'It's a massive confidence booster' - Helen Davies after scorching to second at Snetterton 10K
PUBLISHED: 11:37 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:37 21 January 2020
Suffolk star Helen Davies confirmed that is she is in great shape for the new year, following a blistering personal best time at the Snetterton 10K race in Norfolk on Sunday.
International long-distance runner Davies, who represented Great Britain at the World Ultra 50K Championships in Romania at the end of last August, finished second overall at Snetterton in a new best time of 33mins 15secs.
Ipswich JAFFA's leading light had actually won the race last year, in a slower time of 33:41, which was her previous best, but last weekend she enjoyed company from fellow Suffolk athlete Scott Ramsey, who went on to win the race in 33:00.
This all bodes well for another terrific season for the impressive Davies, who is now an over-40 veteran after turning 40 last Autumn.
She is targeting the London Marathon this April, after winning the Brighton Marathon for the three previous years, clocking a PB of 2:34:06 on her way to the hat-trick in 2019.
"Last year was a solo run for me at Snetterton, so it was good to see Scott (Ramsey) on the start-line. It helped me to keep in check.
"You couldn't have hoped for much better conditions. It was just as cold as last year, though with a little more breeze this time, which you felt because it is such an exposed course with very little in the way of shelter.
"I went through half-way in a 5K PB time of around 16:13 (official 5K best of 16:23 from the Ipswich Twilight in 2017), and only had a little wobble at around eight and nine kilometres when Scott became a bit detached from me. I dropped a few seconds during this stage, but still felt relaxed.
"This run is certainly a massive confidence booster, going into the new season and the rest of 2020.
"I had certain issues after my Ultra race, because I didn't optimise my recovery well enough. In hindsight, I should have taken more of a break.
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"I was over-training, but there's always something to learn. I've since tweaked a few things and in the last four weeks everything has fallen into place.
"I'm in an even better condition than I was at this time last year, as my PB run at Snetterton showed. It's good to start the year off so well, and with a PB of almost 30 seconds," added Davies.
Last Sunday was Davies' first competitive race since finishing an excellent second to team-mate Aly Dixon at the World Ultra Championships, where she clocked 3:09:16 on her debut over the 50K distance.
Now she is building up to another crack at the marathon, having previously represented her country over the traditional 26.2-mile event at the European Championships (in Barcelona) and Commonwealth Games (in Delhi), both in 2010.
"I'm on the elite start for the London Marathon, which I'm really excited about because it's the first time since 2012 that I have lined up with the elite women.
"I'm certainly in PB shape. I could have been a couple of minutes quicker at Brighton last year, if the conditions were better, so I know I can run 2:32, but I'm looking towards 2:30 or 2:31.
"For my build-up races, I'm looking to run the Great Bentley Half-Marathon (Sunday, February 2), as usual, and perhaps the Bath Half-Marathon (March 15).
"I also plan to run Colchester (March 29) as well, at a training tempo run, because I love that race, and also a 10K.
"At London there should be a good group of women to run with, which should help," added Davies, who lives at Rushmere St Andrew.
Meanwhile, Scott Ramsey, of Hadleigh Hares, had opened up a gap of 15 seconds over runner-up and leading lady Davies, the defending champion, by the finish at Snetterton.
Ramsey's time of 33:00 was just adrift of his PB landmark of 32:49, set at the Little Bromley 10K last April. He was third behind James Reeder and Jacob Freeborough at the Suffolk County Cross Country Championships, held earlier this month at Culford School.
Andrew Reynolds was third at Snetterton (34:27), while there was an outstanding run from Chris Cooke (Saint Edmund Pacers), who clocked a 34:32 in fourth, the second fastest 10K time by an over-55 veteran in the UK this year.