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Jubilation for Julia

Julia Bleasdale started her season in style on Sunday, clocking 15:06 at the Carlsbad 5000 in California for a clear victory and to go third on the UK all-time list for 5km.

The double Olympic finalist’s recent block of training in Ethiopia has clearly paid off, as she crossed the line 16 seconds clear of runner-up Betsy Saina of Kenya to smash her previous 5km road best of 15:47 set at the same event two years ago. She was also just four seconds off her 5000m track personal best from the 2012 Olympics.

Ethiopia’s Etalemhu Habtewold clocked 15:23 for third as Brenda Martinez led the US athletes home with her 15:25 for fourth.

The result puts Bleasdale behind just Paula Radcliffe with 14:51 and Liz McColgan with 14:57 on the UK list.

“I haven’t raced in four months so it was good to get back on the racing scene,” said Bleasdale, who, after finishing sixth at the Carlsbad event in 2012, went on to finish eighth in the London Olympics over 5000m and 10,000m.

“I just wanted it to be a good, honest hard race. One mile in I was surprised it was that fast, it felt pretty easy. After two miles I wanted to give it a bit of a go and see what I could do because I knew that there were some big kickers in the field and knew that I would be out-kicked if they were still with me.”

On how this sets her up for the track season, she added: “It’s a bit of a confidence boost that I can win a race and use my strength to compete against girls who have that big kick. I’m working on my speed for the finish.”

The Hillingdon AC athlete missed last summer with injury but made her return over the winter, with results including a seventh-place finish at the European Cross Country Championships.

She was using the Carlsbad race as preparation for a meet in Stanford in May, where she will look to gain a Commonwealth Games qualifying time. Report by Athletics Weekly.

We just need to find a way of her competing in Hillingdon colours again.