James Rhodes brings you our weekend roundup as the athletics action sees Birmingham rocking

Commonwealth Games

We are approaching the final couple of hours of track action at the Commonwealth Games as I write this from the Alexander Stadium, and it is fair to say that Birmingham has certainly delivered, in more ways than one. Not only has it played host to some fantastic races, but the Alexander Stadium has been blessed with fantastic crowds, an atmosphere that I feel athletics experiences only in the UK, volunteers enthusiastic without fail and, thankfully, some rather fortunate weather.

One of the highlights came early in the week with Eilish McColgan replicating the achievement of her mum Liz to win the 10,000m with a new Games Record of 30:48.60. In an astounding race McColgan put in the sprint of her life to take victory from Irine Cheptai who fought for every metre to make it one of the most exciting races in the history of the games. There were fantastic performances from Jess Judd 5th in 31:18.47, Sam Harrison setting a new PB finishing 6th in 31:21.57 and Sarah Inglis 9th in 32:04.74. Hannah Irwin suffered an injury and needed with pull off the track, the whole Fast Running team were incredibly loud to see her racing in the Games and know she will come back supercharged.

Photo: James Rhodes

Another stand out race was the men’s 1500m which, speaking personally, was one of the most exciting races I have seen in person. Perhaps for the lack of Jakob Ingebrigtsen, it could be mistaken for a world-level final. In a thrilling home straight sprint it was Australian Ollie Hoare who took the win, just, in 3:30.12, bettering the Commonwealth Games Record set by Filbert Bayi back in 1974. In fact, the top six athletes all bettered that mark including Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot (3:30.21) and Jake Wightman (3:30.53) who completed the podium. Jake Heyward bettered his own Welsh Record in fifth (3:31.08) with lifetime bests for Matt Stonier (3:32.50), Neil Gourley (3:32.93) and Elliot Giles (3:33.56) in seventh, eighth and ninth.

A fine silver medal was the reward for Lizzie Bird in a well-paced 3000m steeplechase that saw a blistering pace from eventual winner Jackline Chepkoech of Kenya and Olympic Champion Peruth Chemutai; the latter unfortunately fall at a barrier and Lizzie was able to overhaul her in the last laps with a PB of 9:17.79. The domestic battle between her and Aimee Pratt has allowed a real of the discipline over the past 18 months.

Mary Moraa put on a show that threw out the rulebook of race tactics in winning the 800m ahead of England’s Keely Hodgkinson and Scot Laura Muir. Elsewhere, there was a distance double for Jacob Kiplimo in the 5000m and 10000m, both with excellent last laps, whilst Abraham Kibiwott won the men’s steeplechase ahead of Indian Avinash Sable in a new National Record (8:11.20).

At the time of writing, the men’s 800m, women’s 1500m and women’s 5000m have yet to take place within the final session. It has been a week to remember!

Photo: James Rhodes

Plenty of Other Track Too

Whilst eyes have been centred in Birmingham, there has been plenty of other domestic track action across the country. The ever-popular Hercules Wimbledon Night of 5000m Racesmade a welcome return on Wednesday night, with six graded races that saw Georgie Grgec (16:07.30) and Ned Potter (14:10.22) the speediest over twelve and a half laps. A high quality invitational 1500m was also held as part of the evening’s action and saw Tom Keen revise his PB to 3:38.92, finishing ahead of Kane Elliot (3:40.27) and Callum Elson (3:40.32 PB).

At the Kettering Town Evening Open it was U15 athlete Shaikira King (2:10.20) and Rio Carr (2:05.28 PB) who went quickest over 800m. Racing over a mile, the fastest times were set by Andrew Johnstone (4:35.43 PB) and Ashleigh Walters (5:21.88 PB). That is not the only appearanceShaikaira King makes this week as she also set a 1500m PB of 4:25.75 at the Oxon & Bucks Midweek Open, with Alex Bampton (4:15.81) the fastest male. Meanwhile Jordan Chambers (3:50.74) and Penny Oliver (4:43.15) both revised their PBs over 1500m at the Tonbridge AC Evening Open on Tuesday.

Andy Coley-Maud (8:24.71) and Suzannah Monk (9:42.85) were quickest over 3000m at the Guildford & Godalming Open Night on Wednesday, with Emma Mccluskey (5:14.92) and Jake Bowles (4:27.80) the same over the mile.

International Action Too

With the Commonwealth Games in full swing there was limited British representation at the  Diamond League on Saturday however, Adelle Tracey set a new 1500m PB (4:02.36) whilst Kyle Langford finished seventh in the 800m (1:46.65).

Emile Cairess set a 3000m PB at the Meeting InternazionaleCittà di Nembro in Italy with 7:44.74. Izzy Fry and Verity Ockenden raced over the same distance, clocking times of 9:16.09 and 9:17.87 respectively. Over the shorter two laps, David Locke was just outside of his PB (1:46.91).

To the Roads

It feels a relatively quiet week for road racing, although a fair number of Sunday races have yet to publish their finalised results. The Yateley 10k attracted some top quality athletes who produced commanding wins, in the form of Steph Twell(34:45) and Joshua Grace (30:46), the latter finishing almost 90 seconds clear of the rest of the field and Twell over five minutes ahead of the second placed woman.

Seyfu Jamaal (30:20) took a commanding win at Saturday’s Sri Chimnoy 10k in Battersea Park in London, finishing 55 seconds ahead of the field including Henry Hart (31:15) and Jonathan Hilling (32:59). It was a closer affair amongst the women, with Lara Bromilow (36:20) getting the better of Katie Rowland (36:41) and Mary James (38:09).

Stepping up in distance and there were wins for Rachel Hodgkinson (78:29) and Scott Nutter (73:06) at the Windmill Half Marathon, with the honours at the Islay Half Marathon going to Colin Whitby (74:19) and Holly Smith (1:41:48).

Rounding up some of the other races this weekend, there were wins for Tim Odonogue (30:48) and Leila Armoush (35:54) at the York 10k, Katie Reynolds (39:13) and Adam Jones (33:19) at the Caernarfon 10k, Simon Midwood (29:03) and Treena Johnson (32:55) at the Flat Cap 5, and Ricky Lightfoot (55:53) and Alexandrea Gonzales (73:22) at the Netherall 10.

RunThrough Continues

RunThrough’s extensive racing calendar continued at speed this week.

The highest quality racing came at the Chase the Sun Battersea Park, with Adam Clarke (29:33) running well to get the better of Jonathan Escelante Phillips (30:35) and Norman Shreeve (30:41). Amongst the women, it was Katie Fyffe (34:31) who took a near two and a half minute win ahead of Kate Brown (37:07) and Rose Penfold (37:36).

At the Running Grand Prix at Oulton Park, it was the turn of Lorna Hulme (3:10:16) and Craig Winfield (2:45:24) to take race wins in the marathon, with Charlie Hulson (67:10) and Amy McKechnie (92:51) doing the same over the half marathon. The challenging Wimbledon Common Half Marathon titles went to Ollie Garrod (75:05) and Emile Meins (94:15), both finishing over two minutes ahead of their nearest competitors. The – going by the times even more challenging – Tittesworth Half Marathon honours were taken by Susan Fourie (2:11:45) and Jason Burgess (1:46:55), with the associated 10k going to Scott Minshall (46:35) and Holly James (1:02:31).

Finally, Sean Warburton (34:43) and Faye Jasmine Waterhouse (40:31) crossed the line first at the midweek Chase the Sun Tatton 10k.