ATHLETICS: That’s a long way to the start, Holly
HOLLY Rush will be going that extra mile for Sunday’s 32nd Bath Half-Marathon, writes Kevin Fahey.
Never one to shirk a challenge the British international marathon runner, who lives in Bradford on Avon, is using the race as part of her build-up to the prestigious Comrades ultra marathon in South Africa this summer.
While the elite female athletes will make the short jog from their overnight hotel to the start line in Great Pulteney Street, Rush will be running in from home in Wiltshire to ensure her training programme for the world-famous 54-mile race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg isn’t interrupted.
“I think it will be around nine miles from my home to Bath, so I’ll probably be hanging on for dear life during the race,” said Rush.
“I am in a big block of miles at the moment as I had to miss three weeks of training after my back seized up after winning the Naunton 18.3-mile multi-terrain race in January.
“I only decided to run Bath in the last week or so and as I am only three weeks back into my training I’m not sure what I will do. It will be very interesting.”
It is fair to say that Rush has had a love-hate affair with the race in recent years.
The last time she finished it was in 2008 when she clocked a then personal best of 74mins 26secs for fourth place, a time she has since improved to 74:04 in Cambridge last year.
“I have not run the race for ages and the last time I failed to finish it,” she added.
“I am hoping to bury a few demons and see what happens.”
Sunday’s race is just a means to an end with the Comrades marathon, arguably the most important ultra-distance road race in the world and one that attracts a staggering 20,000 runners, that is uppermost in her thoughts.
“I really want to run well in the Comrades Marathon and would love to finish in the top five or even the top three,” added Rush.