Oliver James representing Wales in the Trafford 10k

Oliver James was representing Wales at the Trafford 10k in a race with an extremely fast field

After an impressive run of recent performances, Oliver James had every reason to go into the Trafford 10k high on confidence. He’d finished 7th in the Under 20 Men’s race at the Southern Cross Country Championships before going on to take a silver medal in the Welsh National Cross Country Championships. He also recorded that incredible 34:37 time at the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon in a race which saw the two fastest ever times in that race produced by Ollie and Joe Arundel who won it.

He’d certainly earned his call up to represent the Wales team at the Trafford 10k which is thought to be one of the fastest courses in the UK and attracts an incredibly high standard field.

The weekend before the Trafford 10k Ollie had experienced disappointment after finishing 3rd in his heat at the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Athletics Indoor Championships 3000 metres. That meant he just missed out on a place in the final with his time of 8:28.89. That was gutting for Ollie but it still a 5 second PB and an incredibly impressive time.

The Trafford 10k was the perfect opportunity to bounce back from that for Ollie though and that was exactly what he intended to do.

Opening with a first mile split of 4:53, Ollie set his stall out for a monumental performance. He then went through the second mile in 4:55 before recording a 4:59 for his third mile. That led to a 15:17 5k which was faster than he’d ever run on the road before. Could he keep it going over the second half of the race though? That was the question.

Oliver James in action at the Trafford 10k

It turned out to be a sensational run from Ollie as his legs took him to new heights

Putting in a 4:53 for his fourth mile, there was now only 2.2 miles remaining. This was where he started to find it a little tougher and he really had to dig deep. Putting in a 5 minute split for his fifth mile and a 5:09 for his sixth, he’d done amazingly well to hang in there.

Closing it out at 5:06 pace for his last 0.2 miles, Ollie crossed the line in a staggeringly quick time of 30:48. That was a huge PB for him, with his previous best being a 32:19 at the Run Newcastle Valentines race.

Surprisingly, that 30:48 time only put him in 54th place, such was a high standard of the field he was in. Nevertheless, it was an extraordinarily impressive effort from Ollie and definitely one to be immensely proud of. His average pace for the run was 4:58.

Victor Urquhart Smangs was the race winner in time of 28:57, with Andrew Heyes of Hallamshire Harriers taking 2nd in 29:18 and Andrew Fyfe of Belgrave Harriers coming 3rd, also in 29:18. A total of 1,533 runners took part.

Amazingly, 26 men finished in under 30 minutes underlining the calibre of opposition OIlie was facing. Calli Thackery was 1st female in a time of 31:10 which put her 76th overall. 65 athletes ran under 31 minutes and 106 got in under 32 minutes. That included Lily Partridge who was 2nd female in 31:29 and Clara Evans of Pontypridd Roadents who was 3rd lady in 31:53.

Next it would be on to the Southern Road Relays for Ollie where he will line up in the first leg for Bournemouth AC. It’s a 12 stage event held at Stantonbury Athletics Track in Milton Keynes and with a place at the National Road Relays up for grabs, Ollie will be hoping he can spearhead the squad on to qualification.

Ollie James with his Wales teammates at the Trafford 10k

Ollie with his Wales teammates at the Trafford 10k