BRITISH international Jake Smith scorched to an emphatic victory in the opening race of the 2022 South West PB 5k road race series organised by the Bristol Track Club
Over the traffic-free cycle course at Odd Down, near Bath, the Cardiff AC runner, who boasts a track 5000m PB of 13:38 and half marathon best of 60:31, made his decisive break on lap 2 and was then never headed as he crossed the line in a time of 14mins 23secs.
On the road that was a PB for Smith, who is coached James Thie, a popular figure in the west having been born and bred in Clevedon and competed for Westbury Harriers for many years.
Chasing him hard was Devonian Johnny Livingstone with the Exeter Harriers’ junior finishing 10 seconds adrift in second (14:33) with Jonathan Cornish of Hercules Wimbledon third (14:36).
On an excellent day for a fine emerging crop of junior runners in the West Country Bideford’s Flynn Jennings was fifth (14:44) and Team Bath AC’s Niall Caley sixth (14:45).
And at the other end of the age spectrum a big shout to Stockport Harriers’ Andrew Davies, who finished fourth overall and first veteran over 40 in a sizzling time of 14mins 39secs.
Top Bristol & West AC runner was Felix McGrath in 18th (15:14) with Owain Jones just behind (15:17) to finish second M40 while Joe Connors was 22nd (15:20).
North Somerset AC’s Joe Gentry placed 29th (15:28) with Weston AC’s Will Fuller a place behind in 15:28. Leading Westbury Harrier was Ben Rawlins in 39th (15:37),
Such was the quality of the field that the top 13 runners broke 15 minutes, 32 finished inside 15mins 30secs and a total of 57 broke 16 minutes. Superb stuff so well done to the organisers.
Leading woman was Reading AC’s Jess Gibbon in 16:05 with Philippa Bowden of Aldershot Farnham & District one place behind as runner-up (16:10) as the pair dominated the race.
Wells City junior Daisy Davies was a fine third (16:36) while locally there was a fine run from Jennifer Beckingham of Southville Running Club as she clocked a fine time of 17:43 for sixth place.
B&W’s leading woman was Katrina Entwistle in seventh (17:50).
In the junior 3k race victory went to Wales again with Newport Harriers’ under 17 runner Henry Evans taking the honours (9:22) while top local athlete was Team Bath AC’s U13 Toby Loughlin in fourth (10:14) with fellow U13 Oisin O’Halloran in fifth (11:03).
B&W’s U13 Amira Chowdhury Barratt was second female (12:17) with clubmate Millie Pope third (12:36). Bridgend’s U15 Katy Griffiths was the winner (11:57).