Jonny Mellor enjoys breakthrough run
BRIT LANDS PB AFTER IMPROVING MID-RACE DRINKING ABILITY
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)