Ipswich JAFFA’s Thomas finishes third at Great Eastern Half-Marathon

Laura Thomas, who was third lady at the Great Eastern Half-Marathon in Peterborough last weekend. Pi

Laura Thomas, who was third lady at the Great Eastern Half-Marathon in Peterborough last weekend. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Suffolk athlete Laura Thomas, representing East of England, ran a big personal best time at the Perkins Great Eastern Half-Marathon, held at Peterborough on a very wet last Sunday.

Despite the poor weather, Thomas, a 25-year-old member of Ipswich JAFFA, surged to third lady overall in addition to improving on her own PB by more than a minute for the 13.1-mile distance.

Coached by Clive Sparkes, the impressive Thomas clocked 1hr 20mins 47secs, beating her previous best of 1:22:00, set at the same event two years ago, by 73 seconds.

“The rain chucked it down throughout the race, but for once I had a good race,” explained Thomas.

“It’s been a long time in coming really. I have been training well, but not racing well, but it all came good on Sunday and this should be a big confidence-booster for me.

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“Training had been good, running with Ipswich JAFFA on Monday evenings and doing sessions with Sara Bird (club-mate) on Wednesdays. It finally all came together at Peterborough.

“I had targeted a PB, and wanted to run around 1:21, but having seen the weather, I wasn’t so sure if I could run that fast. But even though it rained, and was cold, it wasn’t too breezy and the course is a very flat one.

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“The top two ladies were quite far ahead, so it was quite spread out, but I was delighted to run a negative split (faster second half of the race). That surprised me.

“I was running for the East of England, against teams from the North and the Midlands, as well as teams from the RAF and Army,” added Thomas, who moved from Ipswich Harriers to Ipswich JAFFA about four years ago.

Amy Clements was the first female finisher at Peterborough in 1:14:07, followed by Clara Evans (1:16:00) and then Thomas, who was 25 seconds clear of fourth-placed Rebecca Gallop (Newark Striders, 1:21;12). JAFFA’s Bird was 10th lady in 1:23:49.

A teacher at Gislingham Primary School, Thomas will now be focusing on cross country this winter, before perhaps tackling another half-marathon next spring. Earlier this year, she won the Great Bentley Friday Five in a PB of 29:47. She was fourth at the Ipswich Twlight 10K in August.

Other JAFFA members in action at the Great Eastern Half-Marathon were: Marcus Boon 1:27:22, Jordan Smith 1:31:34, Jim Aldridge 1:39:34, Esther Lury 2:00:37 & Corinna Hussey 2:00:38.

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