Bungay runners experience mixed fortunes

Marcus Sladden

Marcus Sladden - Credit: Archant

A quiet weekend on the athletics calendar produced mixed fortunes and experiences for Bungay Black Dog Running Club members including a stellar parkrun performance, a European Championship place, a freak performance-threatening injury and a helicopter rescue.

Rising star Marcus Sladden, at 20 one of the club’s most promising young talents, with his sights set on a GB place in the World Triathlon Finals in America, hit another personal target.

At Saturday’s Gorleston Parkrun he ran the 5k circuit in under 17 minutes for the first time.

Finishing the race in first place in 16 minutes and 16.58, 20 seconds faster than his previous personal best, he averaged 5.26 minute miles, describing his post race feelings as “super duper happy”.

Another Black Dog who will be pulling on a GB vest is Marcus Nichols who learned last week that he had qualified for a Team GB Age Group place at the 2015 European Triathlon Union (ETU) Aquathon European Championships to be held in Cologne in June.

“After a month of illness and injury it was awesome news,” he said.

There was, however, less good news for club captain Tom Pullinger, whose hard-won GB half iron man team place now appears in jeopardy.

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Cycling to work last week, Tom hit black ice causing him to fall. A trip to hospital revealed a fractured and compressed vertebrae.

While the necessity for an immediate operation was ruled out, the Black Dog captain was prescribed rest and painkillers which will keep him from training.

With his first GB appearance at the European Triathlon Championship in Rimini, Italy, just 12 weeks away, Tom remains determined to make the plane.

Tom insisted: “There’s no panic just yet,” going on to joke that the cheese and pickle sandwich he was carrying for lunch came off worse.

On the performance front, club ultra event stalwart Bob Jack completed the Axe Valley Runners’ ‘Grizzly,’ called the ’Dash to Delirium’ this year in Seaton, Devon on Sunday.

“It’s a very tough 20-miler,” said Bob, “with over 3,500ft of ascent in climbs, lots of mud up to the knees and a mile of shingle on the beach.

“It made Heveningham Hall’s Cross-Country course look like a park run,” he added.

One runner was rescued by coastguard helicopter having collapsed on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the howling gale that enveloped the latter stage of the race.

“I was pleased to finish in 5 hours 43 minutes, 1,400 of 1,421 finishers. A nice training run in preparation for Barcelona Marathon next week,” he quipped.