Ipswich runner Davies wins Snetterton 10K outright
PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 January 2019
Helen Davies was not only the first female, but also first overall, as she produced a personal best performance at the Snetterton Race Track 10K on an ice-cold Sunday morning in Norfolk.
Davies’ dynamic display suggested that another cracking marathon time might be just around the corner.
The 39-year-old Ipswich-based international surged to victory in 33mins 41secs at Snetterton, clipping 34 seconds off her PB, set at the Ipswich Twilight 10K last summer (34:15).
It was a confidence-boosting run, as she prepares to step up her training schedule ahead of this April’s Brighton Marathon, where she will be attempting to lift the ladies’ title for the third successive year.
“Training had been going well, but it was difficult to judge my fitness because I had not raced since last October,” said Davies.
“I had set my personal best at Ipswich in 30 degrees heat, and had been held up a little during the race so I felt robbed of a sub-34 minute time that day. I therefore knew that if I ran well, then I should get under 34 minutes at Snetterton.
“I told myself that I needed to go out hard, or else go home! It’s a very fast, flat course, although it is a bit exposed so the wind could be a massive factor.
Fortunately, even though it was freezing cold, the conditions were very still, and my aim was to run 3:20 per kilometre and try to hang on.
“I had a chap running with me for the first 5K. I was able to sit in behind him and still felt quite comfortable. There was no point in going past him because we were inside 3:20 pace.
“He went off the pace after 5K, so from then on it was just me and the open road. Even the lead car had to peel off after the first lap, because of all the back-markers, so I was a bit isolated for the second 5K.
“I just got my head down and remained positive, running as hard as I could rather than looking at my watch.
“This was my first race at Snetterton, and looking at the times from previous years I knew that I might be running on my own. It was effectively a time-trial for me in the end.
“Clive (Sparkes), my coach, is out in Australia at the moment, and he was shocked at how fast I ran. He was really surprised,” added Davies, who in the past has also finished an outright winner (beating all the men) at the Capel 5 (2018) and Langham 10K (2009).
A leading light at Ipswich JAFFA, Davies has been running at the top of her game since returning to competitive running after starting a family.
She had represented her country in the marathon at the European Championships (in Barcelona) and Commonwealth Games (in Delhi), both in 2010, and went on to set a personal best for the 26.2-mile distance two years later, with a 2:34:11 clocking at the 2012 London Marathon.
And since her return to the sport, she has won back-to-back Brighton Marathon titles, clocking 2:42:37 in 2017 and 2:38:41 in 2018, in addition to running for England at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Canada last year, where she posted a swift 2:35:12.
“I’m really benefiting from extra support now,” said Davies.
“I have received terrific support from The Hub at the University of Suffolk, thanks to Nino Severino.
“I’ve had a lot of testing, and been give a nutritional plan and advice on recovery, which has boosted my confidence still further, having known that I was in good shape.
“It’s also helped to be put on the UKA endurance invitation funding scheme, which means that I get allocated a small pot of money. I can choose how to use it, to benefit my running, and I am putting this into physio, massage and nutrition.
“It means I can now visit the physio weekly, and have two massages a week, while sourcing the right nutrition.
“And Coes (retailers) are now my main sponsors. They provide me with all of my running kit and shoes. Coes have been amazing, and very supportive.
“So all-in-all, 2019 has started very well for me, with all this extra support. All these marginal gains will help,” added Davies, whose next race will be the Great Bentley Half-Marathon on February 3.