Steel third in US road race as GB women secure silver in European Cup 10,000m

Gemma Steel runs 32:59 for third at Oakley New York Mini 10k while women’s trio win medal at European Cup 10,000m in Bulgaria

Gemma Steel (Courtesy of PhotoRun)

Although only three seconds quicker than her Great Manchester Run clocking, which at the time she admitted she was disappointed with, Gemma Steel was happy with her 32:59 for third at the women-only Oakley New York Mini 10k on Saturday.

The 2011 European Cross Country Championships bronze medallist, who was racing in America for the first time, said afterwards she hadn’t been sure of what to expect, calling her top-three spot ‘surreal’.

Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska turned up the heat along with two-time Mini champion Linet Masai of Kenya early on in the race and it was Daska who crossed the line first in 31:47 as Masai followed her home in 32:46.

Speaking of her podium spot, Steel said: “I thought maybe top-five, so top-three is so surreal.

“I’ve seen other athletes on the telly with their flag wrapped around them, and I’ve thought, ‘That could be me one day.’ It’s my day today,” she added.

Fellow Brit Helen Clitheroe, who was forced to postpone her marathon debut when injury ruled her out of the London Marathon in April, was less satisfied with her time of 33:53 for ninth, as she tweeted after the race: ”Well a very disappointing race today #needtodobetter but a great event to be a part of.”

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GB women secure silver in European Cup 10,000m

In what Alyson Dixon described as ‘brutal conditions’ on a hot evening, solid performances from the women’s trio of Dixon, Sonia Samuels and Stevie Stockton saw them finish second behind Spain at the European Cup 10,000m in Pravets, Bulgaria.

Samuels’ 34:00.51 for ninth led the team to silver, as she was followed home by Dixon (34:03.05) and Stockton (34:03.88) for 11th and 12th respectively – Stockton making her debut over the 25 lap distance.

Germany’s Sabrina Mockenhaupt won the race by half a minute with 32:13.64.

Three women in the top 15 was just enough for Spain to take the team title from GB and Belarus, with Sonia Bejarno sixth with 33:40.35, Judith Pla seventh with 33:56.98 and Maria Azucena Diaz 15th with 34:23.57.

Just seven seconds separated the top two teams, with GB’s team aggregate of 1.42:07.44 to Spain’s 1.42:00.90.

Ahead of the competition, Jonny Mellor had told AW how he hoped for a sub-28:30 showing in Bulgaria. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, his 29:56.38 only enough for 18th, while team-mate Joe MacDonald recorded a DNF.

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Harting suffers first defeat since 2010 in Hengelo

The 35-competition winning streak of Germany’s Olympic champion Robert Harting came to an end on Saturday, as Poland’s Piotr Malachowski threw a world-leading 71.84m in the discus at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games, an IAAF World Challenge meeting, on Saturday.

With 69.91m, Harting had to settle for second ahead of Malachowski’s compatriot Robert Urbanek who had a best throw of 64.89m.

Of the many Brits in action in the Dutch town, James Ellington recorded a personal best of 20.42 in the 200m for second behind the European champion over the distance, Churandy Martina (20.23), competing on home soil.

Anyika Onuora also recorded a PB over the distance with 22.93 for fourth, while Eilidh Child’s decision to drop the barriers and switch to the 400m flat for the meet paid off as she placed third with an outdoor PB of 52.08.

And the personal best performances kept coming as Charlie Grice ran 3:38.13 for ninth over 1500m.

Rhys Williams ran 49.09 for second in the 400m hurdles, finishing ahead of fellow Brit Richard Yates with 50.30 for fourth.

Hannah England took third over 800m with 2:01.42 as fellow Brits Emma Jackson and Laura Weightman finished 10th and 11th with 2:03.96 and 2:07.14 respectively. Michael Rimmer posted 1:45.51 for fourth in the men’s race.

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Mo Farah to manage Arsenal Legends in charity match

Elsewhere, double Olympic champion Mo Farah has been named as the man to lead an Arsenal Legends team in a charity match to raise money for refugees around the world on June 23.

The Arsenal fan’s involvement with the event, which marks the United Nation’s World Refugee Day on June 20 and is to be held at Barnet’s Underhill Stadium, means Farah won’t be running the 3000m at the European Athletics Team Championships, with that distance taking place on the same day as the charity match.

With teams to be named next week, he could still compete over the 1500m or 5000m, with those events held the day before, on June 22.

Former ‘golden girl’ of GB athletics Donna Hartley dies

In other, sad, news, the former 400m Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Donna Hartley-Wass has died.

Reports state that Hartley, who won both the 400m and 4x400m relay at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada, before going on to win 4x400m relay bronze at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, passed away unexpectedly aged just 58 as she sunbathed at her home in Yorkshire.

For a more in-depth tribute to Donna see the June 13 issue of AW.

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