top two Brits for automatic qualification.
“That’s the aim. I think I’m in just as good shape, if not even better hopefully by the time London comes around (than when he ran his PB). I’m just going to run my own race and whatever will be will be.”
GB World Championships marathon representative Josh Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) was 11th in 65:36 - just 42 seconds slower than his recent PB from Barcelona.
Meanwhile, further back in the mixed-gender field, Arter finished her race upbeat despite being some way short of her Welsh record breakthrough in Barcelona of 69:44.
“It was super-windy conditions out there,” said Arter who took British bronze after gaining on runner-up Steph Twell in the closing stages. “The pace went out quick at the beginning and I decided to go with it. And it caught up with me quite quickly so it was just a matter of me holding on. I slipped back a few places (among the mixed field) but felt strong in the last few miles, I dug deep to get on the podium. I’m happy to get on the podium and today was all about the championships - the time was irrelevant.”
Like Griffiths, she next plans to run the Cardiff Bay 10km on March 31. She will then base herself in the United States to race the early track season, including attacking the World Championships 10,000m qualification in Stanford on May 2.
“That’s why I’ve decided to hit the road over the past few months,” she said. “It just gets me more track-ready rather than the cross country. Slowly my endurance is building year by year and I think we’re in a really good place.”
Just three places behind Arter was Clara Evans (Cardiff AC), who further impressed after her recent PB of 72:52 in Barcelona, running just 21 seconds slower. Alaw Beynon-Thomas (Swansea Harriers/Kevin Evans) was seventeenth in 1:20:12.