Freethorpe 10M: Ash Harrell targets England vest after breaking course record at Freethorpe
PUBLISHED: 20:17 26 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:32 26 January 2020
City of Norwich AC athlete Ash Harrell is targeting an England vest for the marathon after breaking the course record at the Freethorpe 10M race on Sunday.
Harrell put in a superb performance to knock more than three minutes off his winning time last year, breaking the finish line in 50:13. He hopes his run can help set up a chance to secure a new personal best in March when he toes the start line of the Barcelona Marathon.
Harrell feels like he has unfinished business at the marathon distance after 'blowing up' in London last year and feels in great shape to target sub 2:23, which would secure an England vest.
"It's a funny one - everyone always asks you what you want to run and you have a time in your head," he said after finishing well clear of the field at Freethorpe as Alan Darby (Ely Runners) and Michael Eccles (Bure Valley Harriers) took second and third in 53:29 and 54:15 respectively. "I'd quite like to run an England qualifying time so that's 2:23. Everything has got to go right on the day as any marathon runner will tell you but training has been going really well, so we will see."
Harrell is feeling the benefit of taking some time off towards the end of last year after an injury interrupted summer.
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"My body shut down at the London Marathon at 22 miles and it wasn't a great run in the end (2:31:42)," he added. "I ended up kind of chasing my tail after that, trying to come back and I spent from April to September with loads of niggles and I couldn't get any consistency in my training.
"There wasn't anything major but when you're trying to chase your fitness for a race then you're always doing the wrong thing. I ended up having a proper break and building up my mileage slowly.
"I've also started training with Highgate Harriers - there's a great group of us and I think that's really helped with my training. I'm so used to training solo so to train with a group sometimes can only impact positively."
Harrell led from start to finish at Freethorpe in blustery conditions at certain times on the course but was delighted to set a new personal best.
"I'm really happy with the outcome - it was really windy today," he said. "I wasn't quite sure how that was going to hinder my time today. We had a cross-wind for the first two or three miles and then from six miles onwards we had the wind with us so it was kind of a positive thing in the last four miles. It enabled me to keep pushing through to run a good time.
"With the marathon in seven weeks' time, I've not been able to find a half marathon that fits in with that so I wanted to have a good race here today. I knew I needed to run hard from the gun to try and be ready for Barcelona."