2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run: Charlotte Purdue runs away


Charlotte Purdue, 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run, photo courtesy of www.greatirelandrun.com

Charlotte Purdue took the women's race and Jesus Espana took the men's version of the 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run 10k today. 10,000 runners participated in the event, managed by the same team that manage the Great North and Great South Runs! Check out the story, written by David Martin, about the race up front today!


Teenager Charlotte Purdue again showing her vast potential for the future was a runaway winner against much more experienced opponents at the SPAR Great Ireland Run on Sunday.

Her victory and that of former European 5000 metres gold medallist Jesus Espana came on a magnificent day's competition with over 10,000 entrants savouring the sunny conditions in Phoenix Park for the 10 kilometres race.

04.jpg2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run, photo courtesy of www.greatirelandrun.com

The organisers were also celebrating when the quality of the event was recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations who revealed  next year's race will be upgraded from bronze to silver label status its global running programme.
Purdue despite having ran the fastest five kilometres leg for her Aldershot club in the English National Road Relays the previous day,trounced her rivals when winning her race in a time of 32 minutes 42 seconds.

The 19-year-old taking charge of the race after eight kilometres powered away to finish well clear of Gemma Steel who finished in a time of 33min 03sec with Nadia Ejjafini of Italy placing third in 33min 09sec.

It was the testing pace of Ejjafini which initially destroyed the ambitions of pre-race favourite Ethiopia's Berhane Adere one of the world's greatest ever distance runners who fell away after seven kilometres and Hungary's highly experienced Aniko Kalovics who quickly followed.

Purdue in contrast always looked comfortable as the overseas visitors faded out of contention a fate which befell Ireland's s top stars Mary Cullen and Fionualla Britton whose hopes of a home victory were also dented.

When Purdue the top non-African finisher at last month's IAAF World Cross Country Championships made her move, it was decisive and her razor sharp turn of pace quickly opened up a lengthy gap ahead of Steel and Ejjafini.

"The course was easier than I thought and it wasn't the plan to break away like that," said the reigning European Junior Cross Country champion who will very shortly depart for a period of high altitude training in Font Romeau, the French Pyrenees venue Paula Radcliffe uses.
"At 5km I felt as if I was jogging and then at 8km I could hear everyone around me breathing heavily, so I just went."
Purdue who some believe could eventually follow in the footsteps of Radcliffe, dismissed suggestions that two hard races within 24 hours was probably too much for a 19-year-old.

"It didn't affect me at all and in my head I didn't think about it," she said. "The volume of training I do prepared me for the races."

Espana produced a lethal finish in the final 1200 metres to clinch the men's title in a time of 29min 26sec ahead of Finland's Jussi Utriainen and Martin Fagan.

The Spaniard was content to follow the pace particularly when defending champion Fagan took charge in the second half of the race which saw the demise of the highly fancied Sergey Lebid of Ukraine and Portugal's Rui Silva.

With two kilometres remaining that left the host nation's Fagan in the driving seat with Espana and Utrianen determined to prevent him notching another victory.

02.jpgJesus Espana takes 2011 Great Ireland Run, photo by www.greatirelandrun.com

Espana made that a definite fact when unleashing a turn of speed which saw him open a 25 metre gap within the space of the next 100m as he powered to a five seconds win from the Finn and Fagan who clocked 29min 35sec.

"I suffered a lot in the race because Martin made it hard," said Espana who failed to defend his European title in Barcelona last summer when beaten into second place by Mo Farah.

The meeting's first ever Spanish champion added: "But towards the end I started feeling good, but it was still very difficult for me to win."
Fagan who triumphed 12 months ago against domestic opposition because of flight cancellations caused by the volcanic ash disruption on traveling, declared himself happy with another podium finish.

The USA-based star, said: "It was totally different from last year where I felt I was just running against the clock. Today it was an international field."
Fagan recently returned from injury and whose immediate future aim is qualifying for the 2012 Olympic marathon added: "Off four weeks training I feel a different person. It's more than I expected."

1, J Espana (Spain) 29minutes 26seconds
2, J Utrianen (Finland) 29:31
3, M Fagan (Ireland) 29:35
4, S Lebid (Ukraine) 29:53
5, A Carlson (USA) 30:00
6, M Gabrielson (USA) 30:08
7, R Silva (Portugal) 30:17
8, J-C de la Ossa (Spain) 30:26
9, J Sweeney (Ireland) 30:42
10, E McGinley (Ireland) 30:46

1, C Purdue (GB) 32:42
2, G Steel (GB) 33:03
3, N Ejjafini (Italy) 33:09
4, A Kalovics (Hungary) 33:32
5, B Adere (Ethiopia) 33:54
6, D Checa (Spain)    33:57
7, F Britton (Ireland) 34:10
8, M Cullen (Ireland) 34:22
9, A Hutchinson (Ireland) 34:43
10, L Small (GB) 35:01

For more on the SPAR Great Ireland run, please browse: www.greatirelandrun.com.

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