Sport

Helen Clitheroe putting in the miles at Bupa Great Manchester Run in pursuit of more success

By Jack Travers, Sportsbeat

Helen Clitheroe believes that increasing her training mileage has been the key to her impressive recent form.

Clitheroe, 37, claimed the European indoor 3000m title in March, rolling back the years to seize gold in a sprint finish.

And, in the absence of Paula Radcliffe, she started her outdoor season in style, with a more convincing victory over 10km at the Bupa Great Manchester Run.

Clitheroe clocked 31 minutes and 45 seconds to carve a massive 31 seconds off her personal best, while also moving sixth on the UK all-time list.

French marathon record holder Christelle Daunay was second ahead of Commonwealth 10,000m champion Grace Momanyi – the latest in a growing list of impressive scalps recently claimed by Clitheroe, who no longer receives lottery support.

“This just shows that my training is working and I really just want to push on now for the rest of the year,” she said.

“The longer distances have really been assisting me and it makes me think, ‘Why didn’t I do this before?’

“I think on a better day with less wind, maybe I could go even quicker so I am really happy with that.

“This was a stepping stone to the track season and I’m certainly going in the right direction. I just hope the second half of the year is as good as the first half has been for me.”

Clitheroe, previously better known for competing over 1,500m and the steeplechase, plans to step up to the 5,000m at this year’s IAAF World Championships – but insists she is taking nothing for granted, despite her recent form.

UK Athletics have set a 15 minute, 14 second qualifying time for Daegu and Clitheroe’s personal best over the distance of 15.49.48 was set three years ago.

“I need to make sure that I get the qualifying times, which is never easy,” she added.

“There are a lot of good girls running my distances these days and especially over the next year or two, everyone wants to be making the team for London 2012.

“Especially at my age it is important to look forwards and I am really happy that I decided to go for London as I am really running well now, probably better than I ever have before.

“It’s in any athlete’s mind, it is what we are all aiming towards, although we still have a world championships before then. However, 2012 is what we all want and I badly want to be there.”

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