Liverpool Harrier has Geoff Smith’s half-marathon mark in his sights at World Road Running Champs in Riga
Jonny Mellor would love to break his club record for the half-marathon at the World Road Running Championships in Riga on Sunday (Oct 1). It doesn’t seem like a particularly ambitious target, until you realise that this Liverpool Harriers all-time best is an impressive 61:39 held by Geoff Smith from 1983.
Smith finished a close runner-up to Rod Dixon that same year in a dramatic New York City Marathon and won the Boston Marathon in 1984 and 1985.
“I saw him at the road relays last weekend as well,” says Mellor, “which was nice as he’s set the bar for me with all his incredible club records and he’s been a bit of a role model over the years.”
Mellor’s best is 62:06 from Wilmslow in March this year and he says: “I’m in a good place physically and mentally. I’d love to dip inside 62 minutes.”
The 36-year-old has been in fine form in the last couple of years, winning the Manchester Marathon in 2:10:46 in 2022 and placing sixth for England in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham before not simply earning selection for Riga this weekend but being named GB captain too.
“It’s a massive honour and a very proud moment for me,” he says. “For me my last British vest was back in 2014 (World Indoors in Sopot), which is a long time ago. You don’t know when your next or last vest is going to be so you have to make the most of it at the time.”
Indeed, his team speech on Saturday in Riga carried the theme of taking your opportunities when they are there because you don’t know if they will be your last. Or, in Mellor’s case, the last for a few years.
Mellor is featured in the latest issue of AW and there he explains his current lifestyle which involves being a dad to a daughter called Evie and training full time in an attempt to make the Paris Olympics.
With a young child in the house, is he sleeping okay, though? “I’m still in the spare room!” he admits. “I love being a dad. I get the easy job in the day and my wife has the night shifts, so thank you to her!”
He has endured a few controversial omissions from teams in the past and making major championships doesn’t get easier. “I guess you just have to try to run as fast as you can,” he says. “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”
After Riga he will pace in the Amsterdam Marathon but his big goal is the Valencia Marathon on December 3 where he feels he will probably need to gamble by going off at 2:08 pace compared to his best of 2:10:03 from Seville three years ago. “I need to roll the dice,” he says.
Riga, however, is more about putting a marker in the sand. Although nabbing Smith’s long-standing club record would be nice.
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