There was a healthy turnout for City Runs New Years 5 on Exwick Playing Fields and River Exe Flood Relief yesterday (Sunday 5 January) in the running mad city that recently awarded Eliud Kipchoge an honorary degree from Exeter University.
Kipchoge, the undisputed world's GOAT marathon runner following his astonishing 1:59:40 time trial in Vienna last October and 2:01:39 world record at Berlin in 2018, was in Exeter to receive his honorary degree on 14 December.
Nearest to the great man's marathon speed in Sunday's 5-miler was the England Athletics Road Runner of the Year 2019 Tom Merson (Exmouth Harriers, 24:21 PB) who was joined at sub-5-minute mile pace by Andrew Chambers (Bristol & West, 24:33 PB). Just over that threshold was the first M40 master, Phil Wylie (Cheltenham Harriers, 25:13) whose result was worth over 90% age-graded.
Below 30 minutes was achieved by 10 men and just one woman – Serane Stone (W40 Tiverton Harriers, 29:47) who improved her 2012 PB by 64 seconds. Serane was joined on the podium by Victoria Hill (W35 South West Road Runners, 31:52 PB) and Hannah Bown (W40 Exmouth Harriers, 32:39 PB) on a perfect day for racing, with a slight chill in the air and no wind.
The pancake flat, fast course on footpaths and cycle tracks sent PBs tumbling with around 50% of the top half of the field setting new standards for themselves. One additional feature of this City Runs event is the provision of 'local legend' pacers for various targets from 6:30 to 11:00 per mile. As a tribute to these unselfish supporters we record their results here:
6:30 pacer: Stevie G (Gossy's Gazelles, 32:23 = 6:29 pace)
7:00 pacer: Gareth Thomas (South West RR, 35:05 = 7:01 pace)
8:00 pacer: Darren Thomas (Greenbow RC, 39:59 = 8:00 pace)
9:00 pacer: Heidi Simms (South West RR, 45:00 = 9:00 pace)
10:00 pacer: Martin Sterry (South West RR, 49:58 = 10:00 pace)
11:00 pacer: Rich Hill (Heavitree RC, 54:53 = 10:59 pace)