IAN HUDSPITH’S plans to contest an autumn marathon have been shelved, and instead he will target the Great North Run at the end of September.
Hudspith, currently in the form of his life, producing times equivalent to what he was churning out 12 years ago, will now instead take his chance in the London Marathon in April.
And the Newcastle schoolteacher will be looking for a good performance in the capital, especially in Olympic year, with British marathon places open for grabs.
It’s not surprising that Hudspith has decided to change his mind, as his track campaign has really taken off this season after a number of bleak campaigns.
Only last Saturday Hudspith, nearing his 37th birthday, ran his fastest 3,000 metres for 12 years, and will now line up in the AAAs Championships this weekend over 5,000m.
He has now run three decent 3ks after delaying his track campaign due to running the Blaydon, where he finished in an excellent third place, and the Manchester 10k, where he finished 10th against international opposition in a time of 29min 08sec.
“I was late in starting on the track this year after running the Blaydon, Edinburgh and the Manchester races, but it seems to be working out all right,” said the younger of the Morpeth Harriers’ Hudspith brothers.
“I’ve had horrendous Achilles problems for the past two years, but everything seems to have cleared up and I’m able to race comfortably on the track once again.
“The Trials on Sunday should be a good test, and while I know I’m not going to qualify for the World Championships – the A standard is 13:21.50 and B standard 13:28 – I would like to think I could finish in the top six.
“If I do, then I know I’ve probably had a decent run.”
Hudspith had planned to bring the curtain down on his track campaign after the Trials as he switches to his winter training.
However, there’s a chance he could postpone that idea and take in a 10,000m in Stretford.
“There is a possibility I could run another 10k on the track, but I haven’t decided yet,” he added.
“Whatever happens, I won’t have to adjust my 100-mile-a-week schedule.
“And then it’s down to concentrating on the Great North Run – a race both my brother Mark and myself have always looked to run well in.
“It hasn’t always happened, but the way I’m running at the moment should see me at least improve on my best time in the race of 64:56, which I ran two years ago.
“Whether I can get close to my best half-marathon time of 62:53, which was in The Hague race in 1996, is another thing.
“If I can, then I should be up there with the best this time round.”
After the GNR, Hudspith’s winter will be all about building up to London – and maybe making an impression on the selectors for the Olympic Games.
“I’ll do some cross-country and maybe look at making the team for the European Championships in December, then, after the turn of the year, have a 10-week build-up to the marathon.
“While you only have one chance of getting it right in the marathon, it will be the same for everyone in London.
“At the moment we only have Jon Brown of high quality, and I gather there are doubts about whether he will be going to Beijing, so places could be up for grabs.
“It’s every athlete’s dream to make it to the Olympics.
“This will be my last shot so I’ll be giving it everything, providing I stay fit and healthy for the next 12 months.”