Fresh from finishing fourth in the 3000m at the Glasgow 2019 European Indoor Championships two weeks ago, and adding to her spate of personal bests, Germany’s Alina Reh turned to the roads and continued to demonstrate her outstanding form in Dresden on Sunday.
Not only did two-time former European U20 champion win over 10km at the Citylauf Dresden, she did so in a course record of 32:09, slicing 31 seconds off the previous mark which had stood for 25 years to the well-known German international runner Claudia Dreher.
Even more impressively, Reh ran the last four kilometres on her own into a stiff wind.
Reh, now 21, will be among the favourites for the 5000m gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships in July, with her favourite event the last individual title to be decided on the track in Gavle.
At British races, there was domestic success at the Bath Half Marathon for former European U23 5000m champion Chris Thompson, in 1:03:10, and Kate Reed in 1:12:44 while there was more British success in the Reading Half Marathon with victories for Scott Overall in 1:03:50 and Stephanie Twell in 1:11:37.
There was also a home win for France’s Benjamin Choquert in the Grand Nancy half marathon in 1:04:03.
They may not have won but there were good performances from other European runners elsewhere this weekend.
Spain’s Juan Antonio Perez was sixth in 28:18 and Antonio Abadia was seventh in 28:53 on home soil in the Laredo 10km road race won by Uganda’s Stephen Kissa in a national record and world-leading 27:13.
Turkey’s two-time European 10,000m champion Polat Kemboi Arikan had to settle for crossing the line 11th in the high-quality Lisbon half marathon but was rewarded by slicing 36 seconds off his personal when he crossed the line in 1:00:27, just under a minute behind the Ethiopian winner Mosinet Geremew who finished in 59:37.
Mid-March is also a time when the race walking fraternity start to assemble for early season races in Europe so when French star Yohann Diniz begins the defence of his world 50km crown in Doha in almost six months’ time, he might look back to Sunday as a significant date on the calendar.
Competing at home in Epinal for the first time since last May, Diniz, now 41 produced a superb performance to triumph over 35km in 2:29:28.
— culturemarche (@culturemarche) March 17, 2019
His absence from the roads had been due to a hip fracture, which he proved he is now recovered from as he set a foundation for the busy summer ahead.
Such was his speed, he took himself through the last kilometre in 3:37 and will now look ahead to the European Race Walking Cup in Alytus, Lithuania on 19 May and then the world championships.
It was some occasion for Diniz in London in 2017 when he won the world crown for the first time having taken silver in Osaka 10 years earlier. Age has not withered him, if anything it has actually strengthened a man who is a triple European 50km gold medallist.
In the other events in Epinal, the 20km titles went to Gabriel Bordier in 1:21:55 and Clemence Beretta in 1:35:13 and over 50km, Florian Mayer won in 4:11:26 and Cecile Naze in 4:46:21.
Another race walker who will now look towards the next few months knowing he is in winning shape is Lithuanian Marius Ziukas who celebrated victory at the famous Albisetti Memorial in Lugano on Sunday when he won the men’s 20km event in 1:22:29, just edging out Ireland´s Alex Wright who was second in 1:22:45.
In the women’s 20km race, Italian record holder Eleonora Giorgi was equally impressive as she won in 1:31:07 from Ziukas’s Lithuanian teammate Brigita Virbalyte Dimsiene in 1:32:53 and Czech Republic’s Anezka Drahotova in 1:34:37.