IAN BLOOMFIELD has called off his bid to attempt to break the British over-60 marathon record in Florence on Sunday.
The Chester-le-Street athlete (pictured, right) has sustained an ankle injury and has been struggling over the last month to complete his training runs.
“I just can’t get up on my toes when running. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it is still very painful. I was hopeful it would clear up, but with less than a week to go to the race, it is still a struggle to run.
“I’m gutted as I have been planning for this race for a long time. I’m 60 on Friday and the Florence marathon would have been my 60th race over the distance and the highlight of my birthday.
“I was in really good shape, running just over 60 miles a week and going well. I’m a lot fitter than when I ran the Marathon of the North.’’
The former Sunderland schools’ mile champion’s Florence target was the UK record of 2.46.46 – a time well within his grasp.
He showed what a good competitor he is and amazed many, at the age of 59, to finish third in the inaugural Sunderland Marathon of the North, clocking 2.51.25 in May. Since then he has recorded 81.11 in the Redcar half marathon, ran 60.46 for ten miles at Thirsk and clocked 36.41 for 10k in the Tees Pride 10k, winning his age category in the three events.
Bloomfield’s highlight of his marathon career was when he captained Great Britain in the World Cup from Marathon to Athens. His fastest marathon was set at Boston with 2.17.42 in 1994.
“I’ve booked up for Florence so I will still be at the race. But it will be a wrench watching it from the sidelines. Now I will be looking for another marathon. It could be back to Sunderland and the Marathon of the North next April.’’ he added.
H The Start Fitness North East Harrier League is going from strength to strength following the second fixture at Blaydon.
A total of 992 runners competed in the nine events, with the senior men’s race having 460 finishers – 35 more than the previous record set at Cramlington three weeks earlier. The women’s race had 198 finishers, 19 more than the previous best, also at Cramlington.
The women’s league standings are: First division 1 Tynebridge 2pts, 2 Tynedale 6, 3 Heaton 8, 4 Blackhill 8, 5 North Shields 9, 6 Gateshead 10, 7 Sunderland Strollers 14, 8 Wallsend 15, 9 Elvet 19, 10 Durham 19.
Second division: 1 Elswick 2pts, 2 Morpeth 7, 3 Low Fell 7, 4 Jesmond Joggers 11, 5 Blyth 11, 6 Sunderland Harriers 13, 7 Alnwick 18, 8 Saltwell 24.
H The leading positions in the Sunderland Harriers’ cross country grand prix are: Paul Redman 18pts, Len Christopher 15, Dean Phillips 15, Aimee Adey 14, Nathan Reed 13, Michael Hill 12, Paul Merrison 12, David Savage 12, Steve Graham 12.
H Elswick Harriers stage their Norman Woodcock Memorial five mile road race at Gosforth Park on Saturday (2.00pm).The UKA European Cross Country Trials take place at Liverpool on Saturday.