Sunday saw the eagerly awaited Trafford 10K. After the exploits of Chris Thompson in 2010 (destroying the field and the course record on his way to clocking 28 mins 02 secs) it wasn’t going to be easy to top last year, but that didn’t stop Dave Norman and his team putting together arguably one of the strongest fields seen in a domestic 10K for some time.
Top of the start list was Ron Hill, one of the best runners around in his day, and still a regular at many races up and down the country. Other names on everyone’s lips before the start included Alistair Browlee (sadly a non-starter), Andi Jones (2nd in 2009), Stephen Hepples, Jonny Taylor and Ricky Stephenson. Along with a couple of UK based Kenyans in the form of Edwin Kipkorir and Zachary Kihara (both Birchfield Harriers), there was no doubt this was a classy field.
In the Women’s race the field was even stronger, with the likes of Tara Krzywicki (Charnwood AC), Andrea Woodvine (Chester le Street), Amy Hutchinson (Cardiff), Emily Pidgeon (Stroud AC) and Kate Avery (Shildon AC) on a start list of 800.
Conditions were good, with the early morning rain (snow for some of us of the trip over) gone and little in the way of wind, fast times were there for the taking.
A large group quickly formed at the head of the race, with Taylor and Stephenson at the front along with Owen Greene (Trafford AC) and Trafford 10K regular Jon Wills (Bristol & West) as they passed the 1KM mark.
Stephenson, Kipkorir and Kihara took turns on the front, with the two Kenyans putting in fast bursts, before slowly down again, almost toying with the others.
Kipkorir was clearly the strongest and had a 15 metre lead coming into the finish straight, enough to hold off a fast finishing Taylor, with Ricky Stephenson in 3rd.
In the women’s race Ava Hutchinson was a clear winner, but only 30 seconds separated the next 6 women. Emily Pidgeon took second place, with Kate Avery third.
Much was said about Chris Thompson’s winning time last year (28:02 – 2 mins 15 under the previous record set in 2009 by Mark Warmby), but special mention should be given to Hutchinson who took over two and a half minutes of the old women’s record this year, with 9 women going under the course record set in 2009, there can be little doubt this was the best field ever assembled for the Trafford 10K.