Another week with plenty of action to bring you, so I will get straight to it!
The past couple of days have been a nice reminder that the indoor season is in full flow, with plentiful competitions across the UK and further afield bringing a host of memorable performances, particularly in the field.
Let’s start at the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava on Thursday. The notably fast track delivered once again, with lifetime bests for seven of the eight British middle-distance athletes competing. They included Elliot Giles, who took almost a second off his indoor best with a 3:35.93 for the race win. That time also moves him to sixth on the UK all-time list. Finishing sixth, Piers Copeland’s 3:38.64 provided his first World Indoor standard of the year, whilst there was a big indoor PB for Archie Davis (3:40.28) in ninth.
There was a British 1-2 for the women over the same distance, as Revee Walcott Nolan obliterated her indoor best with 4:10.53, her second PB in as many races this year. Making her indoor 1500m debut and after leading for much of the race, Adelle Tracey finished closely behind with 4:10.88.
Competing over 800m, Tom Randolph improved his indoor PB, set just last week, by over half a second (1:48.11).
Fast forward a day to the Meeting Elite de Miramas in France, where there were lifetime bests for Izzy Fry over 3000m (8:58.44) and Luke Duffy over 1500m (3:48.32).
Dynamic New Athletics? Possibly
Saturday saw Glasgow play host to the first indoor Dynamic New Athletics, a new concept that sees athletes compete for their country with a range of track and field events. This event included teams from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain and Portugal, and it seemed to be well received. However, the highlight of the day came in the pre-event races as Jenny Selman ran a suberb 2:00.70 for 800m. That time was not only a PB, her fourth of the year, but a qualifying time for the World Indoors and Commonwealth Games.
Heading to the States and the Camel City Elite (great name) in North Carolina. Continuing the fine depth of British racing, Sam Atkin became the fifth man to go under the World Indoor qualifying time over 3000m in 2022 with 7:46.79, whilst Charlie Grice improved his best this year over the mile with 3:57.22.
To the Roads
Much has been happening on the roads too.
The Granollers Half Marathon took place in Spain with a team of seven athletes representing England. Official results have not yet been published but Naomi Mitchell finished 3rd in a new PB – 73:10. Lucy Reid made a welcome return to the half marathon distance after a challenging year with injury to finish 4th in 73:48. Chloe Richardson was 5th in 75:21 with Sophie Wood 6th running 76:25.
Ross Millington led the men home to finish 4th overall in 65:04 with Norman Shreeve 10th in 67:29 and Matthew Crehan 13th in 68:45 over the hilly course.
Sunday saw the Chichester 10k, marketed as one of the oldest and fastest races in the country, although new organisers for 2022 brought in a new course that starts and finishes within the Goodwood Motor Circuit. The new course seems to be just as fast, with Joshua Grace (30:47) just getting the better of Jack Woods (30:50) and Ben Brown (31:00). Tessa McCormick had a more comfortable margin in taking the win, her 34:50 almost half a minute ahead of Emily Ruane (35:18) and Cassie Thorp (35:50).
Goodwood also played host to PB5K on the same day. Building on the success of the events held last year at Ardingly Showground, it was the turn of Eileen Beach (17:18) and James Beeks (15:30) to add their names to the winners list.
Sunday also saw the return of the Watford Half Marathon, incorporating Hertfordshire Senior County Championships. It’s a race that has been taking place for over 40 years, and this year comes with extra kudos for its sustainability drive of swapping finisher shirts for planting one tree for every £100 taken in entry fees. Mohammed Elbayan (72:53) and Rebecca Bunting (81:30) took respective wins.
Staying with the half and the Great Bentley Half Marathon. The honours went to Joshua Entwistle (69:24) and Katie King (84:48), with the Course Records held by James Connor and Helen Davies living another day.
The Alsagar 5 took to the streets of Cheshire, one of many popular five mile road races that have taken place in recent weeks.
Kate Holt’s incredible form continued with an emphatic win here, her 26:49 seeing her cross the line 40 seconds ahead of Bronwen Owen (27:28) and Steph Pennycook (27:36). Amongst the men, Richard Allen (24:25) just got the better of David Devine (24:28), with Stuart Spencer rounding out the top three with 25:16.
Another set of strong results came at the Dewsbury 10k, although the plaudits go to Joe Sagar for a fantastic solo run, his 30:37 putting him almost a minute clear of the rest of the field. A total of 43 athletes ran under 34 minutes. Rhianne Hughes’ 34:33 was the quickest female time.
The cross country may be winding towards a close, but that does not mean there are no results to bring you from the mud.
One of the cross country highlights of the year is the BUCS Championships, which made a welcome return on Saturday at Horseden Hill. With it came a superb atmosphere and plenty of noise as some of the country’s best athletes took to the course.
The men’s long course race saw athletes cover 10km, and it was Will Battershill who took home the title, finishing thirteen seconds ahead of Zakiriya Mahamed, with Matt Stonier a further five second behind. Kirsty Walker worked hard to build a significant advantage over the rest of the field of the women’s 8k long course, crossing the line over half a minute before Abbie Donnelly and Megan Keith.
Fast forward 24 hours and the European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country in Oeiras in Portugal, with British representation from Aldershot Farnham District and Central AC in the senior women’s and men’s races respectively, with AFD also fielding a team in the mixed relay.
Central ACs team of Jamie Crowe (32nd in 31:45), Alastair Hay (51st in 32:36) and Tom Graham-Marr (59th in 33:00) finished a creditable 15th amongst a high quality field. Cameron Milne was 76th in 34:25.
AFD produced a fantastic performance to finish 5th thanks to an excellent team display from Steph Twell (9th in 23:07), Louise Small (16th in 23:29) and Niamh Brown (22nd in 23:48). They were well backed by the experience of Emily Wicks (38th in 24:36).
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Schools Action Also
Saturday saw the continuation of School Cross Country Championships across England, with by my count at least nine competitions taking place. Given the extent of racing to cover this week, I have not gone into the results of each, but events took place for Greater Manchester (Heaton Park), Lancashire (Blackburn), Northern Inter Counties (Stewarts Park in Middlesbrough), Nottinghamshire (Berry Hill Park), Shropshire (Oswestry) South East Inter Counties (Reigate), South West Inter Counties (Chippenham), South Yorkshire (Campsall Country Park in Doncaster) and Staffordshire (Betley Court Farm in Crewe).
Finally, its not quite cross country, but the 34th edition of the Charnwood Hills fell race took place, and whilst results have not been found, we understand that Tom Evans took the win. Keep an eye for updates!