Gunby aiming to extend fine record at Ely
BARNACK triathlete Matt Gunby seeks to end 2011 on a winning note when he defends his Ely New Year’s Eve 10k title on Saturday.
The former Peterborough Athletic Club member has an excellent record in the race, finishing second to Matt Barnes-smith in 2007 and Will Clarke in 2009 before tasting victory 12 months ago.
Gunby actually ran faster when beaten by fellow triathlon international Clarke in 2009 than he did when winning last year.
He clocked 30.46 to Clarke’s 30.05 while March-based international Glen Watts had to settle for third in a high quality race in 31.16.
Two years earlier he ran 30.58 but finished 10 seconds adrift of talented youngster BarnesSmith.
Last year’s race saw a comfortable win for Gunby as he clocked 30.47 to deny John Herbert - who was also fifth in 2009 - a 26th road race victory of the year.
It could well be the same onetwo tomorrow as Herbert, who has moved up several gears in the last two months after a quiet year, is again in action.
Gunby clearly enjoys racing in events organised by Ely Runners as he won the Grunty Fen Halfmarathon in 2008.
Victory on Saturday would see him join Norfolk veteran Guy Amos as a double winner of the race but would still be one shy of Rob Joy’s three victories.
Gunby’s record in the race is not as impressive as his girlfriend’s though.
Former Peterborough 5k Series champion Felicity Milton seeks her fourth women’s success, having won in 2007 (34.35), 2009 (34.20) and 2010 (34.44).
The British international from Oakham was the 700th and final entrant for the popular race which has once again reached it’s entry limit.
Milton, who also won the Grunty Fen Half-marathon in 2008, should again be in the top 10 overall having finished seventh in the last two years.
Making the top 10 might prove easier than finishing first woman as Bristol ace Claire Hallissey is in action.
Nene Valley Harrier Ruth Jones should be the first city woman after a fine end to the year.
Cambs Road League champion Michael Moore also looks to end an impressive year on a high.
A fine year in local road races was rewarded with a first international call-up as first reserve for the England Over 35 team at last month’s British Masters Cross-country International in Glasgow.
Although not promoted into the team proper he finished runner-up to Herbert - who was second reserve for the Over 40 side - in the open race.
Another local runner looking to do well on Saturday is Hunts Athletic Club’s Dave Connell who has a consistent record in the event.
Connell, who has run well on the roads recently after a fine season on the track in the steeplechase, was third in the inaugural race in 33.04, filled the same position 12 months later in 32.17 and was seventh in 2005 in 35.25 when a young Aaron Scott - the Stamford athlete has progressed well and is now an England international - was 12th in 36.25.
Connell then finished ninth in 2006 in 36.34, eighth in 2007 in 34.30 and sneaked into the top 10 last year in 35.00.