Guernsey Press

Twell faces strong challenge on return

A THREE-TIME Olympian headlines the women’s field for the EY Easter Running Festival.

Aldershot’s Steph Twell first competed in the festival as a junior in 2006 and has gone on to compete at three Olympic Games. (31980985)

Steph Twell is the runner in question and she is no stranger to the Guernsey Athletics Club’s annual four-day attraction, having competed regularly between 2006 and 2013.

Twell is making her first festival appearance in a decade and her credentials speak for themselves – beyond her Olympic appearances at Beijing 2008, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, she has a 5,000m best of under 15min. and is ranked eighth in Great Britain’s all-time list for that distance, plus 10,000m and the marathon.

By current form she appears to be a close match for Elle Twentyman, who dominated last year’s festival and has now broken 16min. for 5,000m.

‘The entries for this year’s festival look really good,’ organising committee member Chris Gillman said.

‘It’s obviously exciting to have Steph returning to compete here at the festival.

‘Elle was the standout female performer last year and she is coming back to defend her title, so it will be really exciting to see how that shapes up.

‘I’m excited to see how competitive the local athletes will be against runners of their calibre.’

There is also potential of a family double.

Twell’s husband, fellow Aldershot athlete Joe Morwood, is the big name in a men’s field that lacks three-time champion Jacob O’Hara. Morwood broke 65min. for the half-marathon distance last year.

But the festival also features a strong entry from Guernsey’s Island Games contenders, who will be taking the late opportunity to gain qualifying times and head-to-head victories.

‘With so many athletes wanting to post fast times ahead of the Games, I think it will make for some great racing,’ Gillman added.

Racing begins on Good Friday with a flat coastal 5km from L’Eree to Vazon, beginning at 10am.

Following events head to the country with Saturday’s 4.75-mile Full Course at L’Ancresse – in which Twell holds the women’s record – and Sunday’s off-road relay racing at Delancey Park. Both start at 10.30am.

The festival culminates with a potentially quick 10km race from Grandes Rocques to North Side, with an earlier start time of 9.30am.