James Rhodes brings you all the distance running action from Tokyo and beyond!

The athletics action at the Olympics is in full swing, and it has been worth the five year wait. More on that later; but there’s also a lot happening on the domestic scene to bring you. Get ready!

Terrific Tokyo

At the time of writing day three of the athletics action at the Olympic Games has not long come to a close, and there has been plenty of middle and long distance action. Ethiopian Selemon Barega claimed the first gold medal of the competition, with a 27:43.22 to take the 10,000m title ahead of Ugandans Joshua Cheptegai and Jacob Kiplimo. Brit Marc Scott finished 14th in 28:09.23, whilst Sam Atkin sadly did not finish.

The trio of British women in the 800m – Keely Hodgkinson, Alex Bell and Jemma Reekie – have created history, being the first time three Brits have made an Olympic final. All three have run fantastically through the heats and semi-finals, with the final taking place on Tuesday lunchtime.

For the men, sadly the semi-finals was the end of the road for Elliot Giles and Dan Rowden, whilst Oliver Dustin did not progress from his heat after a less-than-ideal build up.

In tough conditions, Amy-Eloise Markovc was rewarded with a 15:03.22 5000m PB, although sadly did not progress to the final. A few trips and pushes meant Eilish McColgan faded in the last 600m, finishing in 15:09.68. She has a second attempt on Saturday in the 10,000m final, as does Jess Judd who finished just outside her PB with 15:09.47.

Finally, Lizzie Bird has created history by becoming the first British woman to make a steeplechase final at the Olympics, thanks to a 9:24.34, a shade outside her own British Record in near-40 degrees heat. Aimee Pratt, Phil Norman and Zak Seddon did not progress from their steeplechase heats.

Also, whilst not running-related, a shout out to Yulimar Rojas for setting a new World Record in the triple jump, improving the 1995-mark by 17 centimetres. A word too for our GBs fabulous triathletes, rooted as they are in the sport of athletes, with individual silver medals for Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown and mixed relay gold medals for both alongside Jonny Brownlee and Jess Learmonth.


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Domestic Track Action

Perhaps the most anticipated track event of the week was the much-anticipated return of Watford Wednesday! The fortnightly events have been sorely missed during the past 18 months, but they made a welcome return with races over 1500m and 3000m. The quickest runs over the longer distance went to Lily Coward (9:17.50) and Ben Musgrove (8:33.07), both setting new PBs, whilst Tyler Bilyard (3:53.49) and Lily Hawkins (4:15.63) did the same over 1500m.

Also on Wednesday was Hercules Wimbledon’s annual Dave Clarke Mile Extravaganza, where the highlight was Australian athlete Matthew Ramsden running an impressive 3:55.78 mile in a largely solo performance. Behind him, there were sub-four minute runs for Jack Rowe and Irish duo Brian Fay and Darragh McElhinney. All athletes in the elite men’s race set new PBs, except for Ramsden. Ireland’s Roisin Flanagan set a new lifetime best as the fastest woman on the night, with 4:32.77.

Saturday saw Jo Pavey set a new British V45 Record of 16:32.49 at the Oregano Project Distance Classic in Birmingham. Paced by international steeplechaser Maisie Grice and last-minute stand in Chloe Crossman (who had originally come to support me in the 800m and Ben Maliphantin the 1500 (who won one of the 1500m races in a 4:10 PB), the race had been touted as a World V45 Record attempt, but disrupted training for Jo meant slower pace for the British Record.

The event hosted a range of races between 800m and 10,000m, with notable performances including Omar Ahmed running 8:18.24 for 3000m, Doug Musson 29:35.06 for 10,000m, Dylan Gillett 14:45.53 for 5000m and 3:46.00 for Michael Ward in the 1500m.


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At the Trafford Grand Prix on Tuesday, Kian Wiles (1:52.16) and Sophie Tarver (2:10.39), Christopher McLew(3:53.16) and Maisy O’Sullivan (4:20.96) and Finley Proffitt (8:27.28) and Elizabeth Renondeau (9:58.20) were fastest over 800m, 1500m and 3000m respectively. The BMC’s Gold Standard Races were incorporated into the event; these provided  Tiarnan Crorken (1:46.75) with a new lifetime best over two laps, whilst Katie Kirk recorded another good clocking with 2:03.28). Andrew Smith (3:45.30) won the male-only 1500m.

On the same day, Iestyn Williams (1:52.86), Emma Ryder (2:13.83), Johnny Livingstone (8:30.80) and Victoria Weir (9:46.46) took race victories over 800m and 3000m at the BMC Regional Races in Exeter.

Also on Tuesday, Woodford Green with Essex LadiesGraded Meeting saw Nick Shasha (4:55.48) and Alicia McArdell (5:19.00) win their respective mile races, whilst Luc Legon (13:57.1) and Hannah Hopper (15:10.2) were quickest over the 3000m race walk. Also on Tuesday, the Winchester & District July Evening Open provided Douglas Scally (1:59.50) and Rose Chesterfied (2:24.13) with the fastest performances over 800m whilst Will Botwood (8:48.99) and Darcy Hawkins (11:12.79) did the same at 3000m.

Linton Gardiner (1:56.0) and Lexie Bull (2:17.9) were fastest over two laps at Wednesday’s Cheltenham Midsummer Open, whilst William Bodkin and Nicole Petit were quickest over 3000m at the Guernsey Athletics Track & Field Series, whilst Gian-Luca Robillard and Kate Bain took those honours over 800m.

Performances from the Youth Development and North of England Leagues were not online at the time writing.

To the Roads

There’s no shortage of racing on the roads this week to bring you as well.

The Bristol & West South West PB 5K Series continued onWednesday, where Jack Bancroft (14:43) was the fastest man in a tight race with the top three separated by five seconds. Phillipa Williams (16:42) recorded the fastest performance amongst the women ahead of Kate Drew and Hannah Alderson.

The fourth of the Gravesend Floodlit Series provided Alexander Barber (35:09) and Sarah McDonald (47:22) with good performances in the 10k, whilst Michael Beckett (16:32) won the 5k by almost a minute, with Briony Walsh (20:42) going one better to be quickest with a two minute margin.

Sunday’s Sanbach 10k saw Katie Holt take outright victory with 33:27, 45 seconds ahead of the fastest male Steffan Sayer. It was Katie’s first race over the distance in two years and just shy of her PB. Also on Sunday, the Trentham 10kgave Ben Bewley (37:32) and Joanne Stanfield (41:56) with wins over, you’ve guessed it, 10k.

The Hendy Eastleigh 10k on Sunday provided Naomi Mitchell with an emphatic victory in 33:36, almost two minutes ahead of Lesley Locks (35:23) and Cassie Thorp (36:06). Amongst the men, it was 16-year-old Ben Brown (30:45) who crossed the line first with a 16-second victory over Jacob O’Hara (31:01) and Kurt Taylor (31:11), with the first 24 finishers crossing the line in under 34 minutes.

RunThrough, as ever, provide plenty of events to bring you, starting with Wednesday’s Chase The Sun at Victoria Park, where Robin Norton-Hale (40:09) and Gregor Yates (30:30) took dominant wins over 10k, whilst Patrick Henderson (16:07) and Olivia Desborough (18:22) did the same over 5k.

Andrius Jaksevicius (76:29) and Nicola Wilkinson (93:17) took victories at Sunday’s Wimbledon Common Half Marathon, whilst Harriet Hamilton (1h43:42) and Nick Hamlin (81:22) did the same at the Heaton Park Half Marathon.

Nick Harris-Fry (71:54) and Abbie Pearse (83:22) took the victories at London Landmarks Half Marathon as mass participation races really start to roll back into action.