Gill Bland brings you news of more British records and golden success in Istanbul

While the European Indoors Championships have been rightly getting most of the athletics coverage over the last few days, I feel I have to lead with news from California where Eilish McColgan ran the Sound Running Ten. In the midst of preparing for her marathon debut at London in April, she kicked hard over the final lap (run in 64.87) to take the win from Alicia Monson (USA). So far, so impressive while in marathon training. But that’s not it. McColgan’s time was 30:00.86 – a new British 10,000m record which overtakes Paul Radcliffe’s previous mark of 30:01.09 set at the 2002 European championships, Munich 2002.

Action in Istanbul

Now, onwards and inwards to the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Early on in the competition, Neil Gourlay put himself in the mix right from the start of the 1500m. He worked his way into striking position, sitting on Ingebritsen’s shoulder over the final laps to take silver inside the championship record time, clocking 3:34.23. However, the four time European indoor champion could not be caught and took the win in 3:33.95. Sadly, an on-form George Mills fell only 30 seconds into the race and was unable to make his way back to the pack. His post-race interview was a credit to him and I’m certainly looking forward to his pay-back race.

Photo: James Rhodes

Melissa Courtney-Bryant confidently secured herself the bronze medal in the 3,000m, running 8.41.19 to finish behind Germany’s Klein (8:35.87) and Klosterhalfen (8.36.50). Hannah Nuttall ran a personal best 8:46.30 to finish fifth. Daryll Neita clocked 7.12 for bronze in the 60m.

Photo: James Rhodes

One day later it was Laura Muir ‘s turn to step onto the stage. Despite not feeling at her fittest she definitely delivered and became the most decorated British athlete at a European Indoor Championship as she ran 4:03.40 for the 3000m gold. She raced very smartly – letting Romania’s Claudia Bobocea take the pace out hard before gradually picking the field off and closing in the last 300m. Katie Snowden placed fifth in 4:07.68 but felt that she hadn’t been able to race at the standard she’d hoped, “I really feel like a medal was up for grabs and I think had I raced how I felt at the start of the season I probably could have got one…. I just didn’t have it”. Ellie Baker was 11th in 4:10.96 and was also “a bit confused… I felt in really good shape but…I had no legs from the start”.

Photo: James Rhodes

Keely Hodgkinson closed in all senses as the meeting came to an end and she left everyone in no doubt of her form, defending her 800m title in 1:58.66 – almost two seconds clear. Today wasn’t the day to break the world record of 1:55.82 seconds but Hodgkinson has made it clear that it’s on her radar. We wouldn’t normally cover field events here at Fast Running (clue in the name) but Jazmin Sawyers is a favourite of mine for her clear work ethic and honesty on social media. So, it was very excited to see her take gold in the long jump

Back on home soil

On home soil it was a weekend of fast times and impressive racing. Barrowford Podium 5K morphed into Podium Breaking 10. It was was a series of mile races and a 10 miler this time around. Andy Butchart and Emile Cairess were due to go head to head, with pacers at the start, to attack the European 10 mile record. In the end stomach issues put Butchart out of the running but Cairess looked smooth as he smashed the 30 year old record to finish in 46:02 and was a total gent in his thanks to all the pacers who helped him hit the mark.

The Trafford 10K saw 33 men run under 30 minutes and 36 women dip under 35 minutes. Fastest of those women was Samantha Harrison who ran 30:55, just 4 seconds shy of her PB set in Valencia in January. It was a tough day for Jess Warner-Judd who “felt awful the whole way round” but was still next over the line in 31:19. Beth Kidger-Thomas took the final podium place in 32:24. The mens’ race was tight at the top with only 13 seconds between the top three. Richard Allen raced home first in 29:03 ahead of Paul Pollock with 29:07 and Daniel Studley in 29:16.

The field at Cambuslang’s Down By The River 10K wasn’t quite as deep, but the top times were still swift. Stewart Fraser’s 30:17 held Ferguson Robbie into second place with 30:38, while Murray Finlay was third in 32:29. First female was Viora Elisa in 39:26.

Battersea’s Sri Chinmoy Mad March 10K was also ready to serve those wanting fast times. Lewis Laylee Herne capitalised on the flat course running 31:45 for first place, followed home by Aaron Wilson in 32:04 and Ben Howe in 32:10. Carole Coulon was fastest woman in 37:03, with Jennifer Nandi running 37:55 and Courtney Hyde 38:24. Over at Castle Combe, the Chilly 10K winners were Harry Davies (31:05) and Caroline Nicholas (38:47).

We often see good times at the Cambridge Half and this year was no exception. Nick Bowker was a clear winner in 65:11 with Charlie Sanderson 17 seconds behind him and Edward Chuck third in 65:44. 31 men ran under 70 minutes. Verity Hopkins smashed out a 73:49 for the women’s win, holding off Dani Nimmock who clocked 74:23 – not far off her best ever time and a great return to form after having her first child. Emma Styles was third in 75:10.

Eastbourne Half Marathon was won outright by v50 Dan Lawson who normally puts his training to the test over 24 hour races. He had plenty of speed over the shorter distance though, racing home in 75:02. V40 Ross Brocklehurst was runner up in 76:24 and Luke Thomsett, just a normal senior (!), third in 77:56. Alison Moore won the women’s race in 89:24.

Jack Eykelbosch took his vistory in 79:18 at the Berkhamstead Half Marathon and it looks like he was half of a winning duo as the women’s top time is shown as Alex Eykelbosch , with 81:02 on the clock. At the Bideford Half Marathon the top times were run by Ronnie Richmond in 65:35 and Rebecca Ezra-Ham in 77:45. Dartford Half Marathon went to Joshua Teece in 71:33 and Stephanie Hutton in 83:15.

North Lincolnshire Half saw Dan Haworth (66:56) take the win from Will Strangeway (67:12) and Simon Birth (67:19). Sarah Kemshall was the women’s winner clocking 77:00 from Abbie Pearse (78:53) and Sarah Louise-Hunter (79:37). The 10km race was won by Abbey Van Dijk (37:25) and Elliot Stones (31:30).

The Essex 20 mile Championships hosted the Inter-Counties event with Essex looking to retain their title against Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. retain their title against Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Pete Robinson led from gun to tape, successfully defending his title in 1:45:59. Jack Nixon (St Edmund Pacers) paced home in 2nd place in a time of 1:48:56 and Pete Coates (Witham RC) managed to power home into 3rd place in 1:49:09. In the women’s race, GB international Helen Davies (Ipswich Jaffa) ran a controlled and experienced race to claim the Ladies win in 2:02:19, ahead of Elle Monk (Southampton AC) in 2:03:34 and Jessie Lutwyche (Birchfield Harriers) 2:06:30.

The Oundle 20 was won by Chris Pickering in 01:58:16 and Hayley Munn in 2:07:23.

Cross Country

The Cross country season is still going and as usual it’s hard to find results but here’s what we know. Hampshire XC League at Kings Park, Bournemouth was won by Thomas Syckelmoore of Basingstoke & Mid Hants in 29:06 and Winchester & District for the team competition. The women’s lead went to U20 Pippa Roessler of Aldershot, Farnham & District in 20:21, with AFD also taking the team win. South East Lancashire League at Heaton Park was won by Michael Harris of Hyde Village in 33:04 and East Cheshire topped the men’s table. There were no women’s races. The North Eastern Harrier League took place at Alnwick Castle (what a venue!) and it was Morgan Kendall running for Durham City Harriers who finished first in 36:44 alongside Charlotte Penfold of North Shields Poly in 27:04

A Marathon Major with Major PBs

Finally, we end on a big race this week – the youngest of the World Marathon Majors took place this weekend and runners too to the streets of Tokyo. Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru won in 2:16:28 and Ethiopia’s Deso Gelmisa in 2:05:22. The fastest Brits were Rachel Hodgkinson, who ran a near three minute PB to run 2:36:44, and Peter Mackrell who upgraded his previous best by nearly five minutes, clocking 2:27:35. A rather good day out for both!