Hot-to-Trot : Brooks Does GB (and HAC) Proud!
The Hungarian capital – Budapest – is famed for many things; most notably the sheer volume of thermal spas and hot springs which decorate its historic streets. And, despite leaving her swimsuit at home, Karen Brooks certainly proved herself to be bubbling warmly this past week, as she donned red-white, and blue to represent Great Britain at the World Masters Indoor Championships, in that fair ville.
Selected for both the 800m and 1500m – in the FV50 age bracket – Brooks thereby added to her previous GB vests (in 2012), and undoubtedly performed way beyond expectations, registering a series of lifetime best times. Firstly, in the 800m heats, a 2:33.18 gave her qualification for the final; as fourth quickest overall. A day on, that final had her rubbing shoulders with the World Record holder, and as the elder stateswoman in the field. However, undaunted, she more than justified her selection with a combative display that rendered sixth place, courtesy of another personal best – a 2:31.23.
Throw forward – after a day’s rest – to the 1500m, and Brooks squared off athletes from Belgium, Sweden, France, Germany, Slovakia, and Turkey. That raft of European competitors proved to be well within Brooks’ compass, though, as a clocking of 5:26.79 saw her once again progress to the final. Held one day on, that culmination once again yielded a sixth-place return for her – with a time of 5:06.60.
Despite having seen Brooks miss out on a podium spot in each discipline, training partner – Rick Brown – was both delighted and profoundly impressed: “Karen just continues to go from strength-to-strength! Here, in the space of just four days, she has reduced her best ever times for both events by two and three seconds – which is incredible. And to do that in this calibre of opposition is tremendous. Everyone at the Club should be really proud of her; I certainly am!”
Elsewhere, Marise Taylor took the occasion of the Belvoir Half Marathon to make her debut over the 13.1 mile distance. Taking advantage of a nice, flat course, Taylor stopped the watch at 2:01:13, for a very encouraging first outing – also finishing with a bit of a flurry, with a swift final mile – placing 325th, overall. That run, on behalf of the charity, ‘Snehalaya’, saw her raise in excess of £300 to help towards buying cricket kit for impoverished youngsters in India.
For the habitual 5km Parkrun circuit, four Harborough AC members took to the trails. At Corby’s West Glebe Park venue, Adam Eales clocked 19:31 – for not only fifth spot, but also for a 19-second PB. Claire Eales, meanwhile, maintained her strong form with 31:12, amid over 70 runners. Suzi Neal opted for the one hundredth Northampton version for her first outing of 2014, posting 22:16 for 77th place, from more than 300 entrants. At Leamington, Matthew Taylor notched another 19-minuter (19:31 this time), for 14th position from close-to 400-strong field.