Jake Smith Sizzles To A Welsh Record for Half Marathon In Poland
Jake Smith [James Thie] sizzles to a new Welsh Record and third in the UK all-time lists in Gdynia.
The 24th edition of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships took place on the re-arranged date in Northern Poland on Saturday.
Races used a 5.5km loop starting in the City Centre and with the finish area utilising a purpose-built surface on the City’s Beach on Gdansk Bay on the Southern Coast of the Baltic Sea.
Cardiff based Smith headed the British team, going into the race as the U23 British Record Holder with 62:03 recorded in Paris last year.
Smith passed the 10km mark as part of the leading group in 28:23, going on to finish in 18th place with an eye-watering 60:31 setting a new national record for Wales, re-moulding Steve Jones’ time of 61:14.
His time also sends Smith to third on the UK all the lists behind Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins.
''When I came down that final straight and saw what I was at, at the 20km mark, I couldn’t believe it'' said Smith.
''I got a 10km PB along the way and I was with the main group when I did that and it was so good. In that last lap, I caught one of the Turkish guys and just worked with him and I knew once we were at the top of the hill, it was downhill all the way''.
''I put everything into the downhill and tried to hang on as much as I could. I started crying happy tears on the home straight because I just couldn’t believe it''.
''I couldn’t ask for a better team, we all get on so well and we were warming up as a group and I couldn’t ask for anyone else to share this with''.
Kristian Jones claimed a new best of 63:05 in 60th place and commented on his performance saying; ''I went out hard and hurt a lot. I hoped I could hang on for a little bit quicker but I worked through and I’m really happy to come away with a PB, no matter what the time, a PB is a PB''.
''And to echo what Mo (Aadan) said, to witness this man [Jake Smith] was great. I hope to run with him at some point in a Welsh vest but it was just amazing''.
Cardiff based Clara Evans claimed a first appearance for Great Britain and Northern Ireland off the strength of a 72:21 new lifetime best at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon last month.
The 26-year-old passed the 5km mark in 16:46 and 10km in 33:58 on her way to 65th place in 73:11 as the third British finisher.
‘’That was really tough’’ said Evans. ‘’The course was surprisingly more hilly than I thought and it really started to hurt as we went through’’.
‘’It’s great to come that high up especially on my British debut, especially after this year and how everything has panned out’’.
‘’Running half-marathon after half-marathon recently has really taken its toll on me but I didn’t think I’d get a chance to race again after Antrim and I’m grateful to be in the team and I really tried to enjoy that out there’’.
‘’As runners, we don’t really enjoy the moment and I wanted to make sure I gave it my best but took it all in. I did as well as I could do on the day and that was enough’’.