All eyes on this Sunday's Grand Prix as runners aim for top ten

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The fifth race of the runbritain Grand Prix takes place this Sunday at the Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon giving those in contention for the overall prize money the opportunity to climb up the score board.

Grand Prix points are awarded for the first 250 finishing positions in the six races that are in the series. 250 points are awarded to the first British finisher, down to 1 point for the 250th British finisher. There are extra points available for men who run faster than 65 minutes and women who run faster than 71 minutes in the half marathons and faster than 30 minutes (men) and 33 minutes (women) in the 10ks . Up to the best four scores from the six available races count at the end of the series. If the athlete scores points in less than four Grand Prix events, their best two, three or single score will count towards the final standings. Prize money totals £18,000 and is shared by the top 10 male and female British runners at the end of the series.

With four races already done and with some runners having points from all four, eyes are now on the score board for the last two races to see if those who have only done two or three races so far can make their move.The fifth race takes place this Sunday at the Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon and the sixth race will take place at the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10k on 16 November.

The women's race looks like it could change quite dramatically. Samantha Amend (handicap 1.5) is the current leader after doing all four races so far (951 points) but all of those in the top 9 have finished in the top ten in at least one race so far and have done either two or three races. Samantha has not signed up for Cardiff. Eyes will be on Tish Jones (handicap MINUS 0.9) who is in 5th, on the scoreboard, after only doing two races so far with 497 points. If she wins at Cardiff, she will have 747 points and this would give her a bigger score than any of the others, who have done three races, have to date.

Emma Stepto (handicap MINUS 0.7) who is currently 2nd with 737 points and was the Bristol Half Marathon champion in 2013 in 73:40 is on the entry list as is Emily Wicks (handicap MINUS 0.1) who is currently in third with 734 points. Both Emma and Emily did the first three races of the series.

This year, only Gemma Steel (handicap MINUS 2.6) has earned any bonus points but she has only done one race, the BUPA London 10000 where she got 250 points for winning and a further 100 bonus points for breaking 33 minutes. The women's competition is a very close affair.

On the other hand, the men's compeition sees Scott Overall (handicap MINUS 5.3) in the lead with 1398 points after doing all four races and achieving 100 bonus points at the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon, Bupa London 10000 and an extra 200 points at the BMC 10k track festival for breaking 29:30. He has not entered this fifth race at the time of going to print.

Nick Torry (handicap MINUS 4.7) is currently third in the men's standings off just three races. He has an impressive total of 838 after gaining an extra 100 bonus points for breaking 65 minutes at the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon. Nick will run in Cardiff, this weekend. If he wins this race and gains 100 bonus points for breaking 65 minutes again he would increase his total to 1188. 

Paul Martelletti (handicap MINUS 4.5) is presently in 2nd with 969 points after four races and he will also line up for this fifth race,

Another male athlete to earn bonus points, this year, is John McDonnell (handicap MINUS 4.4) who is somewhat younger than his Grand Prix competitors and appears to be sticking to the 10ks. John is currently in 5th after three races. He earned 231 points at the Bristol 10k and 230 at the BUPA London 10000 but had a breakthrough at the BMC Trafford 10k when he took 249 points for 2nd place and an extra 100 for breaking 30 minutes. He currently has 810 points. It will be interesting to see if he lines up for the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10k as he has not entered the Cardiff race. Another set of points around the 350 mark at Leeds may well put him in the top three.

Good luck if you are racing at Cardiff this weekend! Will you be on the scoreboard?


(Article corrected 1/10/14 - Scott Overall has 1398 points and not 1298 as previously stated; Gemma Steel has earned an extra 100 bonus points).