Some of the world’s best athletes may be in their final preparations with the World Championships less than a week away, but there has been no shortage of racing on the roads and track this weekend. James Rhodes brings you some of the highlights in this weekend’s round up.

BMC Finale

The British Milers Club Grand Prix drew to a conclusion on Saturday, with the fifth and final meeting in Trafford.

In a race won by Denmark’s Mikael Johnsen (13:46.52), Joe Wigfield had quite a debut over 5000m (13:46.83). It follows an impressive ten second improvement for 1500m over the course of the season. The pair were two of twelve athletes to run inside 14 minutes. Neil Johnston (13:53.53), Fintan Stewart (13:55.11), Angus McMillan (13:56.61) and Ben Alcock (13:56.89) all set PBs.

In the women’s race, Fast Running alumni Hannah Irwin improved her PB by five seconds to 15:40.57. She was a clear winner ahead of German Svenja Pingpank (15:52.30) and Sophie Wallis (15:54.88). The latter ran inside 16 minutes for the first time on the track.

Sarah McDonald set a BMC Record in the 1500m, frontrunning the entire race to 4:03.03. It was her second outing since signing with On, and her second fastest time of the season. Behind, there were PBs for Eloise Walker (4:09.09) and Megan Davies (4:12.36). Irishman Cathal Doyle won the men’s race (3:37.43).

Photo: James Rhodes

There were PBs for the two winners in the 800m. Khai Mhlanaga improved her best for the third time in 2023, this time to 2:00.15. If it wasn’t for fairly strong headwinds in the home straight, she may well have joined the sub-two club.

Matt Stonier improved by a second to win the men’s a race in 1:45.79, notably beating World Indoor Champion Mariano Garcia and silver medallist Noah Kibet. Tiarnan Crorken (1:46.41) and Tyler Bilyard (1:47.36) also set lifetime bests.

Rising Stars

Some of Europe’s best junior athletes descended on Jerusalem for four days of competition at the European U20 Championships. They included a strong British team looking to follow on the successes of last month’s European U23 Championships.

The highlight from a middle / long distance perspective came in the women’s 800m, where Abbie Ives won silver (2:05.89). It was a deserved medal after a breakthrough season that has included a 1:59.92 PB. Harry Ross-Hughes made the final of the men’s 800, finishing eighth (1:52.68).

Another fine medal came from Bradley Giblin (8:47.26) who won bronze in the men’s 3000m. Ed Bird (8:51.09) and Dayfdd Jones (9:00.13) finished seventh and fourteenth respectively, with Ireland’s Nick Griggs (8:45.69) taking silver.

Over 1500m, Dan Galloway (4:03.19) crossed the line sixth in the final and Sam Mills (4:08.46) eleventh. Ava Lloyd (4:23.78) finished tenth in the women’s final of the same distance. Sadly, Ella Greenway did not start in the final, where she was one of the favourites based on SB.

The best performances over 5000m came from James Dargan (14:15.52). He finished fourth. Conan Harper (14:36.20) was 17th and George Couttie (14:47.82) 20th. In the women’s race, Natasha Phillips also finished fourth (16:23.63) in her first season racing on the track. Olivia Martin (17:25.58) finished 19th.

Tremendous in Trinidad

At the same time, another set of brilliant young athletes had travelled to the equally exciting Port of Spain in Trinidad for the Commonwealth Youth Games.

As in Jerusalem, the highlight came in the women’s 800m. This time it was thanks to Phoebe Gill. The 16 year old took an impressive gold; however, her time of 2:02.30 was perhaps more impressive. It is the fastest by a British 16-year-old since 1977. In the same race, Alice Bennett (2:08.29) finished sixth.

The men’s race provided two medals. Miles Waterworth (1:52.21) took silver for England and Caleb Mcleod (1:52.83) bronze for Scotland. Jack Kinrade (1:56.06) finished sixth.

Lyla Belshaw secured bronze in the 1500m with the fastest run of her career (4:16.37 PB), whilst William Rabjohns (3:46.46) was best in the men’s 1500m with fifth. Eliza Nicholson (9:26.00) took home a bronze medal also, this time in the women’s 3000m. Jess Bailey (9:38.08), Anna Gardiner (9:56.02) and Amy Teasdale (10:22.27) were fourth, fifth and ninth respectively.

Closer to Home

Plenty more has been happening on tracks across the country. The PB that Megan Davies improved at the BMC Grand Prix was only a few days old, having run a 4:12.37 PB at the midweek BMC Regional Races in Loughborough. Benjamin West (3:44.17) was the fastest male.

A day earlier, Calli Thackery (8:55.86) and Adam Barber (8:27.12 PB) ran the fastest times over 3000m at the BMC Regional Races in Leeds. Charlie Roberts (1:52.74) and Lottie Langan (2:10.03 PB) were quickest in the 800m races.

Verity Ockenden (15:21.59 SB) and Alastair Watson (14:23.08) were fastest over 5000m, the former with her fastest in two years. Louise Gilbert (2:10.55) and Simon Coppard (1:51.52) recorded the quickest 800m times.

At the ever-popular Watford Open Graded Meeting, Almi Nerurkar (9:16.14) improved her 3000m best by over five seconds. Henry Dover (8:19.53) won the quickest race of the evening. Oliver Emment (1:54.03 PB) and Rachel McClay (2:05.05) were fastest in the extensive number of 800m heats.

Alex Millard (4:11.50) improved her 1500m lifetime best set at the European U23 Championships at the Tonbridge Open Meeting. Jordan Chambers (3:52.48) was the quickest male, just beating clubmate Will Beeston (3:53.06 PB).

Bethany Trow (4:34.39 PB) and Ash Burgess (4:07.22) were quickest over 1500m at the Nuneaton Night of Endurance. Phoebe Langlands (10:20.85 PB) and Chris Hine (8:59.14 PB) set the fastest performances over 3000m. Finally, the fastest to take on 25 laps were Finn Lydon (31:39.38 PB) and Lisa Bettoney (49:06.99).

Finally, Joshua Mingin (1:57.00) and Erin Burnett (2:22.11) ran fastest over 800m at the Linwood AC Open. Eilidh Dallas (10:13.33 PB) and James Alexander (9:04.36) did the same for 3000m.

Wins Abroad

Jack Rowe (13:30.81) won the 5000m at the Motonet GP in Finland on Tuesday. It was not the only British win, as Tom Randolph (1:45.35) won the men’s 800m. In the same race Sam Reardon (1:46.40) finished fourth and Archie Davis (1:46.62) sixth. Alex Bell (2:00.87) was fifth in the women’s race.

James Gormley continued his fine season with a 3:37.20 PB for 1500m at the BMW Louyet in Belgium.

On the Roads

One of the road highlights of the weekend was the Podium 5k Home Nations International in Bute Park in Cardiff. Representing England, Tom Mortimer had one of the best performances of the event, his time of 13:39 a Welsh all-comers record. It was a strong run that saw him finish five seconds ahead of Pontypridd Rodents’ Fergal Kurtin (13:44). Also running for England, Jack Gray (13:51) finished third. Five of the field finished inside 14 minutes, and 13 inside 14:15.

Calli Thackery (15:29) delivered a dominant performance to win the women’s race by almost half a minute. That time equalled Charlotte Arter’s all-comers record. Running for an Adidas team, she finished 27 clear of fellow Adidas teammate Kate Axford (15:56). A huge run from Kate, taking 43 seconds off her lifetime best. Running for England, Ellie Wallace (15:57) finished third. The top twelve all finished inside 16:19.

Midweek Racing

Both Course Records were bettered at the Quayside 5k on Wednesday, thanks to Scott Beattie (13:45) and Heather Townsend (16:19). Beattie and Kenyans Martin Musyoka and Paul Selian broke away early in the race, with Beattie running clear with 500m to go. The top three in the women’s field were separated by only 10 seconds, with Sophie Pikett (16:25) and Elisha Tait (16:29) completing the podium.

Active Training World’s Friday Night Races in Colchester hosted the Essex 5k Championships on Friday, with the titles going to Gemma Kersey (16:36) and Dean Williamson (14:52). Gemma ran alongside Olivia Forrest for much of the race before breaking away in the closing stages. Olivia was rewarded with a PB of 16:55. The men’s race saw a larger pack together, running inside 15 minute pace. Dean Williamson moved clear to take the Essex title just four seconds ahead of Ben Davis (14:56).

Nick Bester (15:06) and Jessica Saunders (16:47) took wins at the Sri Chimnoy 5k in the always-fast Battersea Park. There were close battles behind for the top-three places. Matthew Rallison (15:12) outsprinted Rui Yong Soh (15:15), whilst just one second separated Rebecca Bunting (17:14) from Felicity Harrison (17:15).

Plenty More

Elsewhere, there were victories for David Hudson (15:17) and Lucy Mapp (16:51) at the Peterborough Grand Prix 5k, and Charlie Arnell (17:00) and Matthew Lock (15:29) at the Alchester 5k.

Harry Lancaster (15:39) and Millie McKnespiey (16:28) crossed the line first at the SIA Castle 5k. Jasmine Wood (16:41) and Arne Dumez (15:52) did the same at the York 5k. Staying with ‘y’, Ben DiSalvo (15:49) and Gill Pearson (18:45) won the Yeovilton 5k.

David Cole (17:09) and Polly Summers (21:45) won the Poppit Sands 5k, and the Upton Summer 5k went to Thomas Corbin (18:39) and Emily Hilliar (21:26). James Baker (16:27) and Debbie Cook (22:20) took wins at the Gosport 5k.

Finally, wins at the Chesterfield No Walk in the Park 5k went to Sarah Moss (19:03) and Steven Gascoyne (17:24). Niamh Jackson (35:16) and Andy Smith (29:55) were fastest at the Yorkshire Vets Grand Prix 5k.

Longer Distances

With the autumn road season getting ever closer, racing opportunities become more frequent each weekend. Phil Hardman (2:49:54) and Evelyn Twomey (3:15:26) were rewarded with victories at the Isle of Man Marathon. Gemma Astin (76:38) and Corrin Leeming (70:00) crossed the line first in the associated Isle of Man Half Marathon.

A high quality Newark Half Marathon saw Sonia Samuels record a comfortable victory in 72:28. It was the Rio Olympian’s first half marathon of the year and just nine seconds shy of her PB from 2019. Impressively is also just 17 seconds short of the world best by a 44-year-old. The top three was completed by Hannah Berry (77:45) and Rebecca Taylor (79:03). Daniel Connolly (65:56) finished just four seconds ahead of Joe Wilkinson (66:00) with Frank Baddick (66:24) third.

Matt Scarsbrook (71:14) and Kelly Moorcroft (78:09) took victories at the RunThrough Solihull Half Marathon. The associated 10k was won by Amy Fuller (37:27) and Jack Chennell (33:36). In Scotland, Martin Mueller (1:17:08) and Heather Graz (1:43:41) went quickest at the Arbroath Half Marathon.

Robert Jerrett (77:59) and Isabel Stubbs (86:30) crossed the finish line first at the Burnham Beeches Half Marathon in Slough. The associated 10k went to Nicola Penty-Alvarez (42:09) and Liam Busby (33:00).

Battersea Park made an appearance earlier, it is back for two more! First is Saturday’s Battersea Park 10k organised by RunThrough. Fastest times there were set by Jonathan Mogensen (33:04) and Jayne Nisbet (38:06). A day later and the London Summer League 10k. There it was the turn of Harriet Preedy (38:03) and Alastair Matheson (33:04) to record the fastest times.

More 10ks

Some of the fastest 10k times came in Langley Burrell at the Lightning Bolt 10k. They included for race winners Harry Smith (30:37) and Anna Harrold (34:46). Kate Reed (34:46) recorded the same chip time as Anna, with Anna two seconds faster on gun time.

Lloyd Biddell (32:42) and Abigail Halcarz (36:55) won the Burton 10k, Claire Day (40:36) and Graeme Mcintosh (37:01) the Mount Ephraim 10k. Back in London and to Regents Park, where Christopher Fox (35:27) and Rosamund Ponder (39:09) took the London Summer 10k.

Elsewhere, Steve Kenyon (34:55) and Kate Jacobs (40:34) won the Bugatti 10k, Lisa Finlay (40:01) and William Nash (34:49) the Dalbeattie 10k and Paul Lyons (34:19) and Judith Broadbent (43:13) the Sleaford Striders 10k. Peter Lawrie (36:36) and Jodie Penny (46:00) took victories at the Dinton Summer 10k. Damian Holmwood (17:16) and Ellie Gosling (20:47) won the associated 5k.

& Finally

Photo: Alex Scolari

We end this week at the 50th edition of the Sierre Zinal in Switzerland. Sophia Laukli and Philemon Kiriago claimed victories in Saturday’s race, part of the Valsir Mountain Running World Cup. The course covers 31km and includes 2200m of ascent, but it proved no problem for Robbie Simpson. He finished a fine sixth in 2:35:59, eight minutes behind winner Kiriago (2:27:27).