Elite field announced for 5th Grand Prix race

Cardiff Half Marathon

Jess Coulson (handicap MINUS 1.3) heads a strong women’s field for the 2014 Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday 5th October.

The Stockport Harrier took top spot in our news piece yesterday after her performance at Saturday's Northern Road Relays achieved a lower handicap score than any other female runner in the last seven days. Jess took the European U23 Cross Country title in 2012 and has proved her road running prowess with a 33:00 minute best for 10km and 52:53 for 10 miles. She will now make her debut over the half marathon distance in Cardiffnext month and her first appearance in a Grand Prix race.


The 2013 Bath Half Marathon champion Perendis Lekapana, Joan Chelimo and Gladys Yator all of Kenyawill aim to challenge Jess to the title won by Purity Kimetto (Kenya) in 2013.

Last year’s British ChampionTish Jones (handicap MINUS 0.9) will return to Cardiffto defend her title and compete for open race honours after improving her lifetime best to 72:55 at the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon in March. Tish is currently 5th in the women's Grand Prix standings but this is off just two races, whereas those in front of her have done at least three.


Rebecca Robinson (handicap MINUS 0.5) has also run two races in the Grand Prix this year and is sitting in 6th in the standings. Rebecca has run 73:22 and previously represented Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the World Half Marathon Championships.


Samantha Amend (handicap 1.8) is leading the Grand Prix, with 951 points, after having done all four races so far but, to date, has not put her entry in for this fifth race. 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.


Lucy Macalister (handicap 0.6) andAva Hutchinson (handicap 3.2) have also all previously run sub-75 minutes. Ava won Team Gold at the European Cross Country Championships with Irelandin 2012 before competing in the 2012 Olympic Marathon.


Jessica Parry-Williams (handicap 2.2) ran impressively last year to finish second in the British Half Marathon Championships and emphatically take the Welsh title in her home city. Jessica will return this year with Kate Roberts (handicap 1.7) and Emma Wookey (handicap 1.5), both looking to cause an upset.


The men’s field will see defending champion Loitarakwai Lengurisi, last year’s third placer Boniface Kongin and Ugandan Ben Siwa joined by Phil Wicks (handicap MINUS 4.9) who has previously run 62:51 for the distance. Other favourites for the British title include Nick Torry (handicap MINUS 4.7) who, like Tish Jones, will return to defend his British title won in Cardifflast year. Nick recently finished 13th in the Commonwealth Games Marathon, competing for England. He is currently third in the men's standingsoff 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. 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,


The current leader of the Grand Prix, Scott Overall (handicap MINUS 5.3) has 1298 points after doing all four races and achieving 100 bonus points at the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon, Bupa London 10000 (for breaking 30 minutes) and the BMC 10k track festival. He has not entered this fifth race at the time of going to print.


Also on the start line will be John Beattie (handicap MINUS 4.6), Tom Payn (handicap MINUS 3.7) and Neil Renault (handicap MINUS 4.3) who have all previously run under the 65 minute mark. Notably Matt Gunby (handicap MINUS 2.3), Martin Williams (handicap MINUS 3.5), Ben Fish (handicap MINUS 4.3) and Sebastian Reinwand (Germany) will also start.


Welsh interest will come as Ieuan Thomas (handicap MINUS 4.5) and his Cardiff AAC clubmate Jon Hopkins (handicap MINUS 4.4 ), both debut at the half marathon. Jon will be looking to add a title to his Cardiff10k victory in September. Phil Matthews (handicap MINUS 2.7) won the Welsh title in 2010 and along with Joshua Griffiths (handicap MINUS 3.4) will be the most likely to challenge Thomas and Hopkins.


Grand Prix points are awarded for the first 250 finishing positions. 250 points will be awarded for 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. 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.


Can you get on the scoreboard for this fifth race in the Grand Prix?