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World 100k Championships, Doha, Qatar

21/11/2014

After barely a fortnight back at work, Dumfries Running Club's Jo Zakrzewski found herself on her way back to Qatar, this time as a member of Team GB, competing in the World 100k Championships...

Although the British men's team was considered as one of the favourites pre-competition, the ladies were somewhat under the radar with the main contenders being the USA (the reigning world champions) and Russia.

The route was identical to the prior 50K so Jo had briefed the rest of the team on the course (including its three 180 degree turns) and conditions underfoot (tile and hard cobbles as well as road) before they travelled, hence slightly more cushioned shoes than usual were the order of the day.

Both races started at 6pm (after dark) and continued into the night, but the temperature was a good 10 degrees cooler for the 100k (ie in the low 20s). Feedback from the previous race had altered the lighting, cooling and feeding stations slightly but otherwise it felt fairly familiar to Jo.

She started sensibly, ignoring many others in the field, and although this meant she was running alone, she had a steady few laps settling into her pace. Although not increasing her pace at all, others started to drop back slightly and so she had moved comfortably into the top 10 of the ladies' field before the leading man came flying past after 25 K. The chase pack seemed to swarm past her, but she, along with all the other ladies found it interesting to be able to see how the men's race was unfolding at the same time as running themselves.

The nature of the course with it's multiple turns and switchbacks, meant that the teammates could encourage each other all the way through the race, as well as keeping an eye on the competition.

Jo's roommate and friend Ellie Greenwood moved into the lead fairly early on into the race and dominated it from the front. This encouraged Jo who had worked her way up into 3rd place by the 50k point. Jo Meek, the third GB counter, was also running strongly in 4th place and, although anything can happen in a race of such a distance, the ladies seems to have the team event all sewn up. Jo M kept Jo Z on her toes, and almost closed the gap between them, but having run the best part of 50k in 3rd position (and as the leading lady in the World Masters Championship), Jo was determined not to be overtaken in the last 2k. She pushed on hard to finish in Bronze medal position in a time of 7:42:02, a mere 90s behind the 2nd placed Japanese lady. Ellie won the race convincingly in 7:30:48 and with Jo Meek in 4th (7:43:37) they, along with team mate Emily Gelder, were awarded team Gold medals (with the two Jos picking up gold and silver in the World Masters Champs).

Unfortunately, the race did not go quite as well to plan for some of the GB men individually but they packed well and won team Bronze, with fellow Scot Paul Giblin being first home in 11th place in 6:56:12.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Jo and Ellie were still out on the course at 4:30am with team Canada to encourage a countrywoman of Ellie's who wasn't having the best day, so not much sleep was had that night!

 

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