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Training partners Adam Hickey and Gemma Kersey look to build on Southend 10km wins
TRAINING partners Adam Hickey and Gemma Kersey are hoping victories at the Southend 10km will serve as the perfect building block as they look for further international honours this winter.
Hickey made it four wins on the bounce at his home-town race while Kersey won on her debut over the distance.
Both athletes, trained by another former winner Eamonn Martin, are hoping to win spots on the Great Britain team for the European Cross-Country Championships in Belgrade in December.
And they started their winter racing campaigns in style with comfortable wins on the Southend streets.
Hickey, 25, saw off the threat of his Southend AC team-mate Paul Whittaker halfway through the race before pushing home to finish in 31m 18s.
Whittaker came home in 31m 49s with Tom Frith making it a Seasiders one-two-three as he came home in third in 32m 09s.
Hickey said: “I was happy with that. I’m four weeks back into training after having a proper week off for the first time.
“I wasn’t too sure what shape I’d be in compared to last year when I had no break at all, but I was only 15 seconds off last year’s time so I’m happy with that.”
Hickey’s win was his sixth overall in a race which is one of his favourites on the calendar.
“I love this race,” he said. “I’ve been doing it since I was 15 and it’s always amazing to see so many people out running.”
Scott Sterling was fourth in 32m 35s with Billericay Striders’ Crispian Bloomfield fifth in 32m 59s.
Basildon AC athlete Kersey admitted her first 10km was the toughest race she’d ever run but still ran out a convincing victor.
The 21-year-old finished in 36m10s, good enough for 18th spot overall..
“I would have liked to have run 35 minutes but I came here to win,” said Kersey. “It was the hardest thing I’ve done though. It makes 7km/8km of cross-country seem easy!”
Kersey made her Great Britain debut at the European Cross-Country Championships in 2011 where she was part of the gold medal winning under-20 team.
After opting not to go for the team last year, she has her sights set on making the team again this time around in the under-23 category.
“Running a 10km was a good way to get me started towards the trials for the European Championships,” said Kersey.
“I’m feeling confident. I’ve had best few weeks of training behind me that I have had for a long time.”
Finishing second behind Kersey was Southend AC’s in-form Kerry Holland who clocked a personal best time of 37m 20s with Chilton’s Sian Thomas third in 38m 20s.
Billericay Striders’ Emma Prideaux was fifth and the first V40 finishing with a PB of 39m 9s.
The winner of the 3km junior race was Southend AC’s Toby Wright with brothers Adam and Daniel Harley, from East Essex Tri, second and third.
Southend AC’s Natasha May the first girl to cross the finish line, finishing ahead of team-mate Joanna Rimmington and Benfleet RC’s Sinead Clark.