March 22, 2008
Ayele Mergressa 24:26
Roman Gessesse 28:28
No. of Finishers
Anyone who thinks of London as an unfriendly city should have visited the Victoria Park Open 5 on March 22 to be set straight.
Despite fierce competition at the front of the pack, this is a race that’s as satisfying for 10-minute milers as it is for those twice as fast.
Sadly, only the welcome was warm this year, as Hackney’s cherished green space was pelted with hail and battered by a bitter wind. Enjoying a bracing run followed by great goody bags (including, aptly, thermal mugs) were 282 runners.
The £500 prize for the course record was safe thanks to the weather, but there was still a decent £200 for winner Ayele Mergressa in 24:26 and Roman Gessesse, first lady, in 28:28.
Also on the money were the winners of the Inter Financial Services Athletics Association championships, incorporated in the race: Mark Ryall in 26:15 and Lara Bromilow in 31:08.