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World 100k Championships

12/12/2016

As the sole GB representative at the recent World 100k Championships in Los Alcazares, Spain, Jo Zakrzewski felt that the weight of expectation to do her country proud sat squarely on her shoulders.

The 100k course consisted of 10 laps of 10km, of which 3.5km was on small 3x3cm tiles along the shorefront, and the rest was on tarmac, going out and back along several parallel roads in the town. Jo amused herself on one lap by counting the corners....there were 4 x 180 degree turns and 13 x 90 degrees turns to negotiate in each 10km. 

All the runners (both men & women, competing in the world championships, the regional championships, the open 100k and the open 50k) started together at 7am so the streets were quite crowded in the pre-dawn light, but by the second lap the field had spread out so people had time to look up from their feet and see a beautiful sunrise over the lagoon.

There were 2 official feed stations on each lap, so Jo had regular contact with the GB team manager, and was also cheered on by many other nations who recognised her, such as the USA, Canada and Denmark. A group of local men also tried to spur her on by playing "God Save the Queen" on a ghetto blaster every time she ran past. 

The lap from 60-70k was the most memorable as lightening forked across the sky, thunder rumbled loudly and then the heavens opened. Although the storm was relatively short lived it changed the nature of the course as the tiles became slippy, and large deep puddles stretched the width of the roads (though it did create some interesting photo opportunities).

The mens' race was an interesting one with a group of South African men leading as a pack for 3/4 of it. A Japanese runner came though is the final few laps to take the win, with a fast finishing American snatching bronze away from the second South African (though the South Africans did win the team competition).

Jo ran most of the race in second position but could feel herself tiring in the latter stages, while the third placed Croatian lady appeared to get stronger and stronger and nearly closed the Australian leader down. Slightly further back, the Japanese ladies packed well to ensure they had a clean win of the team competition. Jo' s time of 7 hrs and 41 minutes is quite remarkable in that she has run this exact same time for 3 of the 4 100k races that she has run for GB, and her Bronze medal (and Masters gold) meant that she maintained her record of never coming home from a championship empty handed. 

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