Three of Wales’ top middle-distance runners who represented Team Wales on the Gold Coast, will go head to head on Sunday 6th May in Cardiff for the title of Welsh 5k Road Champion.
Tom Marshall [James Thie] who ran the 1500m in Australia will go up against Ieuan Thomas [James Thie] and Jonathan Hopkins [Chris Jones], who competed over the barriers in the 3000m steeplechase. The three boys are good friends but will become rivals for the night with a close race expected. They’ll be joined by local athlete, Charlotte Arter [Chris Jones] of Cardiff AAC, who’ll be looking for a fast time ahead of racing on the track over 10,000m in a couple of weeks.
Tom Marshall is defending champion and course record holder – winning last year’s race in 14m35secs – and said: "I can't wait to be back to defend my title at the Whitchurch 5k. It's an event that is done right, with great entertainment, a quick course, and friendly people. I have a feeling this year will be a lot tougher with Hoops, and Ieuan, but I'm not there to make their lives easy.”
“Ieuan might be sub 4 (for the mile), but I'm pretty sure NIAC is short." he joked.
"Tom's the 2-time defending champ and beat me to the title the last time I ran in Whitchurch. Johnny took me down on the Gold Coast. Does that make me the underdog? Absolutely not. I'm the only one of the favourites who knows what it feels like to dip the 14-minute mark. I may not be able to outkick the milers, but I sure can outrun them!" responded Ieuan Thomas, World Championship finalist at London 2017.
Jonathan Hopkins has the fastest time this year, running a personal best of 14m05 in Armagh back in February, and is looking forward to making his debut at the event: “I’ve always wanted to compete at the Welsh 5km Road Championships but it hasn’t quite worked with my racing plans over the past few years. Looking at my racing schedule post-Commonwealth Games, it was the ideal place to get myself back going for the 2018 track season. The field is strong at the front which makes the race exciting. Competition motivates me more than anything and I’m looking forward to battling it out with Tom and Ieuan on Sunday”.
Others with the potential to mix it with the Gold Coast boys, include Abed Teweldebrhan of Newport Harriers, who was third in last week’s ABP Newport 10k.
In the women’s race defending champion Alaw Beynon Thomas [Swansea Harriers] is back but will face tough competition from Cardiff AAC runners, Clara Evans, and Charlotte Arter. Charlotte recently represented Great Britain at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, and won the Brighton 10k in a PB of 32.17 and will compete for GB again on the track at Highgate on 19th May.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to racing again at Whitchurch, it’s been 3 weeks since I raced at the Brighton 10k and it’s a good chance for me to turn my legs over a little bit quicker ahead of the Highgate 10k in a few weeks’ time. This will be the first time I’ve run the Whitchurch 5k, and I’m really looking forward to it – the event is very well set up and it’s going to be a lot of fun racing around the streets of Whitchurch. Training has been going well, and I’m relishing the chance to test my fitness once more on Sunday” said Charlotte
“Charlotte will look to use the 5k as preparation for the Highgate 10k on 19th May where she’ll be looking to qualify for the Great Britain European Championships team.” Commented Chris Jones, National Endurance Manager, and “for the boys it’s a rebuilding phase after an intense period during the Games. This is an exciting opportunity for them to race each other on the road, before their thoughts turn back to the track, and hopefully pushing for European selection, especially Jon and Ieuan in the Steeplechase.”
Over 2000 local runners will race alongside the elite runners at the Cardiff 5K round the closed roads of Whitchurch with a great atmosphere expected again, supplemented by live music, street food stalls, and a supercar parade. The race will be started by BBC Wales weather presenter, Sue Charles, a regular at Cardiff parkrun.