Eritrean Sport News: Teenage sensation Abel Tsegay turned a training run into a memorable victory in the Canterbury 10-mile road race – the first time he has ever competed over the distance.
Invicta East Kent AC coach Peter Mullervy revealed the 18-year-old Eritrean (pictured) was under instructions to “not go mad” around the rural course on Sunday morning as it came just a day after the IEK runner won the under-20 title at the South of England Cross Country Championships.
The Canterbury College student had led the field home by 28 seconds at Brighton’s Stanmer Park but the following day showed no after-effects as he stormed to victory in 52 minutes 03 seconds, more than two minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
His winning time was 3min 21sec faster than that of 2014 winner Robbie Britton and was the fastest over the course since Jamie Atkinson’s winning time in the 2008 race.
Mr Mullervy claimed Tsegay (pictured) used the 10-mile race – hosted by his own club – as a training run, saying: “To be honest, Abel is short of money and with prize money on offer, the club suggested it to him.
“He and I talked about it and said even though he’s not done 10 miles before, he could use it as a training run, so long as he didn’t have sore legs after the race on Saturday.
“He rang me on Sunday morning, said his legs felt fine and I just told him ‘don’t go mad. Don’t get into a race with anyone, just go round at your own pace and see what happens’.
“He didn’t go mad but he still had enough in him to go round in 52 minutes.”
He added: “He’s put a marker down now and it would be great to see him able to come back and improve upon it again. I suspect he’s got the potential to be in the sub-50 minute category in the future.”
More than 800 runners finished the race – nearly 200 more than last year – and Mr Mullervy, a former race director, said: “The revenue raised by the race enables us to provide coaching and support the next generation of athletes throughout the rest of the year.”