Kendal duo in mint condition for half-marathon challenge

It was in Kendal in 1869 that Joseph Wiper came up with the recipe for his famous Mint Cake. Some 140 years on, the Cumbrian town has found the ingredients for distance-running success, it would seem. Of the five-strong Great Britain women's team picked to contest the World Half Marathon Championships on the streets of Birmingham this morning, two happen to be products and proud members of Kendal Athletics Club.

For Rebecca Robinson and Gemma Miles, the thrill of pulling on a British vest to take on the world on home tarmac will be enhanced by the satisfaction of putting their club on the global map. "It's just lovely that a small club like ours can be represented at such a high level," Robinson enthused. "Both Gemma and I have run for Kendal since we were young, so it is special." "We also have Sarah Tunstall and Laura Park running at international level," Miles added. "For a club like Kendal to suddenly have four girls running internationally is just amazing."

So the market town regarded as the southern gateway to the Lake District can now be famed for something other than the food which sustained Ernest Shackleton and Edmund Hillary on their epic expeditions, and for Alfred Wainwright, when he was tramping his beloved Lakeland fells. "I don't think Wainwright was really a fan of running," Robinson mused. "He always said fell runners missed all the scenery."

As a fell runner herself, Robinson had the glorious sight of a bronze medal when she ascended Skiddaw in third place in the uphill race at the Commonwealth Mountain Championships in Keswick three weeks ago. At 26, she makes her Great Britain debut as a road runner today, with the ultimate hope of emulating Dave Cannon and Kenny Stuart, two hardy Cumbrian fell-running greats who made a mark on the roads at the full marathon distance.

Not that it would be easy for her to fit the marathon training around her working life as a junior doctor on Tyneside. "It can limit how much training I do, because sometimes I work 80-hour weeks," Robinson said. "But I think it's nice to have that balance. Sometimes you just really need to get outside and run when you've been working on the wards all day."

Robinson, a native of Bowness, receives guidance on her running from Norman Matthews but is indebted to Steve and Dianne Priestley, the husband-and-wife coaching team who brought her through the ranks at Kendal. "They're incredibly supportive," she said. "They've got athletes of all ages and all abilities."

Like Robinson, Miles has moved away from her Lakeland roots to pursue a medical career. She works as a physiotherapist at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, which makes today's race a home-from-home affair for her. "A lot of the course goes around the university area, where I lived as a student, and part of it backs on to where I do my morning run," she said. "I know the whole route, which is lovely."

At 28, Miles graduated through the age-group ranks at Kendal two years ahead of Robinson. "Keith Calvert and Ronnie Bell were the coaches who brought me through as a junior at the club, although Bob Ashwood is my coach now," she said. "Since I've been based in Birmingham, people have said to me, 'Are you going to move clubs?' But I've always thought it's a link to home, a link to my roots."

Miles hails from Coniston, the village on the lake in which Donald Campbell perished in pursuit of a new water-speed world record in 1967. "It's a beautiful place," she said. "I love it. I think you appreciate it more when you move away. It's great to go back."

Having run for Britain at the World and European Cross-Country Championships and on the track in the European Cup 10km, Miles, like Robinson, is starting to gravitate towards the marathon. Last month's trial race in Bristol was her first serious attempt at the 13.1-mile half-marathon distance. She clocked 73min 13sec, finishing two seconds behind her club-mate.

With 15 sub-70-minute performers in the field today, the two Cumbrians will not be among the favourites. Paula Radcliffe would have lined up as the woman to beat had she not fallen victim to tonsillitis at the start of the week. It is a pity that the marathon world record-holder will not be in Birmingham to run with the Kendal girls. Given her ill fortune over the past five years, a doctor and a physio would have been ideal team-mates for her.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

European Marketing Director

£90000 - £120000 per annum: Charter Selection: Jarden Consumer Solutions, a le...

Ecommerce Project Manager

£450 - £500 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: The opportunity:Ec...

Advertising and Marketing Communications Manager

£52000 - £58000 per annum + benefits, company car: Ashdown Group: Advertising ...

ICT Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on