Davies prepares for Brighton Marathon with superb run at Colchester Half
PUBLISHED: 12:44 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 26 March 2019
Helen Davies is bang on course to smash her personal best for the marathon, when she defends her Brighton Marathon title next month.
Davies confirmed her red-hot form by easing to another victory at the hugely-popular Colchester Half-Marathon on Sunday, to complete her build-up to the 26.2-miler on the East Sussex coast on Sunday, April 14.
The Ipswich JAFFA stalwart has now won the ladies’ title at the Colchester event for the last four years, while in Brighton she will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of marathon wins.
Before taking a break from competitive running to start a family, just under seven years ago, Davies had already enjoyed a terrific running career.
She had represented Great Britain in the women’s marathon at the European Championships in Barcelona in July, 2010 (2hrs 43mins 00secs), and just three months later she ran for England at the Commonwealth Games in the heat of Delhi (2:49:24).
Two years later and Davies posted her personal best time of 2:34:11 at the London Marathon of 2012.
Against the odds, the 39-year-old is even better shape on her return to serious training and racing.
Back-to-back Brighton Marathon titles in 2017 (2:42:37) and 2018 (2:38:41) have been complemented by four straight wins at the Colchester Half-Marathon, the latest of them last weekend when a bumper field (there were an amazing 2,923 finishers) enjoyed some excellent running conditions.
Davies eased home in seventh place overall, in 1:13:50, without ever reaching top gear.
The men’s title, meanwhile, went to Colchester Harriers’ Ramadan Osman, who set a personal best of 1:08:45 to retain the title that he had won 12 months earlier (in 1:09:36).
Davies is full of confidence, following her latest outing at Colchester – the course took in the town centre before heading out towards Langham and Boxted, and finishing at Colchester United FC’s JobServe Community Stadium, where the event had started.
““It went really well, just three weeks before Brighton,” explained Davies.
“I ran it as a tempo run. The plan was to run at marathon pace, and finish in around 75 or 76 minutes, but I felt so good and I felt very relaxed running that bit quicker.
“I really surprised myself with the time. It was the same sort of time from the Vitality Big Half (staged from Greenwich) two weeks ago, when I ran 1:13:56 in a gale-force wind.
“Last weekend I felt the opposite effect, because the hardest thing was trying to hold myself back! If I hadn’t run a deliberately controlled race, then I would probably have run a PB.
“But it was best to save it for three weeks time, and it confirms that my build-up has gone well. Everything has been good, with no injuries, no bad illnesses and some reasonable weather, so I haven’t missed any training days.
“I have signed off my marathon block of training, with this Colchester Half run, and I will now start the taper-down for Brighton.
“My times in training have been good as well, so this is all such a big confidence-booster.
“My target at Brighton is to run faster and aim for a PB. That should be no problem, so long as the weather behaves itself.
“Obviously you can lose two minutes very quickly in a marathon, and a lot will depend on the weather, but I’m hoping for between 2:32 and 2:34,” added Davies, who comes from Rushmere St Andrew.
With reference to last Sunday’s event, Davies said: “I love doing the Colchester Half. It was my fourth year and my fourth win. The first half has all the hills, with North Hill and Ipswich Road, but also has the crowds, and it’s then as flat as a pancake out in the countryside.
“The run-in to the finish is also a good-feel factor. I think it’s a great event.”
Top 20 men: 1 R Osman (Colchester Harriers) 1:08:45; 2 C Burgoyne (Springfield Striders) 1:09:47; 3 S Strange (Basildon) 1:12:19; 4 S Ramsey (Hadleigh Hares) 1:23:44; 5 M Spencer (Ipswich JAFFA) 1:12:56; 6 R Reason (Harwich Runners) 1:13:29; 7 A Holford (Woodford Green) 1:13:57; 8 S Skinner (Run-Fast) 1:13:58; 9 T Gavin (Felixstowe Road Runners) 1:14:22; 10 K Swan (Braintree & District) 1:15:16.
11 J Gunn (Col/Harr) 1:15:54; 12 J Bosher (Grange Farm) 1:16;22; 13 K Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) 1:16:48; 14 C Conor (Braintree) 1:17:05; 15 C Martin (Witham RC) 1:17:40; 16 S Burditt (Stowmarket Striders) 1:18:19; 17 C Baker 1:18:12; 18 D Lindsay (Springfield) 1:18:34; 19 R Heath (Col/Harr) 1:18:45; 20 M Mawby (East Kent) 1:19:20 .
To 10 ladies: 1 H Davies (JAFFA) 1:13;50; 2 R Sweatt (Witham RC) 1:19:53; 3 J Stretton (Springfield) 1:23:16; 4 L Thomas (JAFFA) 1:24:15; 5 M Evans (Chelmsford AC) 1:24:25; 6 N Brockbank (Springfield) 1:25:25; 7 A Goodwin (Ipswich Harriers) 1:26:46; 8 N Smith (Unattached) 1:26:43; 9 A West (Un) 1:28:54; 10 P Robinson (Grange Farm) 1:29:09.