Priest's hot pace delivers PB and Games standard

JAMES PRIEST produced a dominant performance to be crowned champion of 12.5 laps at Friday’s Imperium Night of the 5,000s.

He clocked a track 5,000m personal best and Island Games A standard of 15min. 26.76sec., spurred on by the same lively atmosphere and crowd support that met runners of various abilities at a warm but still Footes Lane.

The second edition of Guernsey’s own track distance running festival, inspired by similar events in the UK, featured four graded 5km races and catered for competitors and spectators like with invigorating music, tempting snacks and a bar.

The showpiece A race pitted Priest against an up-and-coming distance rival, Sammy Galpin.

Olympian Lee Merrien provided pacing duties at a hot tempo of nearly 3min. per kilometre, which both runners gamely stuck with.

By the time Merrien stepped aside at 3km, though, Priest had a healthy lead on Galpin.

It was clear who would win, but in what time?

When Priest hit the bell at 14-19, it was evident that he needed a strong final lap to beat his PB of 15-29.

But he did exactly that, rallying hard to loud support for a clear victory over Galpin, who recorded a B standard of 16-08.64.

Pete Amy took third in 16-30.41, with Chris Gillman defying recent injury for a sub-17min. time and Ben Foote running solidly for fifth.

‘I’m happy to get a track PB,’ the winner said.

‘If I had done a better race I could have done 15-15, but I’ve been struggling with my calf recently, so I am just happy to get out there.

‘It’s nice to race locally and have a crowd behind you – it does make a big difference.’

Thanking Merrien for pacemaking, he also praised the event’s atmosphere and inclusivity.

‘There’s a bit of a stigma you have to be part of the [Guernsey Athletics] club to do track races, but events like this allow the more social runners to come and try out a track race.’

Various support races rounded off a successful evening, including Chloe Truffitt outduelling Jersey’s Rebecca Tinnelly for women’s honours.

Triathlete Chloe Truffitt took the women's honours with a time of 19min. 27.87sec. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 30945333)

In a B race won overall by Ben Langlois, the Guernsey triathlete spent the first 2km reeling in a fast-starting rival before putting her feet down.

Truffitt eventually posted 19-27.87 to win women’s honours by just over half a minute.

‘I was looking over my shoulder, because I did not know if she was going to stick on me,’ she said after admitting to not knowing how her legs would be following the previous weekend’s Leeds Triathlon efforts.

‘I’m happy with how it went.’

Caroline Barby ran 20-46.67 for second in the C race after a bold effort where she was edged on the sprint by veteran Craig Allen, while Sammy McNaught judged herself well to win the D heat.

Kate Bain ran an Island Games A standard of 2-15.38 to win the first of two supporting 800m races. Nix Petit, at 2-21.65, was just 0.15 outside the B standard.

Gian-Luca Robilliard won the men’s 800m in an A standard of 1-57.30 from fellow teenagers Jack Le Tissier (1-59.81 B standard) and Nicolas Ackermann (2-02.75 PB).

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