Masterly achievement for Spartan duo

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TWO Jersey Spartan AC athletes have qualified to represent England in their age categories in forthcoming distance races in the UK.

Lara James, who is in the 40-44 age group, will don an England vest in the Chester Marathon on Sunday and Sue Le Ruez, who is in the 65-69 age group, will do the same in the Chester 10km next March.

They will be among 12 qualifiers in each age group selected by England Athletics for the races in a new Masters series.

After having her qualification race delayed twice because of Covid, James finally won the vest in the Milton Keynes marathon last year, finishing in 3hrs 26 min and placing second in her age category.

‘It has been a long time coming,’ said James. ‘In 2019, a running friend told me about the England Masters road running team and he said I should go for it. I thought he was over optimistic but put my name forward anyhow.

‘I was surprised and happy to get on this highly prestigious team and I’m so excited to run for England as part of it.

‘It wasn’t until around 2017 that I started to get more interested in running and [now] I run around seven hours a week in training, six days a week, over 2,000 miles a year in all weathers.’

Meanwhile, Le Ruez qualified in the Wrexham 10km this July, finishing in 51min 29 sec, placing first in her age group.

A JSAC member for 40 years, the former Island Games competitor said that she, too, wondered if she was being over-ambitious.

‘Looking at some of the other qualification races, I know there are women in my age group who are faster but it is nice to have achieved a certain standard,’ she said.

‘Unfortunately, getting older means getting slower and more prone to injury. An injury at the moment has halted my training, so I have fingers crossed that I can get it sorted and work towards the race next year.

‘I believe that Lara and I are the first Jersey runners to qualify in the series but am sure that others will follow. It’s a great incentive for veteran runners.’

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