International star Thompson wins record-breaking Simplyhealth Great East Run
- Credit: Archant
Chris Thompson, who finished second to Mo Farah in the 10,000m at the European Championships in 2010, was the star attraction on a record-breaking day at the Simplyhealth Great East Run in sunny Ipswich this morning.
International athlete Thompson, despite running a marathon just seven days earlier, led home a bumper field over a 13.1-mile half-marathon course, which finished on Ipswich Town FC's practise pitch at Portman Road.
Hampshire-based Thompson, who coaches Kieran Clements, one of Suffolk's top runners, crossed the finsh-line in 66mins 43secs on a morning when a record field took part - the event was sold out, with 4,000 entrants.
Suffolk athletes filled the next two places.
Andrew Rooke, of Framlingham Flyers, repeated his runners-up spot from last year. Rooke was second to Thompson in 69:39, having finished second to Henry Pearce 12 months ago in 67:31.
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Danny Rock, a member of Felixstowe Road Runners, improved on his fourth slot from last year's event, and also improved his time.
In fact the in-form Rock, who is coached by former Suffolk leading runner Nigel Powley, a dominant force back in the 1990s, celebrated a personal best time this morning.
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Rock stopped the clock at 70:22, having posted 74:17 last year and then 71:05 on winning the Wissey Half-Marathon in Norfolk just three weeks ago. He is targeting the Amsterdam Marathon next month.
However, there was no doubting the biggest name of the day - Chris Thompson, who had coasted to victory at the Richmond FEST Marathon in London in 2:30:09 only last weekend.
"On the way back, there were just Mexican waves of cheering. It was a really nice experience," enthused Thompson.
"Everyone is working hard, in their own little world, so taking the time and effort to cheer me on, on the way back (from Freston), was terrific.
"These kind of races I love, from the moment you wake up - you can sense the whole buzz about the community and around the town.
"The roads are shut, and people are walking with their numbers on their vests, and their families are walking with them.
"I have done a lot of these types of runs, and at everyone you see how the town gets behind the whole event.
"You get all types of cheers and support.
"I had a policewoman politely shouting to me - 'you are doing very well' - and you have the other really enthusiastic ones, while other people who are just flabbergasted. Some think you have cut a corner. It's just an absolute joy.
"I have run several times in Suffolk. I've done the Twilight 5k in the town a couple of times, when it was first started, and my Dad used to work here when I was a child, for BT.
"When I lived in Fleet, I used to come here to see my Dad and stay the week.
"So I have some history with Suffolk, and I actually coach a lad who lives in Ipswich, Kieran Clements - we have been working together for the last three or four months.
"Ironically, the one time I am in Ipswich, he is in Swansea running a 10K!
"I'm also a mad football fan, and even though I don't support Ipswich Town, they were still a big team when I was growing up.
"So I always take an interest in how they are doing, and it was lovely to run here," added Thompson.
A member of Aldershot, Farnham & District, Thompson won a silver medal at the European Championships in Barcelona, over 10,000m, in 2010. That same year, he finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, over 5,000m.
He has a marathon personal best of 2:11:19 from London, 2014, and a half-marathon best of 61:00 from the Great North Run in 2012.
Runner-up Rooke was happy with his own run.
"I'm delighted to have backed up my second from last year, especially to someone of Chris Thompson's pedigree," said Rooke.
"And especially after having my calf clipped on the start, in addition to the sore hip I'm nursing.
"Again Ipswich proved to provide a cracking atmosphere, which helped push me around.
"A big thank you to the people of the town, in addition to my friends, family and my training group, who have helped support me through a tough year," added Rooke.
Third-placed Rock, meanwhile, was elated with his personal best effort.
"I'm absolutely delighted," enthused Rock.
"The plan today was hoping to hang onto (runner-up) Andrew Rooke for most of it, that was the aim, and he was in sight for most of the race, even at the finish.
"He ran a clever race, with various surges, but I am over the moon with my time, which shows what massive progress I am making," added Rock.
The sold-out Great East Run saw runners follow a course through Holywells Park, along the vibrant Waterfront, under the Orwell Bridge and then out-and-back to Freston, before returning to the town centre and Ipswich Town FC's Portman Road.
Lauren Deadman, of Havering, was the first female finisher in an unoffical 79:03.
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Top 40 men: 1 C Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District) 1:06:43; 2 A Rooke (Framlingham Flyers) 1:09:39; 3 D Rock (Felixstowe RR) 1:10:22; 4 G Day (Orion Harriers) 1:15:42; 5 M Hunt (Woodbridge Shufflers) 1:16:00; 6 N Grigg (Burgess Hill) 1:17:02; 7 R Reason (Harwich Runners) 1:17:19; 8 M McKeown (Colchester Harriers) 1:17:29; 9 J Wright (Col/Harr) 1:17:58; 10 C Baker 1:18:56.
11 M Fuller (Ipswich Harriers) 1:18:58; 12 C Berry 1:19:21; 13 J Marter (Fram Flyers) 1:19:26; 14 L White 1:19:29; 15 M Curtis (JAFFA) 1:19:54; 16 M Elgie 1:20:04; 17 A Howlett (Fram/Flyers) 1:20:26; 18 G Calvert 1:20:36; 19 E Turner 1:21:22; 20 L Barber (Fram/Flyers) 1:21:30.
21 A Coughlan (Vegan Runners) 1:21:33; 22 J Duffney (JAFFA) 1:22:00; 23 K Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) 1:22:03; 24 G Taylor (Felixstowe RR)1:22:28; 25 J Last (Fram/Flyers) 1:22:39; 26 S Barnes (Newbury AC) 1:22:43; 27 P Wain (JAFFA) 1:23:14; 28 M Ford-Thomas (Saxmundham Sports) 1:23:18; 29 M Lis 1:23:21; 30 A Smy (Fram/Flyers) 1:23:34.
31 S Allston 1:23:46; 32 J Morgan 1:23:56; 33 W Campbell (JAFFA) 1:24:05; 34 O Watson (JAFFA) 1:24:10; 35 J Meachen (Harwich) 1:24;40; 36 J Isaac Brandy 1:24:47; 37 A Farn 1:24:59; 38 J Jones 1:25:24; 39 G Hammond 1:25:31; 40 N Clarke (JAFFA) 1:25:43.
Top 20 ladies: 1 L Deadman (Havering AC) 1:19:03; 2 S Delderfield (Vale of Aylesbury) 1:22:21; 3 A Heather-Hayes (Hadleigh Hares) 1:27:40; 4 K Parnell (Ipswich Triathlon Club) 1:29:32; 5 G Garvin (JAFFA) 1:29:45; 6 A Smith (Wymondham) 1:31:29; 7 K Lyons (Clapham Chesers) 1:32:04; 8 H Pettersson (Ipsw/Harr) 1:34:39; 9 N Dunnage 1:35:32; 10 C Dann 1:36:18.
11 N Treagust 1:36:22; 12 C Bruneau 1:36:36; 13 L Elliott 1:36:37; 14 V Jennings (JAFFA) 1:39:00; 15 J Larwood 1:39:19; 16 K Wallace 1:39:38; 17 H Emmens 1:39:49; 18 S Fitch (Felixstowe RR) 1:39:51; 19 S Moore 1:40:06; 20 R Denny (Woodbridge) 1:40:32.
Male veterans, over-40: 1 Hunt, 2 Wright, 3 Marter. Over-45: 1 Baker, 2 Howlett, 3 Barnes. Over-50; 1 D Smith 1:26:40; 2 J Waite (Col/Harr) 1:28:22; 3 A Allen (JAFFA) 1:28:31. Over-55: 1 Campbell, 2 S Hicks (Ips/Harr) 1:33:33; 3 1 A Hine (Felixstowe) 1:36:56. Over-60: 1 A Budd 1:34:50; 2 C Cowley 1:45:16; 3 P Collins (JAFFA) 1:46:02. Over-65: 1 M Cattermole 1:39:53. Over-70: 1 G Bush (Woodbridge) 2:07:46. Over-75: 1 R Farrar (Bungay Black Dog) 2:15:08.
Female veterans, over-35: 1 Deadman, 2 Delderfield, 3 Dann. Over-40: 1 Heather-Hayes, 2 Smith, 3 Larwood. Over-45: 1 Fitch, 2 J Williams (JAFFA) 1:42:23; 3 S Whymark 1:44:49. Over-50: 1 Bruneau, 2 G Clarke (Fram/Flyers) 1:41:41; 3 A Ransome 1:47:15. Over-55: 1 Jennings, 2 W Sealy 1:45:32; 3 S Brandon (Saint Edmund Pacers) 1:50:25. Over-60: 1 B Godbold (JAFFA) 1:50:50; 2 S Lockhart (JAFFA) 1:53:04. Over-65: 1 S Peacock 2:16:18; 2 D Mathews 2:22:01. Over-70: 1 Holmes 3;01:49.