This weekend saw many of the country’s athletes take to the track for their last race of the short, but exciting season, whilst others got back on the road.
It is so great to finally be writing a jam-packed round up, filled with lots of non-virtual, high-quality races.
The Belgrave Harriers Night of 1500m saw a speedy field tear up the track with some impressive PB’s. Leading out the women’s race from the start was Nike athlete, Adelle Tracey.
Tracey held her own for the entirety of the race and when Australian steeplechaser, Genevieve Gregson, stepped up a gear, she remained strong and stuck in first position. Adelle didn’t flounder and pushed away into the home straight, achieving a convincing win and a personal best of 4:07.47, just under 3 seconds faster than her best from last year.
In second place, dipping under the 4:10 barrier for the first time was Genevieve Gregson. The Australian superstar, who boasts a 3000m steeplechase PB of 9:14.28 and a 5,000m best of 15:06.67, managed a solid time of 4:09.40. Third place was secured by Revee Walcott-Nolan, also in a lifetime best time of 4:11.54.
Personal bests all round
The personal bests continued as Amelia Quirk set a best time of 4:12.19, over 2 seconds faster than her previous time. Ellie Baker stepped up a distance from the 800m, improving her lifetime best to 4:15.08 for fifth place. Lilly Coward finished sixth with a PB of 4:16.72.
The men’s event was yet another one inundated with personal best times. Taking home the win in 3:40.85 was U23 athlete, Joe Wigfield. The Liverpool Harrier shaved almost 3 seconds off his previous time.
In second place, with a time of 3:41.30, was Ian Crowe-Wright. He added yet another PB to the list at the Belgrave event. It was U20 runner, Henry McLuckie, who came in third with a PB of 3:42.16, followed by Michael Wilsmore in 3:43.08 and Ben Bradley in 3:44.11.
Barrowford 10k impresses again
On a dark evening in Barrowford was the Podium 5k 10k. The event saw the likes of Jake Smith take to the loop course in Lancashire.
Prior to the event, it was Emile Cairess who had the fastest personal best on paper with a time of 28:38, which he set in France last year. It was a tough battle with Jake Smith (Cardiff AC), Emile Cairess (Leeds City AC) and Jamie Crowe (Cardiff AC) in the lead pack after Omar Ahmed dropped off.
Coming into the final lap it was anybody’s race as the three athletes were shoulder to shoulder. Coming into the finish it was Cairess who pushed on ahead, finishing in a rapid 28:46. Just 2 seconds behind in second place was Jamie Crowe, who ran an impressive 13:58 at the British Champs. Third place was secured by Jake Smith who updated his previous best time by 40 seconds, ‘officially’ clocking sub-29 for the first time.
Earlier in the day, some the north’s finest women took to the Barrowford course. The fastest woman on the day was Ribble Valley Harriers’ athlete, Eleanor Bolton. Bolton, whose previous 10k time stood at 34:27 from last year, ran a rapid 33:33, a well-deserved PB.
Second place went to Claire Duck (Leeds City AC) in 34:29 and third place went to Georgia Malir (Leeds City AC) in 34:55.
— podium 5k road race (@podium5k) September 19, 2020
Sub four minute miling in Scotland
In Stirling, athletes played homage to Sir Roger Bannister by racing at The Monument Mile. Both Jonny Davies and Ian Crowe-Wright clocked sub-4-minute miles. Davies clocked 3:59.36, marking his last bit of short distance racing before his focus switches to National Three Peak Challenge.
This is quite fitting, seeing as back when Bannister broke four minutes for the mile, it was described as the Everest of athletics. Crowe-Wright also set a huge PB of 3:59.61. The pair became the first in 11 years to clock sub-4 in Scotland. Mark Pearce came in third with a solid 4:02.85.
In the women’s elite race, it was Cambridge University that dominated the field. After a PB race in Battersea, Louise Shanahan (Cambridge University) took the win in a rapid 4:44.87. Shanahan was just ahead of teammate Niamh Bridson-Hubbard who ran 4:48.77. It was Edinburgh Uni’s Katie Johnson who came in third with a solid 4:50.14. A strong race from all!
Excellent PB for in-form Rowden
Over in Croatia, plenty of British athletes took to the Zagreb track for their last track race of the short season in the 70th Hanžeković Memorial. In the men’s 800m it was domination from the Brits as we secured the top three finishing spots. Recent British 800m champion, Daniel Rowden, was the fastest on the night as he ran a speedy 1:44.09, which also qualifies as a PB for him.
Taking second place, just 0.68 seconds behind Rowden was Elliot Giles from PhxTrk in Brighton. Completing the winning trio was Jake Wightman in 1:44.85 for his last track race of the year. Youngster, Max Burgin, also competed in the event and ran a strong 1:47.73.
British middle distance running is on fire
Over the slightly longer, 1500m distance, James West and George Mills flew the British flag. West had an incredible race as he finished his season on a high with a personal best of 3:34.56 to take second place. Mills, who was recently crowned British Champion over the same distance came in sixth, also with a PB of 3:36.72.
In Bellinzona in Switzwerland, the fast times continued at the Galà dei Castelli as some of Britain’s finest U23 athletes competed.
In the women’s 800m event, it was the incredibly speedy, Jemma Reekie who put her form to the test once again. Reekie gave her all to go under the 2-minute barrier comfortably once again with a solid 1:58.87 for fourth place.
It was in the men’s 1500m that the country’s U23 athletes truly shone. After taking it up a level this year, Piers Copeland proved his strength on the international stage as he ran a cracking best time of 3:35.69 to secure himself second place. Coming in fifth was Joshua Lay, another junior, also with a PB of 3:36.92.
British women were already leading the middle distance charge
In the penultimate Diamond League event in Rome, our speedy 800m girls finished their season in a slightly messy but exciting way.
After setting off at a very conservative pace, the women’s 800m saved everything until the last lap. It was a clear fight for the line from youngster Reekie, who was the only athlete in the field to dip under the 2-minute barrier.
This was Reekie’s seventh time running under 2-minutes for the two-lap distance this year. In her BBC interview after the race she said, “My race plan went completely out of the window, but I was able to adapt and run to the best of my ability,” proving her class. She also stated in her Instagram post after the event that her aim had be ‘to step up and perform at a world level’ and that she did indeed!
Laura Muir couldn’t quite take her training partner on this occasion but gave a gutsy performance and finished third in 2:00.49.
Muir later stated that she is a ‘1500m runner’ suggesting her sights may be set on the 3 and 3/4 lap distance for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Alex Bell also had a strong run, finishing sixth in 2:01.37. For all three Brits it was their last race of the season, so after some well-earned rest it will be back to the hard work over the winter to prepare for a big year next year.
At the Kladno Hází a Kladenské Memorial race in the Czech Republic, Isabelle Boffey ended her season on a high. The 800m took the win in a personal best time of 2:01.88. Also representing the UK was Archie Davis. Davis came in fourth with a season best of 3:40.37.
Back home at the BMC
Back in Trafford, the British Milers Club held another top-quality track event. This saw some talented 800m runners tear up the track with a 58% PB rate.
In the men’s event, it was Yusuf Bizimana who ran a classy race to take the win in an absolutely rapid 1:46.93. An excellent PB for the Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets athlete. In a close second place after a battle with third place, was Max Wharton on Liverpool Harriers.
Wharton clocked 1:49.10, finishing his year with a seasons best. In third place was Daniel Joyce (Tynedale) with a best time of 1:49.99.
Slightly up a distance, before his mile best later in the week, Jonny Davies ran a rapid 3:39.90 for 1500m. Over a slightly longer distance again, it was Tom Mortimer who won the 3000m event in 8:00.99, also a personal best.
BMC women’s results promising too
In the women’s event, it was Olivia Vareille of Edinburgh Uni who came in with the win in 2:06.42. Vareille too clocked a PB. In a strong field, Francesca Brint (Sale Harriers) was only just behind Vareille in 2:06.53, a very close finish!
The third fastest time was clocked by the winner of the B race, Eleanor Colbourn, with a new lifetime best of 2:08.64. The 1500m women’s event win was taken by U20 GB cross country runner, Eloise Walker. The Edinburgh AC athlete stopped the clock on 4:17.36.
Hannah Nuttall of Charnwood won the 3000m event after her senior bronze medal in the steeplechase at the British Champs.
Final BMC event of a short season
It was also the final BMC of the season on Friday at Nuneaton. The British Milers Club have worked especially hard in this bizarre year to try and host covid-safe races for as many athletes as possible and have enabled a lot of athletes the opportunity to test their fitness post-lockdown.
This event saw athletes battle it out over the 800m’s and 1500m. For the women, it was New Balance athlete, Amy Griffiths who took the race on. She had a strong finish to take the win in 4:12.
The men’s race on the other hand was incredibly close and it was Max Wharton who came in for the win, just ahead of Tom Mortimer, in 3:46. Official results were yet to be published at time of writing, so these may not be 100% accurate.
Sunset racing in Cardiff
As the sun set over the Cardiff Sunset 5k, some of Wales’ finest athletes were out in force. It was a clear Cardiff AC domination in the women’s race.
After batting with injury in the latter part of lockdown, Charlotte Arter made her return to the roads to test her form. She took the win convincingly, just dipping under that 16-minute barrier to run 15:59. It was fellow Welsh international, Clara Evans, who ran a strong 16:25 after a storming run last weekend at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon where she clocked 72:21.
Coming in third was Lucy Marland of Cardiff AC who also dipped under 17-minutes to clock 16:54.
In the men’s race, an impressive 10 athletes managed to run sub-15 for the 5k distance. It was Osian Perrin, an U20 athlete, who ran a speedy 14:35 after a battle to the line for a photo finish.
Second place finisher, Matthew Edwards, also ran 14:35, however results (and the picture above) suggest it was Perrin who took the win by a minute margin. In third place was Guy Smith in 14:46. You can read more about the results of this event here
Windy conditions in the Olympic Park
At the RunThrough Olympic Park 5k & 10k there were plenty of athletes making the most of the sunny, but windy, conditions to run in. Taking the lead in the 10k was Pete Robinson (Springfield) with a strong time of 31:14.
Robinson clearly had a good lockdown training block as this was 55 seconds off of his best time, set last year. Tom Vickery came in second with 31:43 followed by Tom Darby in 33:00.
The win in the women’s event was a little closer, but was secured by Jenna Wilkinson, who clocked 38:44 for 10k. Wilkinson was soon followed by Courtney Bowen in 38:47 ahead of Katie Lanaway in 38:56.
The 5k was a family affair as Alex Miell-Ingram took the win with a solid 15:18 finishing time ahead of Rowan Miell-Ingram in 15:44. Third place went to Joseph Houlton in 16:23 (who we do not believe to be related to the first two – ed.).
For the women, Holly Dixon of Cambridge Harriers finished first in 16:50. It was Rebecca Murrary who came in second with 17:08 ahead of Julia Bijl in 17:41.
Run to the power
The Power Run 10k in Exeter also saw some fast performances.
On a course that was far from flat, with the start beginning at the bottom of an uphill and a headwind to make conditions tougher, the runners didn’t flounder. Phil Wylie (Power Run Ambassadors) came in first, crossing the finish line in a cracking 31:36. Andrew Peat (Birchfield Harriers) was second in 31:52 followed by Chris Rimmer in 32:58.
In the women’s race, Kirsteen Welch (Sidmouth Running Club) claimed the top of the podium, stopping the clock on 36:47. Welch was followed by Serane Stone (Tiverton Harriers) in 38:23 and Ruby Orchard (PB Running Club) in 38:30.
In the 5k, Johnny Livingstone came out on top with a 15:27 and Ellie Wallace won the women’s race in 17:39.
Team NB Manchester podium over 13.1 miles
At the Cheshire half, it was an incredibly close race with all the top three men finishing within 3 seconds of each other! Andrew Davies secured the win in 65:51 followed by Charlie Hulson in 65:52 and Jonny Mellor in 65:53.
Davies later tweeted a thanks to his teammates for pacing him to a win, although we’re not sure if this was just some humility from the v40 marathon record holder.
Massive thank you to @Cheshire10k for putting on the half marathon today. Well organised & extremely safe on race day. Big up to my pacemakers @jonnymellor9 @ross_millington & Charlie & letting me take the victory in 65:51 #newbalancerunning #fuelcell #ote @WelshAthletics 🏴 pic.twitter.com/51Bl3Szh0b
— Andrew Davies (@fellrunningandy) September 20, 2020
The women’s race wasn’t quite as close, but still a relatively quick one! The win went to Elizabeth Renondeau in 78:38. Johanna Oregon was in second with 79:45 ahead of Becki Timmings in 80:46.
Over in the Alps
Over in the Swiss Alps mountain runner Ben Riddell ran 1:55 for 21km and 1200m of climbing in the Cha Cha 21km in the Swiss Valais. In the second half of the event the Manchester athlete went from first to fifth, after a wrong turn, but battled admirably to climb back into pole position and take the win.
Also in the Valais, the historic Sierre Zinal capped a month of virtual racing, where athletes could post their own times from the course at any time, with a small elite-only race of 40 athletes.
Kilian Jornet was the men’s winner in 2:33, just ahead of one of the virtual runners, Frederic … who clocked 2:33:
British cyclist Emma Pooley, who has been trying her hand at mountain running in the last couple of years, posted an excellent 3:05:39 for third place, behind Switzerland’s Maude Mathys (2:48:48), who has previously failed a doping test.
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