British half-marathon runner follows in the footsteps of father Carl by making the podium at the World Road Running Champs in Riga
Thirty years after her father won bronze at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Brussels, Calli Thackery finished a fine seventh in the women’s event at the inaugural World Road Running Championships in Riga on Sunday (Oct 1).
“It’s 30 years to the day,” said the emotional 30-year-old after finishing first non-African home in a PB of 68:56.
Her dad Carl was third behind Steve Moneghetti of Australia and winner Vincent Rousseau of Belgium in 1993. He also won team bronze that day, plus team silver in 1992 in Newcastle.
Fittingly, Calli led the GB women’s team to bronze in Riga as Samantha Harrison was ninth in 69:26, Clara Evans 22nd in 70:53 and Abbie Donnelly 25th in 71:18.
Up ahead there was a Kenyan sweep of the podium as Peres Jepchirchir took gold in 67:25 from Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi’s 67:26 and Catherine Amanang’ole’s 67:34.
For Jepchirchir, it was her third world half-marathon title and the 30-year-old said: “I wanted to win three times and make history, and thank God I have made it. It was my birthday this week and I told my husband I would work extra hard to get the win.”
Thackery Snr, one of Britain’s leading distance runners in the 1980s and early 1990s, wasn’t in Riga but his daughter said: “He’ll be watching. I thrive off that energy.”
She added tearfully: “He told me the PBs on paper were about two minutes faster than him (in 1993) but he just tried to put himself in it.
“I tried to run in his footsteps here… and I gave it a good go.”
Have her father’s exploits been on her mind during the build up? “Yes, in training and in races I was thinking ‘come on, I’m a Thackery, I can do this!’”
Thackery makes her marathon debut in New York in a fortnight but she is doing a low-key race as opposed to the big Marathon Majors event a few weeks later. “It’s lower key as I just want to get used to the distance,” she said.
Her run in Riga sets her up for a good debut and she said: “I really enjoyed it. I really worked off the course. The atmosphere was really good too.
“I finally feel like a belonged out there. I dug deep.
“We’ve got incredible endurance athletes in the UK and it really pushes you along.”
Harrison did not enjoy her best day, though. “I started off pretty good,” she explained, “but in the…