TORONTO. October 4th. Team England have been a powerful force in the International Team Challenge at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon since the Challenge’s inception in 2005, and this year will be no exception.
Their 2012 team includes Blackburn’s Ben Fish, Kevin Skinner of Newham & Essex, Cornwall ACs Emma Stepto and Samantha Amend of Belgrave Harriers. They will be ‘in tough’ against a powerful Team Canada this year, but promise to provide strong competition, and continue a tradition of camaraderie between our two countries.
Thirty-year old Ben Fish has competed for Blackburn Harriers for 15 years, and stepped up to the marathon distance in 2007. He debuted that Fall in Dublin with a 2:27. He represented England at the same event in ’09, where he took his PB down to 2:20:45. He is currently rounding out a banner year where he has set PBs across the board, for the half marathon (65:27), 20 miles (1:43:20), and the marathon (2:19:20). He’s hoping for a further improvement on Toronto Waterfront’s flat, fast course, that will propel him to a place on the England Team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. Teammate Kevin Skinner has a similar marathon best of 2:21:54, set in London in 2008. Last Fall he notched a 2:22:03 in Frankfurt.
Like our own Krista DuChene and Rebecca Gardiner, Marlow’s Sam Amend is a “Running Mom”, with an 10 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. She really moved into competitive running following the sudden death of her husband in 2009:
Towards the end of 2009 I lost my husband suddenly and was left trying to cope with my 2 beautiful children, at the time Emily (7) and Spencer (13mth). All I can say is the shock and pain of the death put me into a position of despair, only to realise life must carry on and I must get stronger. Support from my friends meant that I was able to continue to run and initially this was my only survival to get through every day and realise how lucky I am.
Since then she has taken her marathon PB down to 2:42:11, and also has her sights focussed on the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The final member of Team England, Emma Stepto, is actually a Masters runner (age 42) who is continuing to improve, with a PB of 2:44:17, set in London in April.
As always, the International Team Challenge at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is for four-person teams with the top 3 performances to count in the final standings.