Race report: 2nd Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships - 24 hour race
Llandudno - Friday 23 September, 2011
It’s official – Lizzy Hawker (England) smashed the world best 24 hour performance by a woman on the road by 3.423 km at the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships. By the end they were calling her ‘Superwoman’ and who could disagree after Hawker kicked-off the Championship in north Wales with a world record on the road.
Llandudno has seen many things in its time, but the crowds watched in amazement as the diminutive English athlete smashed the 18-year-old world record by a full three kilometres as she ended 24 hours of pain and glory on Gloddaith Avenue by covering 246.4080 km – just over 153 miles.
Not only that, she was making her debut in the endurance event and came home ahead of all the men. It was still a proud day for Wales’ John Pares, who picked up the Commonwealth Men’s race gold medal, but he ended three kilometres short of Hawker.
Photos: A delighted John Pares and Lizzy Hawker ©CMUDC2011
“It was an honour to have been in the same race as Lizzy. She is a world class athlete – Superwoman!" admitted Pares, who also covered more than 150 miles with his 243.3 km.
“I stopped for a massage at midnight and she went past me. Then I had to decide whether or not to try to beat her and blow my chances of the gold medal, who just concentrate on my own race. In the end, I just focussed on winning the title for Wales. I’ve twice run further than her in this event, but she was simply fantastic over the two days.”
The 35-year-old Hawker, who won The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race over 110 miles only four weeks ago, admits to having first fallen in love with the mountains and running when she first saw the Matterhorn at the age of six.
Since then she has become one of the most feared ultra runners in the world and she broke the long standing British and Commonwealth 100 mile record on her way to victory.
Helped along with a diet of banana bread, a combination of jam and cheese sandwiches and melon, she never faltered after taking the lead and held a two lap lead over Pares by the end.
“I really didn’t know what to expect because it was my first race over the distance on the road,” said Hawker, who used to work as a scientist at the south pole with the British Antarctic Expedition.
“I didn’t have any huge expectations going into the race. It was just a case of staying fully focussed and blocking out the pain. It did hurt – a lot – but I’m really pleased to have won and taken the world record. It was also great to demonstrate just what women athlete’s can achieve by beating all the men.”
And after her record breaking success near the seafront in Llandudno in North Wales, next on her race agenda is an event in the foothills of the Himalayas. What else?
The officially calculated results for the Championship 24 hour race in Llandudno on 23-24 September, 2011, show a magnificent debut for the 35-year-old English athlete as she eclipsed the 1993 world best mark of Germany’s Sigrid Lomsky of 243.657 km.
Hawker also added a team gold to her individual medal and England also took the men’s team title. Wales’ John Pares took the men’s gold medal and led the host nation to a silver medal in the men’s team race.
Men's results - Commonwealth 24 Hour Road Race Championship
||237 laps / 244.335 km
||230 laps / 236.929 km
||225 laps / 231.164 km
Men’s Team Race: 1. England 668.335 km (Pat Robbins, Chris Carver, Richard Quennell); 2. Wales 664.244 km (John Pares, Sean McCormack, Jeremy Mower); 3. New Zealand 661.624 km (Bryan MacCorkindale, Alex McKenzie)
Women's results - Commonwealth 24 Hour Road Race Championship
||240 laps / 247.076 km * World Women’s Best
||214 laps / 220.480 km
||211 laps / 217.631 km
Women’s Team Race: 1. England 643.016 km (Lizzy Hawker, Marie Doke, Karen Hathaway), 2. Australia 619.190 km (Meredith Quinlan, Susannah Harvey-Jamieson, Sharon Scholtz), 3. Scotland 605.791 km (Deb Martin-Consani, Sharon Law, Pauline Walker)
Click here for full results
For news, photo galleries and further information on the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships programme, head over to www.cmudc2011.org