James Rhodes brings you the highlights of a busy weekend that includes some fantastic racing at the British Indoor Championships, fast times at the Seville Marathon and much more.

Brilliant in Birmingham

Birmingham played host to the British Indoor Championships, where national titles and spots on the British team for the World Indoor Championships were up for grabs. The event saw a sell-out crowd on both days alongside a good atmosphere despite some notable absentees.

Perhaps the race of the weekend came in the women’s 800m. Jemma Reekie set the second fastest time of the world this year (1:58.24) to secure the British Indoor title. Her time is a Championship Record and an undoubted confidence boost ahead of her maiden World Indoor Championships.

Photo: James Rhodes

Erin Wallace is largely responsible for that time after setting the pace in the early laps. She left Birmingham with the reward of a PB (2:01.35) and a bronze medal. Issy Boffey took silver in 2:00.27, just 0.02 seconds shy of her indoor PB. She will join Jemma in Glasgow next weekend.

The men’s race saw perhaps the biggest upset from a middle-distance perspective, as Tonbridge’s Jack Higgins beat pre-race favourite Guy Learmonth by one thousandth of a second. Both recorded 1:47.91, an outright PB for Jack. Sadly, Guy has not been selected for the World Indoors despite qualifying by virtue of his world ranking. As such, the Scot will not get an indoor farewell at a home championships.

Photo: James Rhodes

Taking the Inside Line

Piers Copeland delivered a tactical masterclass to retain his 1500m title. The Welshman took the inside line on the home straight to outsprint Callum Elson and Adam Fogg. Just two-tenths of a second separated the three, Piers finishing in 3:48.43 to Callum’s 3:48.54 and Adam’s 3:48.63. Callum and Adam are selected for Glasgow, as Piers does not have the qualifying standard.

Photo: James Rhodes

Four women went into the 1500m to try and take two available places on the team. In the end, pre-race season bests played out. Georgia Bell won her first British title (4:09.66) ahead of Revee Walcott Nolan (4:10.48) and Sarah McDonald (4:12.92).

In a busy field comprising 19 athletes, James West retained his 3000m title (7:51.09) ahead of Charles Wheeler (7:52.19) and Zak Seddon (7:53.52 PB). The top ten all ran inside eight minutes, with James Young, Joe Wigfield and Ellis Cross all setting PBs.

The women’s race over fifteen laps followed the expected script as Laura Muir won to secure her spot in Glasgow. She put in a burst of speed with two laps to go that the rest of the field could not match, and finished in 8:58.80. Hannah Nuttall took silver (9:01.94) and Belgrave’s Kate Axford bronze (9:08.03). Hannah may well be added to the World Indoor team following a ranking invite from World Athletics.

Photo: James Rhodes

Super Seville

There are not many athletes as popular as Phil Sesemann. Many have followed his marathon journey with great interest; he produced PBs in London (2:10:23) and Valencia (2:08:48) last year, but fell short of his Olympic qualifying goal. The Leeds athlete returned to the roads just ten weeks after Valencia at the Seville Marathon on Sunday.

The goal was realised third time lucky, as he improved to 2:08:04 (2:08:02 chip). That moves him to third on the British all-time list for the marathon, with just Mo Farah and Steve Jones ahead. It also betters Emile Cairess’s Leeds City record of 2:08:07.

Phil Sesemann, not in a marathon. Photo: James Rhodes

Jonny Mellor also had an excellent race, improving his PB to 2:09:09 (2:09:06 chip). Dewi Griffiths (2:12:52), Chris Rainsford (2:18:56 PB), Matt Crehan (2:19:35) and Ross Braden (2:19:49) also finished inside 2:20.

In the women’s field, Heather Seaward and Fast Running regular Melissah Gibson both set lifetime bests of 2:32:40 (2:32:34 chip) and 2:36:48 (2:36:39 chip) respectively.

Magic Track

The Boston University track has made it to a few recent Weekend Round Ups, and this one is no different. This time the Boston University DMR Challenge, this time two more Olympic qualifiers in the 5000m!

Patrick Dever (13:04.05) and Jack Rowe (13:04.75) both set significant outright PBs to run inside the Olympic standard. They join George Mills and Sam Atkin; an exciting level of depth where qualifiers have been rare since the days of Mo Farah. Charles Hicks also set a PB of 13:09.38, which is inside the qualifying time for the European Championships in Rome.

On the Roads

Plenty has been happening on the roads too. The ever-fast Battersea Park hosted the PUL5k Friday Night Under Lights on, you guessed it, Friday. As ever, it was a highly competitive race with second to tenth separated by less than ten seconds.

Henry McLuckie (13:57) was fastest overall, finishing six seconds clear of Jack Kavanagh (14:03). Jake Shelley (14:03) recorded the same time and completed the top-three. American Taryn Rawlings (15:54) won the elite women’s race ahead of Megan Davies (16:01) and Meg Gadsby (16:09).

Sticking with the same distance, victories at the regular Tavy 5k went to Fynn Baker (17:28) and Lucy Coad (18:17).

With the spring marathon season getting closer, multiple half marathons offered athletes the chance to test their racing speed. The fastest was the Village Bakery Wrexham Half Marathon, where Andrew Heyes (65:39) and Sally O’Gorman (73:43) secured victories. The respective top-threes were completed by John J Gilbert (66:46) and Simon Crawford (67:26), and Rachel Hodgkinson (75:07) and Mollie Williams (75:18). The first fifteen athletes all finished in under 70 minutes.

Elsewhere, Tom Bean (76:34) and Florence Papougnot (83:31) won the Deal Half Marathon and Sam Atkinson (72:02) and Yasmin Small (85:01) the Great North West Half Marathon.

The Hendy Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon saw Michael Ellis (70:17) lead a Tonbridge one-two ahead of clubmate Stephen Strange (70:28). Helen Gaunt (80:10) secured a clear winning margin of almost five minutes in the women’s field, with Nichola Evans (85:05) second.

Still Going

With a winning margin of precisely one minute, Ryan Corrin (80:40) was victorious at the Richmond Half Marathon. Tani Bruge (94:00) joined him on the winner’s podium. Staying in southwest London, Madeleine Garner (86:19) and Ollie Garrod (68:58) crossed the finish line first at the Hampton Court Half Marathon. Thomas Blunt (81:25) and Emily Bevan (90:18) did the same at the Wimbledon Half Marathon.

The latter was one of many RunThrough events this weekend, another being the Carsington Water Half Marathon. Damian Saunders (82:27) and Naomi Wright (97:09) set the quickest times. Leanne Muscroft (44:26) and Daniel Haymes (33:03) won the associated 10k.

Felicity Baillie (94:04) and Harry Law (74:42) set the fastest times in the half marathon at RunThrough’s Birmingham Running Festival in Sutton Coldfield. Katrina Jones (41:12) and Alastair Glossop (36:33) won the associated 10k, and Rachel Edwards (32:00) and Daniel Harris (20:13) the 5k.

There were clear victories for both Katy Wood (56:09) and William Strangeway (50:14) at the Snake Lane 10 in Pocklington. Racing over the same distance, Martin Norton (58:56) and Emily Fell (61:58) won the Cardiff 10. Emma Wookey (2:19:51) and Mark Thomas (2:00:00) were quickest over double the distance at the Cardiff 20. Alex Smith (26:13) and Ellen McLeod (29:15) won the Wombwell 5.

Shorter Races

Ending this week with a flurry of races over 10k. They include the Smartt Smasher 10k in Calne, which saw Simon Nott (32:38) and Emma Haley (43:24) secure wins. Katie O’Hare (41:43) and George King (32:43) did the same at the Winchester 10k. Jack Whitebury (34:33) and Rachael Ormesher (43:35) won the Harrow Hill 10k and Shaun Hughes (37:11) and Tamana Tomlinson (48:24) the Ruthin 10k.

Andy Lawrence (34:52) and Louise Andrews (45:40) were quickest at the regular Tempo Winter Series 10k, whilst Sophie Wood (34:35) and Simon Birch (31:32) won the Watersons Hale 10k.