Jonny Mel­lor en­joys break­through run


Athletics Weekly - - nEWS -

JONNY MEL­LOR says his big PB in the BMW

Ber­lin Marathon last week­end is mainly down to mas­ter­ing the art of midrace re­fu­elling, writes Ja­son Hen­der­son.

The 30-year-old was hos­pi­talised due to de­hy­dra­tion after one of his pre­vi­ous marathons but his fo­cus on drink­ing dur­ing the run in the build-up to Ber­lin paid off with a 2:12:57 per­for­mance that saw him fin­ish 10th over­all – a re­sult should see him se­lected to rep­re­sent Eng­land in the Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia in April.

Mel­lor ran 2:16:52 in his de­but over 26.2 miles in Frank­furt two years ago but then slowed to 2:18:48 in Lon­don ear­lier this year.

In the lat­ter race, in April, he hit the wall dra­mat­i­cally and that was when he was taken to hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from de­hy­dra­tion. He has vowed to fo­cus on hy­dra­tion strate­gies since but, even then, he still went through a bad patch at half­way in Ber­lin and suf­fered from a stitch briefly in the sec­ond half of the race. Yet he held it to­gether to main­tain a con­sis­tent pace to the fin­ish.

“In Lon­don this year I didn’t take on enough fluid and paid the price,” he says. “I felt great at half­way but blew up badly in the sec­ond half.

“The big change pre­par­ing for Ber­lin was to prac­tise drink­ing in train­ing. My stom­ach doesn’t take the liq­uid too well but I am slowly get­ting used to it.

“In Ber­lin I had three gels – at 10km, 20km and 30km – whereas in Lon­don I only had one at 30km, which was too late. In Ber­lin I also drank once every 5km. I was prob­a­bly in just as good shape in Lon­don and Ber­lin but I was a lit­tle more ex­pe­ri­enced in Ber­lin and stayed re­ally pa­tient dur­ing the race, es­pe­cially in the early stages.”

Mel­lor was not an out­stand­ing ju­nior run­ner, but he be­gan to im­prove in his late teens and fin­ished sev­enth in the 3000m in his one and only English Schools Cham­pi­onships on the track.

As he de­vel­oped into the se­nior ranks he showed abil­ity on the roads and track over 10km es­pe­cially. He ran 28:42.20 for 10,000m but has steered clear of cross coun­try in re­cent years.

“I’m just no good at it,” he says. “It’s a case of horses for cour­ses and I can’t run well on the coun­try in the same way some great cross coun­try run­ners aren’t quite as good on the road or track.”

A move to the marathon was al­ways on the cards, though. “It was just a ques­tion of when I would do one,” he says.

Given this, his first two marathons must have knocked his con­fi­dence? “I thought ‘maybe I’m not cut out to be a marathon run­ner’,” he says. “I felt I was ca­pa­ble of run­ning a good marathon but un­til I did it there were al­ways go­ing to be doubts.”

Given the wet con­di­tions in Ber­lin, Mel­lor has the abil­ity to go faster, too, some­thing he will work on with his coach, Steve Ver­non. They are part of a New Bal­ance elite ath­lete team and Mel­lor lives in an ath­lete house in the north-west of Eng­land. He is thriv­ing un­der the guid­ance of the for­mer Na­tional cross coun­try cham­pion.

“Steve is al­ways pleased when his ath­letes run well,” says Mel­lor. “He goes above and be­yond the call of duty and puts ev­ery­thing into his role.”

Mel­lor’s Ber­lin run puts him No.2 on the UK rank­ings for 2017 be­hind Cal­lum Hawkins and 59th, just ahead of run­ners like Steve Binns, Dave Clarke and Dave Lewis on the na­tional all-time list. But the north­erner knows how to keep his feet on the ground and adds: “I’m only third on my club rank­ings at Liver­pool Har­ri­ers be­hind Ge­off Smith and Dave Mur­phy!”

Job well done: Jonny Mel­lor loved his Ber­lin ex­pe­ri­ence and met with the race win­ner, Eliud Kip­choge (in­set)

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