Stamford running ace Philippa Taylor ground out one of the biggest results of her athletics career so far on Saturday, placing third in the British Athletics 100k National Championships.
The Nene Valley Harrier was representing England in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100k, held at Gravesend in Kent.
Competing at the gruelling 62m distance for the first time, she finished the mentally and physically demanding 48-lap cyclo-park course in 8:31.28.
Taylor was first woman home for the England team, and was also awarded the British Championship silver medal, (the second woman home was not affiliated to England Athletics and so was ineligible for the prize).
The overall event was won by legendary endurance runner Steve Way from Bournemouth AC in a British record of 6:19.20. Way was third Brit in April’s London Marathon, behind only Mo Farah and Chris Thompson.
The Gravesend course consisted of a sharp downhill followed by an equalling challenging uphill, with each lap concluding with a gradual climb to the feeding station.
Taylor said the hills took their toll after a while: “After several hours of running, those hills seemed to get bigger and bigger.
“By about 50 miles I got severe calf cramp on the hill, so had to pull out twice for a massage, and dropped a place. But I hung on to come in third, in my first ever 100k, against very experienced ultra runners.
“We started the race at 8am and I ran continuously until 4.30pm. I was delighted to actually finish the race. It’s not just about getting the pace right, but also taking on sufficient food, and water is vital over so many hours. To then medal and represent England at a senior level was the icing on the cake.”
Taylor also won the Anglo Celtic Plate with an England teammate, their combined time being quicker than any of the other home countries’ teams.