Race director Glenn Mousley called it correctly in his preview of the SsangYong Canterbury 10 on Sunday (28 January) when he said: “Locally based Invicta East Kent runner, Abel Tsegay, will hopefully be going for his 5th straight victory." Abel Tsegay was indeed ready, willing and more than able to handle the capacity field in East Kent's largest road race.
With 1,500 entries and an even more impressive 1,411 finishers in 2:53:40, the SsangYong Canterbury 10
mile road race has quality, quantity and an atmosphere all of its own. To win this prestigious race five times in a row is a prodigious feat and Tsegay was peerless once again in his home club's race.
Tsegay eased the bright red vest of Invicta East Kent home in 53:52 for victory by 38 seconds from the emerging Jay Smith (Dartford Road Runners, 54:26) who was 20th last year and took three and a half minutes off his previous best! Local triathlete and 10-mile debutant James Lane-Pitcher (Adalata CC, 55:58) was third.
A dozen men beat the hour on the undulating course on Pilgrims Way and country lanes to the south of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Among the sub-60 group was the leading M40 master Dan Madams (Tonbridge, 59:16) and just outside was first M50 Richard Tomlinson (Medway & Maidstone, 60:22).
Teresa Murphy (W40 Kent AC, 64:30) comfortably claimed the women's top prize from Lisa Tang (Tynedale, 66:43) and Charlotte Bates (Maidstone Harriers, 66:46) – who both tied on chip timing at 66:41. W50 Geraldine Schaer (Petts Wood Runners, 68:13) was the top higher age-group athlete in fourth overall.
More than 650 runners were inside 90 minutes and the joint mid-point finishers were Lizzie Church and Jacqui Howe in 1:32:07.
Race HQ was the spacious Canterbury Christ Church University Sports Centre and Korean car brand SsangYong returned as headline sponsor. There was a newly designed medal plus free photographic downloads and free massage available. The race has supported local charity the Pilgrims Hospices
for many years and competitors could sign up to run with #teampilgrims
for free in exchange for a £100 donation.