British female endurance is on the up

Published 22nd October 2020 by mymo

Despite a year of scarce racing, we have seen some awesome performances in British running, especially in the area of female endurance. Who are the top performers, who are the ones to watch, and most importantly what are their running shoes of choice?

Girls on track

Starting with the remarkable Jess Juddsome female runners are just built to run well anywhere. Jess and other outstanding track athletes like Laura Muir translate from spikes to the mud of cross country with enviable ease. Jess ran 15:36 at the Podium 5K this summer to finish second, while starting the year (and pre-Covid race suspensions) with a win at the Essex County XC champs. Muir continues to show outstanding form wherever she lines up despite balancing life as a full time athlete with her career as a vet. Muir is sponsored by Nike while Judd is an Adidas athlete. 

We can’t ignore North East athlete Laura Weightman (Nike) who had an incredible track season notably at the Diamond League meetings before closing her season with an outstanding 15:10 at the Fast 5k.

Half marathon dreams

Tokyo dreams are playing out in colour for many of our British Half Marathon runners. While we can’t ignore the superb times run by Charlotte Purdue and Lily Partridge they are perhaps best known for their amazing marathon performances. Coming through the ranks are Samantha Harrison (Nike) who dazzled at the Vitality Big Half in 2020 to finish second after leading most of the way. She ran in the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships last weekend in Poland, running a superb time of 71:53 and first British athlete home. A late selection for the World Half Marathon Championships gave Becky Briggs (none) a fantastic opportunity after a gutsy run at the Antrim Half in September (72:54). Cardiff athlete Jenny Nesbitt (Hoka) is always an exciting prospect again showing range from track to road with a Half Marathon PB of 72:54 and metronomic pacing to half way for the OQ group at the Virgin Money London Marathon in October 2020. 

The wild card could be Eilish McColgan (Asics) who paced a superb group to over half way of the London Marathon, forcing many to suspect she might be ready to make the jump in distance despite being perhaps best known for her track performances over 800m, 1500m and the steeplechase.

Twenty six point two 

Arguably the most exciting area for female endurance running at the moment is in the marathon. The Olympic standard (2:29:30) for females was met by five British girls due to line up at the postponed 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. Only two of these made it to the start of the postponed event: Lily Partridge and Steph Twell, some arriving at the new date injured and others choosing instead to switch their focus to the World Championships Half Marathon on October 17th.  

The top performers Jess Piasecki (Nike) (2:25:28), Charlotte Purdue (Nike) (2:25:38), Steph Twell (New Balance) (2:26:40), Steph Davis (none) (2:27:40) and Lily Partridge (Adidas) (2:29:24) are being chased by many others coming through the ranks such as the recently crowned British Champion Natasha Cockram (Nike), Tish Jones (Adidas), Elsey Davis, Jenny Spink (none) and Hayley Carruthers (Hoka). 

The marathon is changing, with more younger athletes switching their focus to 26.2 and the Tokyo Olympic marathon is an exciting prospect.

Beyond ultra

Fell running, FKT (fastest known times) and Ultra distance is definitely no longer a man’s game, either. Jasmin Paris is a force of nature, taking the all-time Spine Race record in 2019 leading the field in a show of incredible endurance over 268 miles in appalling conditions. Paris is sponsored by Inov-8. 

Ask about incredible female runners and Nicky Spinks is also bound to get a mention, the 53 year old force of nature just keeps getting better, holding fell running records including a double Bob Graham, the Ramsey Round and the Paddy Buckley Round. Nicky is another Inov-8 athlete. 

Salomon athlete Beth Pascall has made some post-lockdown waves too, claiming the new Bob Graham round FKT in the lake district this summer, a record previously held since 2016 by Jasmin Paris. 

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