Clara Evans

Clara Evans, here competing for Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth games, struck team gold at half marathon in Rome. Pic: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Clara Evans Thanks ‘Familiar Faces’ As She Helps Britain To Euro Gold

By Ian Gordon

Clara Evans helped Britain’s women strike half marathon gold at the European Championships – then thanked the familiar faces she saw on the roads of Rome.

The Welsh ace clocked a personal best of 1:10.06 – five seconds off the mark she set in Berlin in April – for ninth place overall.

Calli Hauger-Thackery took bronze in the race in 1:08:58 while Abbie Donnelly’s finished sixth in 1:09:57.

Lauren McNeil (Hallamshire) meanwhile was 17th in 1:11:26.


Pontypridd Roadents runner Evans said after the finish in the Stadio Olimpico: “Running with the girls is really great.


“We are a great team, we’ve run a lot of races together already and we really get along so when it was hurting we were thinking just keep running for that time and we were doing it for each other out there.

“I didn’t mind the loop course, it was really nice to see familiar faces on the course and it really just kept you going and was nice when you were hurting – you’d see a familiar face and it helped a little bit so it was really nice.”

Hauger-Thackery, Donnelly and Evans were all in the lead group through much of the first half of the race before a group of six involving the eventual British bronze medallist started edging ahead.

By 15km that lead group was down to four with Hauger-Thackery running a great race to stay amongst it while teammates Donnelly and Evans were both close together in the group behind.

As the kilometres started to tick away Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal and Joan Chelimo Melly of Roumania had broken ahead at the front in the race for gold and silver. Hauger-Thackery had built herself a nice cushion in third but still couldn’t let up.

Meanwhile Donnelly and Evans were still side by side, alongside Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlumpf, maintaining their pursuit of a top ten and team honours.

Grovdal would surge ahead over the last kilometre to take gold ahead of Melly while Hauger-Thackery cemented bronze. She eventually put nearly a minute on herself and another Romanian Delvine Relin Meringor in fourth, clocking 1:08:58 for bronze as the race finished in the Stadio Olimpico, with the performances of Donnelly and Evans key to the British team winning gold.

Donnelly pushed clear in the closing stages, beating Schlumpf into sixth by almost half a minute in a time of 1:09:57 while Evans, officially ranked eighth for much of the race, was pushed down into ninth in the dying moments by Mekdes Woldu of France but still had the personal best and a gold medal to savour.


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