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Longstanding record falls in breakout year

SETTING THE PACE: Michael Gilbert taking part in the Thurlow 5/10, Haverhill Running Club's annual running event across five and 10 kilometres
SETTING THE PACE: Michael Gilbert taking part in the Thurlow 5/10, Haverhill Running Club's annual running event across five and 10 kilometres

It’s been a swift year for Haverhill Running Club member Michael Gilbert and has culminated in him breaking a 16-year-old club record — not once, but twice.

The 26-year-old took two minutes off his own personal best at the Greater Cambridge 10K — and set a new fastest time for the club of 33 minutes and 41 seconds.

And it was still to get better for Gilbert as he went on to take a further 30 seconds off his record at the Cambridge Town & Gown 10K on October 22.

It was the latest in a string of personal and club bests for the Haverhill building trade worker this year.

Gilbert — who joined the club just two years ago — has claimed six of the club’s eight available records in 2017, taking all but the 10 and 20-mile distances.

He said: “I’m happy about all the records but it’s just a bonus, my main goal is to keep setting new personal bests.

“It’s great that the hard training is paying off.

“So I’m going to keep training hard and push to be the fastest I can. In November last year I started following running plans from my coach, Siobhan Rootes, and training 50 to 60 miles a week.

“This has been the biggest factor in my improvement.”

He said that now the summer season had ended, his next target would be in spring of 2018.

Following a winter of cross-country races and hard training, he plans to take on the Cambridge Half-Marathon in March 2018.

This is where he set a new club-record time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 49 seconds earlier this year — and he hopes to be able to skim even more off the time.

Karen Martin, club committee member, said: “Haverhill Running Club (HRC) are really proud of Michael’s achievements, he puts a lot of time and effort into his training and it’s brilliant to see this paying off for him.

“It’s a great advert for the club. His performances definitely motivate others to ‘up their game’, particularly those who have times close to Michael’s.

“HRC, however, has members of all abilities and recognises and values all individual achievements no matter how fast or slow someone runs, we celebrate everything.”

Her comments follow a great season for several other club members including Alex Smith, who has also set a string of personal records this season.

And there have also been standout performances across The Atlantic to wrap up the summer.

Michelle Brazier Gardner knocked 11 minutes off her previous best in the New York City Marathon, while Kevin Millard took the crown as King of the PBs in Florida.

He won the 2017 PB League with an impressive 13 PBs this year, with the final one coming at the Clermont Waterfront parkrun.

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