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    Gavin
    Participant

    Can’t believe it’s the last day! 🙁

    Did anyone see the marathons this morning? (Don’t read the following if you’re watching them later.)

    The men’s race was fairly uneventful won by Koen Naert (BEL) in a CR 2:09:51 from Abraham (SUI) and Rachik (ITA).

    However, the women’s race that started an hour earlier was terrific! There was “high-drama” in the first 30 minutes or so as we saw in the lead pack that pre-race favourite, Volha Mazuronak (BLR), had blood all over her face and hands. She looked like she’d gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson. It didn’t take long though to see it was a very heavy nose bleed that she was having problems stemming. She tried on the run to clean herself up with water but the nose bleeds kept on coming. It seemed like 30 minutes before the blood had abated and she finally got cleaned up with the help of some tissues from a marshall. I’ve never seen anything like it in an elite race!

    At halfway in 74:00 ten women were still together (with Purdue already a DNF at 10km and Partridge falling off the early pace 51 seconds behind.) Gradually, they whittled down to 7 then 4 then the final trio of medalists – Mazuronak, Eva Vrabcova (CZE) and Clemence Calvin (FRA) who was 2nd to Jo Pavey in Zurich 2014 and making her marathon debut today.

    Calvin who had been blowing hard since the 13km point really didn’t look comfortable and it looked like Mazuronak and Vrabcova would be successful in shaking her off. Over the last 10km Mazuronak kept on surging but Calvin kept on closing the 5-10m gaps that Mazuronak created. Vrabcova was also sticking in there but with 3-4km to go she was dropped so it was now a duel to the line between Mazuronak and Calvin. In the last kilometre Calvin finally took the lead but Mazuronak responded to take the lead back. Then the Belorussian nearly overshot a corner allowing Calvin to get level with her. With 300m to go they were locked together but Mazuronak had more left in her legs for the big kick to win in 2:26:22 to Calvin’s 2:26:28 (and 2nd European silver). Vrabcova closed a bit again to be 3 seconds further back in a 3 min PB & NR. Right until the closing moments it was impossible to tell who would prevail. A truly gripping race between the 3 medalists.

    Really good set of times at the European level, the first 3 negative-splitting by a minute and a half. The top 7 finished inside 2:28:10.

    Lily Partridge joined Charlotte Purdue on the bus back to the start line leaving Tracy Barlow as top Brit in 15th, a creditable run in rising temperatures.

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