Paris 2024 hopeful Skelton smashes half marathon PB by 58 seconds

Paris 2024 Olympic hopeful Ross Skelton – a member of HY Runners – produced a sensational display to smash his half marathon PB by a huge 58 seconds to come eighth overall in an elite international invitational only field at the Run Antrim Coast Half Marathon in a fantastic time of 63:39.
Ross Skelton was in flying form in AntrimRoss Skelton was in flying form in Antrim
Ross Skelton was in flying form in Antrim

His club said his time had been officially recognised as quickest run of all time from a Hastings athlete and bettered only once by any athlete from Sussex.

Skelton, who earlier in the year ran in the Olympic trials in Kew Gardens as a pacemaker, and last year ran the same Antrim half alongside GB Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah, really had a point to prove to the England selectors after the disappointment of missing out on an Olympic place this time round, and he showed them just why he should be part of the squad.

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Skelton easily saw off other members of the squad to come home as second English runner, and in doing so came home quicker than GB athletes Stephen Scullion and Jonathan E Phillips as well as Mohammed Ali of the Netherlands, among others.

The race was screened live on the BBC via its interactive service and the cameras followed the women’s race leader from Ethiopia, Yalemzerf Yehualaw, as she succeeded in her scheduled attempt of breaking one of world athletics’ longest-existing world records. While Yehualaw was setting a fastest time for a woman with 63:43, Skelton got screen time as the two were neck and neck throughout with Skelton ultimately pulling away from her towards the end and finishing four seconds faster.

His split times were very impressive: he passed 5k in 15:05, 10k in 15:22 ,15k in 45:24 before saving his quickest for the final split with 14:44 to pass through 20k in 60:08.

The England manager and selectors have already been on the phone to Skelton’s coach Geoff Watkins after the sensational effort.

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Skelton said “You should have picked me” shortly after crossing the line.

He now has five weeks to prepare for the London Marathon, another chance to prove a point and stake his claim to get to Paris 2024

Skelton’s father and HY Runners head coach Terry Skelton said: “It’s going be a great occasion in London and Ross is expecting to go quick.

“He is peaking at the right time and I’m certain his previous best of 2:19 will fall.”

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HY runners also have Rachael Mulvey, Fiona Norman Brown and Phil Scott running in London.

HY had another runner running outside English borders. Jim Ballard took on the Eyemouth Twilight 5k in Scotland and was fourth in the MV60 class with 27:12.

Mark Tewksbury and daughter Florence took part in Hampshire’s bank holiday run fest run.