Race report: England Athletics 5k road champs, Blackburn, 11th July

‘Just a small Leeds City contingent for this national and northern champs and home international fixture, but lack of number doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of quality!
Pride of place to James Smith who is progressing rapidly at the moment and was blown down the starting hill and along the undulating road into Blackburn on a wave of justified self-confidence and enthusiasm. A 2:35 first km was a sign of things to come and Smithy bravely chased down the mercenary Africans before faltering slightly into the wind on the way home and just failing to beat the second England runner, Holmfirths Mark Buckingham to 6th place in a road and track PB of 14:23 (7th place overall, 6th qualified Englishman – pay attention, this becomes important later on…). Simon Deakin, still returning to full fitness found the brisk early pace a little hot to handle and could only manage 2:41 (!) for his first kilometre but rallied well and with a bit of shameless and careful slipstreaming on the way back towards Witton Park came home in 16th spot (14th English). Not aware of the story of Fergus Meade’s race but the vital statistics are 38th in 15:37. A couple of days later, the news came through that James’ failure to beat Buckingham had resulted in a/ the loss of a Northern Championship individual medal, b/ finishing one place outside the prize money and c/ the loss of 3rd place in the England Athletics team race to Holmfirth on countback! Duly chastened he takes to the track this week in the England Athletics track championships hoping to improve his finishing kick!
Kirsteen Young toed the line in the womens race. She’s been concentrating on triathlon training for the last few months but the paddling and tricycling seem to be paying dividends as she came home in 17th place in a road PB of 17:32. All in all, a good days racing – credit to Blackburn Harriers for devising a very quick course on closed roads and getting the race on at a sociable time of day.’