Jess Coulson, British half-marathon champion

2015-10-19, , Comments

Strangely I’ve forgotten the pain suffered in the final miles of the Cardiff half marathon. What pain? I’ll run it again and get the PB I missed by 10 seconds!

After the event I caught up with the coverage on iplayer. I knew the headlines — that Kenyan athletes had won both the men’s and women’s race — but didn’t know how. Both races turned out to be fascinating and thrilling to watch, the women’s race especially.

It seemed the race would follow a standard script with the leader, Jerotich, ratcheting the pressure until she dropped her rivals, and then holding on. Soon after 10K a winning margin was established. The commentators were struggling to find anything to say. The kilometers ticked down. Jerotich runs with that efficient style the top endurance runners employ; quick, shuffling strides, feet barely clearing the tarmac. As a spectator you can sense the long hard miles of training and the long hard miles to come.

jerotich areba coulson

Live coverage returned to the women’s race coming along the straight road back from Roath. The winning margin remained in place, though it hadn’t extended. Jerotich was frowning. What the commentators failed to notice was a yellow vest in the background. It could, of course, have been an elite male runner making a late surge, but the mystery athlete’s hair was gathered into a swaying top-knot. Now the cameras went back to her. It’s Rebecca Robinson, said the commentators, wrongly. It was Jess Coulson making her competitive half marathon debut and she was motoring, bouncing off her toes, eating the gap to the second runner, Areba. Wasteful, the commentators tutted, arms flapping all over the place. Maybe, but fast, gutsy and exciting to watch.

Jess Coulson’s effort brought the race back together. With 400m to go, suddenly three runners were in it. If Coulson wanted second place she may have struck a fraction early, passing Areba on the final left hander — but she wanted first. It wasn’t to be. Jerotich had something left and held on for the win; Areba came back for second; Coulson got third. Great race!