Race director Glenn Mousley had predicted a sixth successive victory for the host club's Abel Tsegay and a sell-out 1,500 entries for the Pentland Homes Canterbury 10 on Sunday (26 January). For his next trick he will reveal this weekend's winning lottery numbers!
With an impressive 1,446 finishers in just under 2:45:00 the new sponsors, Pentland Homes, and charity partners Pilgrims Hospices
were among those who were delighted with the continuing support for this Kent classic, despite its traditional date the day after the tough South of England Cross Country Championships.
Many tungsten tough types double both events but that was not the case for Abel Tsegay (Invicta East Kent) who was making his first competitive appearance of 2020. Dressed to impress on a chilly morning, the Eritrean (pictured above) was fresh for this contest and it showed as he soon constructed a winning lead, eventually growing to more than three minutes. Operating at 5:15/mile pace, Tsegay returned to Canterbury Christ Church University Sports Centre in 52:29 – the second fastest of his super six victories after his PB 51:13 win in 2018.
The rapidly disappearing long-sleeved Invicta vest was followed by Mark Wilkins (Medway & Maidstone, 55:51) and Chris Biddle (Dartford Harriers, 57:21 PB). The top eight men broke 60 minutes on the undulating course on the historic Pilgrims Way and rural lanes on the outskirts of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city.
There was a new name collecting the women's cash prize as Tonbridge veteran Helen Gaunt (W40, 63:57) – pictured #561 below in the pack – claimed top spot from 2:54 marathoners Kat Owens (Crawley, 65:17 PB) and Hazel Behagg (W40 Dartford Roadrunners, 65:30). Theresa Murphy (W40 Kent AC), who won last year in 64:30, did not return to defend her crown.
More than half the 1,446 finishers beat 90 minutes despite the testing hills at halfway and just after seven miles. Race features included generous cash prizes; quality medals; spacious HQ; free massage; chip timing; secure baggage store and free photo downloads courtesy Jodi Hanagan Photography.
The race has supported local charity the Pilgrims Hospices
for many years and a large team ran for the worthy cause and the race organisers also made a significant cash donation.