Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dan Robinson to make Blaydon Race debut

Evening Chronicle

EUROPEAN Championship-bound Dan Robinson is the latest big-name athlete to take his chance in tomorrow’s Start Fitness Blaydon Race.

Arguably the UK’s current top marathon runner, Robinson will make his Blaydon debut as part of his build-up for Barcelona at the end of July.

Although the 5.9-mile contest along Scotswood Road is just a short shift for him, he is looking forward to mixing it against 4,000 others – who include a strong domestic field and the usual sprinkling of Africans.

Robinson contested four high-profile 10km road races in May and, with a different build-up, he is hopeful a good run in the European Championships will erase the memory of having to drop out of this year’s London Marathon.

The Stroud-based double Olympian and Commonwealth bronze medallist said: “I have been purposely racing more over shorter distances in preparation for the Europeans which are just a few weeks away – and the Blaydon fits comfortably into that schedule.

“My training has being going well since pulling out around half-way in London, so the change seems to be working.

“Though I have not done anything particularly spectacular, I feel good races bring you on.

“I have heard so much about the Blaydon as I have known Ian Hudspith for many years and he has often asked me to run it.

“In the past, for whatever reason, it was not possible, but it fits in nicely this year as there are not many high-quality road races around as most of the lads are racing on the track.

“Having said that, I think I will be hanging on for grim death, but hopefully I will be as competitive for as long as possible.

“I know the race is extremely popular in the North East and I am sure, just like the Great North Run, there wll be plenty of spectators along the route to cheer me on.”

Cheer him on they will, but the crowds along the way will be hooting first for Hudspith as he bids to retain his title he won 12 months ago.

This year’s 30th running of the Blaydon, which starts at 7.15pm in Collingwood Street, has attracted its best-ever field – and those lining the route could be in for an interesting evening.

Blaydon organiser Bob Houston is delighted to see such a high-quality turnout for what is the region’s second-largest participation race behind the Great North Run.

He said: “Again we have a 4,000 limit, but we are also fortunate to have super endurance athletes.

“They are from not only from this country but from abroad, which makes the whole thing worthwhile.

“The Blaydon’s popularity knows no bounds which comes through strongly when the likes of Dan Robinson wants to run in what originally started of as just a local club promotion back in 1981.

“Dan will have stiff opposition this year, that is for sure.”