Merrien is running just for enjoyment
ONE time Olympian Lee Merrien is enjoying the simpler thrills of grassroots racing in ‘retirement’.
Merrien denies rumours that he is targeting next year’s Island Games or any big objective for that matter, but he still cut an impressive figure as he won yesterday’s Summer Full Course convincingly in 26min. 46sec.
This time pales to his all-time course record of 23-02 for the traditional 4.75 mile cross-country – yet it was still a commendable run on the day.
With the course coming up 200m long due to diversions, plus some additional challenge from unkempt grass and stiff coastal headwinds, he came home far clear of James Priest’s 27-56.
Priest gave his coach some company for much of the first kilometre from the Beach House but Merrien broke away shortly afterwards and continued to extend his lead throughout.
‘It was nice to do a race, to be reasonably fit, and enjoy running, but I didn’t have any preconceptions or anything I was aiming for,’ said Merrien.
‘I don’t have any aspirations anymore – I’m not planning on doing the Island Games or anything.
‘People have asked me and I’ve said “No”, but I just like to still run and feel relatively fit, as long as my body holds up and enables me to do it.
‘It’s nice to just operate at a decent level and enjoy running.’
Middle-distance man Richard Bartram, on the comeback trail from injury, placed third after dropping a group containing the returning George Mason.
Sarah Mercier had lost track of that bunch earlier on but still took top woman and fifth overall in 29-35.
The battle for second lady unfolded some way further back and that honour went to Rosie Williams in 33-09, although a strong-running Alice Loveridge followed just 40sec. in arrears.