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Pacers’ flying veteran Cooke ranked highly in the UK in his age group

PUBLISHED: 09:02 12 June 2019

Chris Cooke, in the colours of Saint Edmund Pacers, in action at the Suffolk Winter League meeting, held at Nowton Park. Picture: SAINT EDMUND PACERS FACEBOOK PAGE

Chris Cooke, in the colours of Saint Edmund Pacers, in action at the Suffolk Winter League meeting, held at Nowton Park. Picture: SAINT EDMUND PACERS FACEBOOK PAGE

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Chris Cooke might be preparing to celebrate his 58th birthday next month, but the Saint Edmund Pacer is proving that age is no barrier – he is currently running better than he has done for any of the last 15 years.

Chris Cooke, running in an England vest at the Great Birmingham 10KChris Cooke, running in an England vest at the Great Birmingham 10K

Cooke ran in an England vest for the first time, at an England versus Celtic Nations Challenge, incorporated within the Great Birmingham 10K a fortnight ago, where he finished third over-55 veteran in 36mins 51secs.

And the Pacers' stalwart is now gearing up to run in the British Masters 5K Championships, to be held in Horwich, Greater Manchester, this Sunday.

It has certainly been a cracking first half of 2019, for Shimpling-based Cooke, highlighted by a scorching 17:13 clocking at last month's prestigious Ipswich Twilight 5K, a time he improved by one second (17:12) at the Ipswich JAFFA track challenge.

He kicked off the year by posting 36:01 at the Wymondham New Year's Day 10K, which sees him currently ranked 15th in the UK for 2019.

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He is ranked fifth over-55 in the UK for five-miles (29:12 at Braintree) and sixth over 5K (17:13 Ipswich Twilight).

"I guess I've had some luck, by not getting injured much over the last year and a half, and I've also lost a bit of weight, which has helped with my speed. That's made a difference," said Cooke.

"I haven't done too much different in training, though I tend to run less miles than I used to. I'm not trying to run 50 miles a week, rather just 30 to 35, and there aren't many wasted miles because I start at about eight-minute-miling and finish in about six-and-a-half-minute.

"I got selected to run for England, for the first time, by finishing first over-55 at one of the three qualifying races, at the Chester 10K in March (36:35). That saw me go to Birmingham.

"I've got the (Pacers) club over-55 records for five miles, 5K and 10K, and I'll be looking to run a 10-mile race and a half-marathon, but I have no plans to run another marathon.

"I guess that there are many good runners who have faded and disappeared by the time they get into the over-55 age group, but I'm now only a minute slower than my best-ever 5K time, so it's going well," added Cooke, who has also finished first at a couple of appearances at his local Bury St Edmunds parkrun this year.

- Ipswich JAFFA's Ron McCullough (first over-70 in 43:22) and Colchester Harriers' Paul Mingay (first over-60 in 35:29) also ran for England at the recent Great Birmingham 10K.


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