It’s been a busy weekend, both in terms of racing action but also for your write up author. So, enjoy the third bank holiday Monday of the month with the highlights of what has happened on the track and roads.

Best of British (Milers Club)

In lovely conditions, Sportcity in Manchester played host to the first British Milers Club Grand Prix of 2023 on Saturday. It was a bumper edition, with other 450 athletes entered across 33 races. They entered in search of a fast time, and many were rewarded with one.

In his first race since the London Marathon, Emile Cairess made a relatively last minute trip to Manchester for the 5000m. It was a comfortable win in 13:37.39. The next seven athletes all set lifetime bests, led by Will Barnicoat (13:47.70) and Max Heyden (13:50.98).

Photo: Mark Hookway

Jack Millar (14:16.73) won the B race in a lifetime best.

Calli Thackery (15:50.06) won the women’s 5000m by over six seconds from Kirsty Walker (15:56.17 PB) and Rachael Franklin (15:57.05). Six more athletes set lifetime bests in the race. Maria Lucienda Da Silva of Brazil won the B race.

The historic Emsley Carr Mile was incorporated into the event and was won by Adam Fogg in 3:55.70 (PB). Behind, Piers Copeland (3:58.46), Will Battershill (3:58.49 PB) and Mane Elliot (3:59.36 PB) ran inside four minutes.

Adam Fogg. Photo: Mark Hookway

Sarah McDonald, on her return from injury, won the Millicent Fawcett Metric Mile in 4:10.67. Duncan Robinson (3:42.81 PB) was the fastest male over the distance.

Alex Botterill (1:47.58) and Australian Abbey Caldwell (1:58.92) were fastest over 800m. In the women’s race, there was a PB for Erin Wallace (2:01.78) whilst Khai Mhalanga ran the second fastest of her career (2:02.07).

Finally, the steeplechase races were won by Poppy Tank (10:04.88) in her debut and Mark Pearce (8:40.74).

Photo: Mark Hookway

Racing in Europe

This weekend has been the first with plentiful track racing taking place across Europe.

A handful of middle-distance athletes were racing at the Internationales Pfingstsportfest in Rehlingen (Germany) yesterday. There were PBs for George Mills (3:33.16) and Ethan Hussey (1:45.71) over 1500m and 800m respectively. Four athletes opened their seasons; Ben Pattison (1:45.45), Elliot Giles (1:46.36), and Ellie Baker (2:02.41) over 800m, with Matt Stonier (3:34.95) in the 1500m. Also racing was Issy Boffey over 800m (2:01.68).

Also in Germany, Hannah Cameron clocked 2:05.58 at the BuS Kurpfalz Gala in Weinheim.

Sam Reardon has had a fantastic year to date, including a British Indoor title over 400m and an appearance at the European Indoor Championships. He has carried that fine form into the outdoors, setting a PB and European U23 Championships qualifier of 1:46.56 at the Meeting International de Forbach in France. It also bettered the Blackheath & Bromley Club Record, which dated back to 1989.

Hannah Nuttall impressed in her 5000m debut at the Meeting Jaen Paraiso Interior in Spain on Friday. Her time of 15:25.28 puts her inside the all-time top 40 and saw her finish second. Less than a second shy of her PB was Eloise Walker (15:26.00) in third, with Alex Millard (15:43.41) also setting a lifetime best. Eloise and Alex’s times are also European U23 Champs qualifying times.

At the same event, James West (3:37.34) and Charlie Grice (3:39.71) raced over 1500m. Revee Walcott Nolan travelled to the Grifone Meeting in Italy to race the same distance, recording a 4:09.15 SB.

Bonkers Belgium

Why bonkers, you ask? Where else would 5000m races go on to after 01:30 in the morning. A 15-hour timetable didn’t put off over 120 Brits who travelled to the IFAM Meeting in Oordegem.

There was plenty to cheer over 5000m. Charles Wheeler (13:25.62), Ian Crowe-Wright (13:28.08), Joshua Dickinson (13:46.94), Ben Potrykus (13:48.39), George Wheeler (13:56.84) and Callum Morgan (13:57.53) all set PBs. Jack Goodwin (13:54.33) was less than three seconds shy of his. Notable times in other distances included 1:47.77 PB for Henry Fisher, his first time inside 1:48 for 800m. Ben Claridge (1:48.46) raced in the same heat. Tyler Billyard set a PB for 1500m (3:42.88).

To America

Headlines from the Los Angeles Grand Prix were centred on the withdrawals of a number of ‘star’ athletes, but there were plenty of exciting performances.

From a British perspective, the highlight came from two athletes training in the Under Armour Dark Sky team. Firstly, Katie Snowden. The Herne Hill Harrier finished strongly in second over 1500m in 4:00.04. Whilst agonisingly close to sub-four, it was a 2.7 second PB and moved her to sixth on the British all-time list.

Secondly, Neil Gourley had an excellent outing over 5000m, clocking 13:11.44. It moves him to tenth all-time over the distance, one ahead of Tim Hutchings – who set his PB in the same city. In the same race, Jack Rowe set his second PB of the season with 13:20.00.

Thomas Staines (1:48.18), Hannah Segrave (2:04.12) and Gemma Finch (2:05.40) raced over 800m. Zak Seddon (8:27.07) and Jamaine Coleman (8:33.48) opened their steeplechase seasons.

Staying with the Steeple

The quality of female steeplechasing in the UK continues to grow, this weekend thanks to Maisie Grice at the NCAA Div 1 West Prelims in Sacramento. Her 9:48.89 improves her PB by five seconds and moves to 16th on the British all-time list. Also racing was Elise Thorner (9:42.87).

I am not going to pretend to entirely understand how the prelims work and who advances to the NCAA Championships in three weeks time. However, I do understand who was racing – so let’s stick to that!

Charles Hicks raced over both 5000m and 10000m, clocking 13:26.65 and 28:22.04 respectively. Scott Beattie (28:21.98) finished fourth in the 10000m. Over a much shorter distance, Yusuf Bizimana (1:47.59) continued his excellent series of 800m races.

Glorious Gotzis

Fast Running might not usually delve into the combined events, but the Hypomeeting in Gotzis (Austria) is this author’s favourite athletics meeting. It brought about the very welcome return of Katarina Johnson Thompson close to her best. Having won the event in 2014 and 2019, she finished second with 6556 points, setting a shot put PB in the process. That is a World Championships and Olympics qualifier, and her best result since 2019.

Fellow Brit Jade O’Dowda set a PB (6225 points), with an 800m PB also (2:11.90). The event highlight came from American Anna Hall, with 6988 points to move to fifth on the heptathlon all-time list. Particularly impressive was her 2:02.97 800m – one of the fastest in heptathlon history.

KJT & Jade O’Dowda in Gotzis. Photo: Bjorn Paree

On the Roads

Is it fair to say that the road racing season has now passed its peak? Going by the number of races this weekend, that may be a fair statement. That is not to say there was nothing happening on the roads.

One of the fastest times of the weekend was run by Taha Ghafari (29:54) at the Babcock Dumbarton 10k in Scotland. Nynke Mulholland (35:48) was the fastest female.

Staying in Scotland, Robbie Ferguson (32:03) was victorious at the Land O’Burns 10k ahead of Kevan Harvey (32:19) and Jonathon Downey (33:25). Katrine Kelly (38:47) was a clear winner ahead of Mary McCutcheon (41:42) and Julie Beveridge (42:38) in the women’s field.

Assumedly no relation to Nijel, Imogen Amos (37:37) of Tonbridge won the Folkestone Coastal 10k ahead of clubmate Becky Morrish (39:22). Marshall Smith (32:04) won the men’s race, having won the Folkestone Half Marathon last September.

The Treforest 10k went to Jacob Tasker (32:11), finishing over three minutes before anyone else, and Antoinette Dumayne (37:32).

Jasmine Wood (35:33) and Joe Wilkinson (31:22) were victorious at the Bradford 10k, with Charlotte Dillon (36:47) and Steve Rankin (35:07) the same at the Raby Races 10k in County Durham.

The Goole Riverbank Challenge 10k went to David Mckinnon (33:24) and Venika Moverley (39:20). Peter Stock (33:38) and Holly Gordon (43:28) took the Levens 10k, whilst the Ivybridge 10k went to Rebecca Ezra Ham (36:33) and Jim Cole (32:32).

Earlier in the week were two RunThrough events. On Wednesday, Kate O’Malley (37:30) and Michael McCarthy (33:41) crossed the line first at the Chase the Sun Hyde Park 10k in London. Karina Thornton (19:07) and Ollie Garrod (15:23) crossed the line first in the associated 5k.

A day later, Joseph Cairns (36:00) and Flo Parsonson (40:21) won the Run Media City 10k.

Longer Distances

Ending with the longer distance races this weekend. There were wins for Ben Robinson (71:36) and Kelly Butler (92:22) at the Dymock Half Marathon. Kristian Watson (71:13) and Laura Gibson (83:33) took the honours at the Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon. The associated 10k went to Mairi Littleson (40:01) and Stuart McGeachy (34:02).

Josh Holman (75:43) and Clare Foreman (1:44:26) crossed the line first at the Kempton Park Running Festival Half Marathon. In London, Ella Kenney (95:18) and Alex Milne (78:26) won the Wimbledon Common Half Marathon.

Finally, the Buxton AC Half Marathon went to Phil Hardman (79:27) and Emma Jolley (87:39), with Lisa Finlay (93:20) and Andrew Gibson (86:33) winning the Kirkcudbright Academy Half Marathon.

… & Finally

It is always fun to end with a win for one of the Fast Running team. Robbie Britton won the Trail Monte Soglio in Italy over 38. His time of 3:28:54 bettered the Course Record in the process, with him rewarded with a food vacuum packer. The glamour! Natalie White finished fourth.

Robbie Britton in action in Italy.