Stunning 100k debut set to earn Venables England call

Melissa Venables on her way to second place in the Marathon de la Somme.
Melissa Venables on her way to second place in the Marathon de la Somme.

Spa Striders’ Melissa Venables achieved her aim of breaking the course record at the Marathon de la Somme in Amiens, France - her first-ever 100k race.

Venables, who shares coach Les Barnett with Great Britain ultra runner Sue Harrison, completed the course in 8hr 24min 46sec, beating the previous mark by more than ten minutes and achieving the England qualifying time for the Celtic Nations 100k.

The 40-year-old ran the first marathon distance in 3:31:39 and the second in 3:28:40 but said it was tough going in the closing stages.

“The final 10k were the toughest I have ever had to push through,” said Venables, who finished second behind Italian World Championship entrant Francesca Canepa and 17th overall.

“My legs were hurting, my lungs were screaming and my body was tired. I was fed up of fuelling and more than ready to see the finish line.

“The support from the crowd and my cyclist Rob Sharpe ensured there was no time to quit and running down the final promenade through the beautiful parc de la Hotoie to cross the 100k finish line in a time good enough to represent my country was what all the hard training had been about.

“A very proud moment.”