James Rhodes brings you the action including the European 10000m Cup and the Prefontaine Classic

It is, in a way, hard to know where to start this weekend, but with two of the Fast Running team in France for the European 10,000m Cup, it seems only right to start there. After a COVID-enforced absence and a move from Highgate, the event returned to the town of Pace (great name!) as a host of Europe’s best distance athletes took to the track for 25 laps; they included seven representatives for Great Britain. Hot exposed conditions made it gruelling test of endurance for the athletes under the watchful eye of race ambassador Paula Radcliffe.

Mahamed Mahamed in action in the men’s race. Photo: Tom Craggs

A fantastic run from Abbie Donnelly saw her rewarded with a ninth place finish and an improvement of 25 seconds on her lifetime best set at Highgate just a fortnight ago (32:20.82). It has been an excellent start to the year for the Lincoln Wellington athlete, including the BUCS title over 5000m and second placed finished at the BUCS Indoor Championships and XC Champs. She was joined by Hannah Irwin (32:44.38, 14th), Lauren Heyes (32:49.69, 15th), Philippa Bowden (33:22.05, 22nd) and Jess Gibbon (32:24.86, 23rd) who were rewarded with a team bronze medal.  Ann-Marie McGlynn (33:31.73, 25th) Aoibhe Richardson (34:22.21) and Emma Mitchell (34:32.39) were representing Ireland – more details in our Irish roundup later. Yasemin Can took the win in 31:20.18.

Southampton’s Mahamed Mahamed was the only GB male representative, finishing 23rd (28:38.03) in a race where Jimmy Gressier narrowly missed the French Record in winning (27:24.51). The race also saw an excellent performance from Efrem Gidbey finishing 6th in 28:01.50, Jack O’Leary ran 30:06.80 – again more eon both in our Irish roundup. You can catch up with all the races on the European Athletics YouTube Channel.

Mahamed Mahamed in action in the men’s race. Photo: Tom Craggs

Excellent Eugene

The Diamond League moved to Eugene for its third leg of the season at the Prefontaine Classic. From a British perspective, the highlight of Friday’s action was an outdoor PB for Sam Atkin (13:15.31) in the first of two 5000m being held as part of the two-day competition. The race had been billed as a World Record attempt by Joshua Cheptegai, but his time of 12:57.99 fell someway short. Somewhat ironically, the second race was faster thanks to a solo effort from

Similarly, the women’s race had been marketed as an opportunity for Letesenbet Gidey to target her own WR. Gidey led for much of the race, but compatriot Ejgayehu Taye overhauled her in the closing stages with a 64 second last lap. Her time (14:12.98) is the fifth fastest in history.

Continuing the fine form he showed in 2021, Jake Heyward set a Welsh Record and PB (3:51.99) in the Bowerman Mile finishing seventh; Jakob Ingebrigtsen took the win in 3:49.76. Stepping down the distance by 109m as Neil Gourley recorded a lifetime best (3:34.85) when finishing second in the 1500m, his first time under 3:35 but more importantly, perhaps, a time under the World Championships qualifying standard. Marc Scott (3:37.68) and James West (3:38.44) finished ninth and tenth respectively. The women’s race over the same distance saw one of the fastest times in history from Olympic Champion Faith Kipyegon with a 3:52.59 clocking, with Laura Muir finishing eleventh (4:04.45).

Keely Hodgkinson continued her winning ways in emphatic style, comfortably beating a strong field with a 1:57.72 World Lead; Jemma Reekie was eighth in 2:00.53.

Plenty of PBs at the British Milers Club   

A total of 307 athletes took to the track for the second British Milers Club Grand Prix of the year, taking place at Sportcity in Manchester. Favourable conditions enabled 145 athletes to set PBs, an impressive 45% of all competitors. Two of those setting PBs were the winners of the 5000m a races, Kate Holt (15:48.45) and Jacob Cann (13:58.66), the latter having the best race of his career to improve from his previous best of 15:43.1 from 2020.

Fresh from his win at the Monument Mile Classic last week, Ben MacMillan (3:40.60) was quickest over 1500m, also with a lifetime best, with Ellie Baker (4:11.87) the fastest woman. Jenny Selman (2:03.00) ran well to convincingly win the 800m, whilst Angus Harrington improved his best to 1:48.58 to take the win in a competitive field including Olympian Oliver Dustin, six days after winning at the Loughborough International.

Earlier in the week saw the Eltham play host to BMC Regional Races, incorporated into a Cambridge Harriers Open Meeting. The fastest times within the BMC races were set by Jack Higgins (1:52.14) and U17 Lauren Wormley (2:12.15 PB) over 800m, Brogan Wallace (4:32.1) and Samuel Charig (3:51.60) in the 1500m with both setting lifetime bests, and India’s Samuel Barwal (14:05.6) and Holly Dixon (16:31.67) over 5000m, with Holly running on her home track. Results for the open meeting races are yet to make their way online.

Domestic Track Action Continues

The Invicta East Kent AC Open Meeting on Monday provided PBs for the four fastest athletes in the longest races of the evening; Yiannis Christodoulou (16:40.27) and Millie Knightley (20:49.77) over 5000m, and Nadya Collantes (5:18.50) and Matthew Knight (5:16.77) in the mile. Sticking with open meetings, U15 athlete Mike Sanderson (2:11.55 PB) and Laura Hillyard (2:24.24) were quickest over 800m at the Be Fit Outdoor Series in Dagenham on Saturday.

At the Corby AC Open Meeting on Wednesday, U15 Lillie Holford (5:04.97) and Gareth Matthews (4:33.52) took the honours over 1500m, with Freddie Cushing (2:05.21) and Abigail Thayanithi (2:29.83) doing the same in the 800m. Sticking with 3.75 laps but moving to the Oxon & Bucks Midweek Open in Horspath, where Rhiannon Paton (4:43.32 PB) and Joe Bowness (4:12.05) recorded the fastest times.

A rare visit across to Guernsey now, as the ActiveGsy Track & Field Series took place in St Peter Port. Two laps of the track were the longest competition of Thursday’s racing, with Henry Lister (2:06.80) and Nicole Petit (2:23.46) quickest in two 800m races.

To the Roads

Plenty has been happening on the roads this week too. There was high quality racing in the Scottish capital, with Kieran Walker (65:19) winning the Edinburgh Half Marathon and improving his best by nine seconds. The men’s podiums was rounded out by Lewis Rodgers of Fife AC (65:24) and Michael Christoforou (65:41), with two more athletes finishing in under 66 minutes. It was a similarly close affair amongst the women racing, with Rebecca Burns coming out on top with a 77:28 clocking, taking precisely nine minutes off her previous best (albeit this was from 2016). She was closely followed by Sarah Brown (77:46) and Claire Bruce (77:55).

Virginie Barrand took the win in the Edinburgh Marathon in 2:45:03 ahead of Sophie Delderfield (2:51:43) and Christina Strauss (2:54:18). Matthew Gillette won the marathon in 2:17:57 well clear of Peter Avent (2:21:29) and Ollie Garrod (2:22:55).

Returning for its 39th edition, the Buxton Half Marathon takes in some beautiful views across the Peak District and it was the turn of Gareth Griffiths (77:22) and Hayley Gill (87:35) to join the winner’s list. Sticking with 13.1 miles but crossing to Scotland, where Stuart Donnachie (76:56) and Louise Ross (91:57) won the Kirkcudbright Academy Half Marathon. The associated 10km went to Lisa Finlay (40:20) and David Parrish (34:19).

Recent days have also seen plentiful 10kms, including the Easingwold 10k (Jordan Howe, 32:13; Charlotte Mason, 36:05), Wesham 10k on Wednesday (Carla Davies, 36:02; Rob Danson, 32:07), Northampton 10k (Ben Plummer, 32:59; Megan Stenhouse, 36:38), Levens 10k (Kendal AC’s Alasdiar Rossell, 32:26; Katie Percival of Bolton Harriers, 43:42) and Land O’Burns 10k (Katrine Kelly, 38:28; Martin Brown, 33:11) and the Run Media City (Gary Bergin, 38:34; Rachel Bugon, 41:44). In Liverpool, Andrew Watkin (35:46) and Ellen Duckers (48:00) were first across the line at the Stanley Park 10k, with the associated 5k won by Donna McKenna (22:01) and Gary Horan (18:55).

Britain’s Sophie Wood took a big win Athletics the Brussels 20km. The annual race with nearly 30000 competitors has attracted some of Europe’s leading distance runners with previous British winners including Veronique Marot, Steve Brace and Mike McLeod. Sale Harrier Wood ran 71:11 over the course described as ‘challenging’ to take victory by over a minute.

Racing in Europe, Too

Plenty more has been happening on the European Circuit too. Oordegem in Belgium has gained a reputation as somewhat of a haven for fast times, and Saturday’s IFAM meeting saw over 130 British athletes make the trip across the channel for a competition that ran for almost 15 hours and finished after 1am (yes, you read that correctly!). Some of the British highlights included lifetime bests for Henry McLuckie (13:43.10), Michael Ward (13:53.86) and Ian Crowe Wright (13:54.06) over 5000m, a 3:41.91 PB for Michael Wilson over 1500m, and Maisie Grice improving her 3000m steeplechase PB by almost five seconds (10:04.91).

Ben Pattison followed up his recent wins over 800m at the BMC Grand Prix and Birmingham Diamond League with a win over the less-frequently run 1000m at the Poznan Grand Prix in Poland on Friday (2:19.27), his debut at the distance.

Wednesday saw a flurry of competitions on the European circuit. Fresh from bettering the British Record for the 2000m steeplechase, Tokyo Olympian Aimee Pratt improved her PB over the standard 3000m distance with 9:25.48 at the Meeting Iberoamericano in Spain, cementing her third place on the UK all-time list. Georgie Hartigan finished seventh over 1500m (4:11.77) at the same meeting, whilst Jamie Webb made a significant improvement on his early races with a 1:46.28 fifth placed finish at the Internationales Leichtathletik Meeting Anhalt in Germany.

Thursday’s Meeting International du SATUC in Toulouse in France provided Kane Elliot with a 1500m PB (3:39.13), his first time under 3:40, whilst Zak Seddon ran the fourth fastest 3000m steeplechase of his career (8:24.68). Finally, Alex George (7:54.95) and Sam Charlton (7:58.56) finished second and fifth respectively over 3000m at the Motonet GP in Finland on Wednesday, the latter in a new lifetime best.

NCAA Commences

For those currently in the collegiate system in the USA, this weekend was the preliminaries of the NCAA. At the East Prelims in Indiana, Katy-Ann McDonald took a win over 800m (2:03.42) and Ellie Leather set a 1500m PB with 4:11.33, whilst Charlotte Dannatt (34:27.22) and David Melville (29:48.74) went over 10,000. Callum Elson won the 1500m at the DII Championships (3:46.35) before also running in the 5000m (14:35.90).

Finishing on the Trails

The Isle of Jura Fell Race, taking in seven summits and 2,370m of climbing over 28km of racing, saw its men’s Course Record broken by Finlay Wild of Lochaber AC, bettering his own time from 2017 with 2.58.09, the first sub three-hour time on the course. The women’s winner was Jasmin Paris of Carnethy Hill Runners, who finished in a time of 4.10.35. Darren Kay (50.55) and Ellie Mather (64.30) recorded the fastest times at the Hutton Roof Crags Fell Race.

A view from the beautiful course