By Nilesh Patel, in Birmingham
- Caroline Kipkirui runs a 30:45 PB to win elite women’s run
- Frankline Keitany wins European debut in men’s elite race
- Katrina Wootton, Gemma Steel, Lee Merrien, John Beattie among Britain’s elite finishes
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Olympic medalists Kelly Sotherton and Liz McColgan participate in successful Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k run.
It was a Kenyan victory in Birmingham on Sunday as Caroline Kipkirui and Frankline Keitany won both the men’s and women’s elite races, with Katrina Wootton and Matt Clowes placing highest out of the British athletes.
Kenya’s Kipkirui shines in sunny Birmingham
Exactly just a week ago from completing the half-marathon in London, Kipkirui claimed gold in England’s second city, which is aiming to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
It was Kipkirui who paced her training partner, the eventual winner of the London marathon, Mary Keitany as she finished the marathon in an accomplished time that was a minute faster than Paula Radcliffe’s record run in 2003.
In a windy, yet sunny, day in Birmingham crowds had plenty to cheer about as Midland’s lass Katrina Wootton finished top of the British women’s elite. The Coventry Godiva club runner finished over a minute behind third placed Kenyan – Lucy Cheruiyot – but received a rapturous applause from the crowd.
Also featuring in the run was Gemma Steel who maintained her superb start to 2017, which saw victory in the Great Ireland Run earlier this month, by finishing fifth. The Charnwood club runner is the third quickest GB female across 10k and also enjoyed a great reception down the final leg at Curzon Street.
Verity Ockenden and Sophie Cowper, of Swansea and Rotherham Harriers respectively, can also be proud of their runs. Cowper finished seventh overall in a great time of 35:49. However, Ockenden was just 25 seconds off her personal best and described her race as “really good, the crowd were great but I could’ve ran better.”
Yet another Kenyan success in the men’s elite race
In the men’s elite race, it was another Kenyan who topped the standings. Frankline Keitany completed the 10k in an impressive 28:41. It was not settled until the finish line however, as on the final sprint both he and Timothy Toroitich of Uganda were neck and neck. With the crowd cheering on, it was the European debutant who crossed the line just one second ahead of the Olympian 10,000m finalist.
Speaking to Keitany after the race he said: “It was wonderful to be in Birmingham today, and an honour to run in this city. I’m very happy with my start and my finish and was happy to have people cheering me on at the end.”
The leading Briton was Cardiff’s Matt Clowes who finished behind both Africans in third place. Clowes was 1 minute and 20 seconds behind second but can remain proud of his efforts despite only just missing out on finished ahead of the half hour mark.
While Clowes finished on exactly 30:00, the men behind him were not far behind. Richard Goodman, Daniel Cliffe, Dan Wallis, local boy Jack Gray, Alastair Watson and Lee Merrien, who competed at London 2012, all finished underneath 31:00.
New Zealand’s Wallis continued his stellar form to finish sixth, after claiming victory in Edinburgh’s Great 10k race; which he repeated from his 2016 win in the Scottish capital.
Celebrities in appearance
Elsewhere in Birmingham, around 8,000 runners, fitness fanatics and fundraisers took part in the run. Of which included some familiar faces: Three time Olympic medalist Kelly Sotherton was running as the Duracell’s 60 minute pace-maker and Liz McColgan-Nuttall was representing Scotland as their captain and greatest ever distance runner. Also in attendance was newly retired BBC broadcaster and former long-distance runner Brendan Foster, who retired after last week’s London Marathon. Former European and Commonwealth champion Ian Stewart was also available for a picture with McColgan and Foster.
— Athletics Weekly (@AthleticsWeekly) April 30, 2017
Local celebrities were also out in force, Dave Heeley who is the first blind person to complete the seven-marathon challenge participated at aged 50. Local boxing hero Tommy Langford, who holds the British and Commonwealth middleweight titles.
— Katie Kershaw (@katie_kershaw) April 30, 2017
Pictured just ahead of Langford, in the above tweet is Alistair Rutherford who broke the record for the fastest Birmingham 10k runner whilst dressed as a viola, in aid of ARCO which supplies musical lessons to deprived youngsters.
Want to get active?
Were you inspired by the spectacular sights of thousands of people at the start line at this year’s London Marathon and Birmingham 10k run?
Then don’t miss out the chance to challenge yourself to the Birmingham half-marathon, on Sunday 15th October.
It will take place on the same day as the International Birmingham Marathon, which means you could join another 25,000 people running in the city.
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