By Paul Eddison in Birmingham
If good things come to those who wait then Jonny Mellor has served his time and then some.
After two Commonwealth disappointments, not to mention a freak Olympic mishap, the 35-year-old marathon runner finally finished a race on this stage, coming sixth at Birmingham 2022, the best of the home nations entrants.
The Birkenhead athlete had made his Commonwealth debut at Glasgow 2014, only to have to drop out of the 10,000 metres. Four years later he was overlooked for the Gold Coast, while he missed last year’s Olympics in Tokyo because of a gout-related ankle problem.
So, when it came to the ultra-demanding marathon in Birmingham, won by Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat, Mellor was determined to get it right.
He said: “Everyone has had ups and downs, it’s not just me. But days like this don’t come around too often so when they do come, you must make the most of it. It kind of makes up for dropping out of my first Commonwealth Games and not being picked for the second one, it’s third time lucky.
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“I’m happy but also, it’s so close to the medals. I’m happy though, I executed my plan on the day. I knew I had to be smart early on and save a bit for the hills at the end. Good day or bad day, those hills are going to hurt.”
The final ten kilometres for Mellor came down to a head-to-head with Australia’s Andrew Buchanan, with the Englishman pulling clear at the end to cross the line in 2:15.31.
And it was the home support that gave him that impetus, with crowds lining much of the route around England’s Second City.
He added: “What was special was that all the home nations were cheering each other on. There was a good battle between England and Australia on the last 10km which was great. All the home nations crowd were incredible, and it was great to see friends and family out there as well.”
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