The weekend round-up is a couple of days later than usual, but that’s so its writer could recover from ten days in Budapest. James Rhodes brings you the best parts of the World Championships as well as racing from across the UK.
Whatever way you look at it, Budapest delivered a World Athletics Championships to be proud of. The city, crowds, stadium, atmosphere and most of all the athletes. Were it not for the heatwave that gripped the city, it would have been perfect. From a British perspective, it was a resounding success. Ten medals, matching the record medal tally from 1993. Particular success came in the middle distances, where three medals came, including a second consecutive 1500m world title for Edinburgh AC!
Josh Kerr perhaps delivered the best performance of the nine days becoming World Champion over 1500m. Using tactics not dissimilar to his childhood training partner Jake Wightman, he overhauled Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the final 200m, to which the Norwegian was unable to respond. It was an amazing moment and just reward for the Olympic bronze medallist.
Two medals came in the 800m. In one of the most anticipated races of the competition, Keely Hodgkinson took her second consecutive silver medal. This time, she got the better of American Athing Mu (the first time she has done so). However, Kenyan Mary Moraa got the better of both, adding the World title to the Commonwealth Games.
The men’s race was considerably more open, with anyone making the final having a chance to reach the podium. Ben Pattison did just that; having been “buzzing” (his words) to make the final, he refocused to take bronze in his maiden World Championships. Ben’s reaction was priceless, and it was great to see him able to celebrate with coach Dave Ragan on the lap of honour.
Plenty of Success
It is also worth mentioning Katie Snowden, who made the final of the 1500m with a 3:56.72 English Record in the semis. That was, amazingly, her first time inside four minutes. She finished eighth in the final (3:59.65), with Laura Muir sixth (3:58.58). Adelle Tracey, now representing Jamaica, also broke four minutes in the semi-finals for the first time (3:58.77), before going on to better her 800m PB in both the semi-final and final. It would be remis to not mention the remaining British medallists.
Katarina Johnson Thompson made a welcome return to the top of the podium in the heptathlon, after a tumultuous few years of injury. It included PBs in the javelin and 800m, the latter by over two seconds.
Matthew Hudson Smith took silver and Zharnel Hughes bronze in the 400m and 100m respectively. The former also broke the longstanding European Record in the semi-finals (a mark that was considerably older than the person writing this sentence).
Four medals came in the relays. Bronze in the men’s 4x400m, women’s 4x100m and women’s 4x400m, alongside silver in the mixed 4x400m. A truly exceptional nine days of athletics. However, that is not to detract from the athletes left at home through no fault of their own; rather, a selection policy developed by UKA.
On the Roads
Many eyes may have been on the Antrim Coast Half Marathon on Sunday, but there were plenty of other racing opportunities in the UK.
Sticking with 13.1 miles, there were wins for Glen Stallard (72:00) and Clare Patterson (87:06) at the Severn Bridge Half Marathon. Louise Blizzard (94:09) and Tristan Windley (72:50) crossed the line first at the Fleetwood Half Marathon, as did Henry Axon (76:28) and Katharine West (94:58) at the Canterbury Half Marathon.
The Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon was won by Rory Anderson (74:53) and Sheena Logan (84:45).
Jack Pickett (31:44) recorded one of the fastest 10k times of the weekend at the Ellesmere 10k. He was joined on the podium by Rebecca Harrison (40:50).
Craig Ferguson (32:24) and Emma Creasey (37:54) won the Marymass 10k. The Perth 10k meanwhile was won by Nancy Scott (34:07) and Luke Fisher (32:02), with the Severn Bridge 10k going to Matthew Rees (33:49) and Lucy Williamson (38:42).
David Parrish (35:07) and Danielle Gibson (38:10) were victorious at the Doonhamer 10k, and Jemma Radmore (45:20) and Bruce Fanshawe (35:08) won the Cosford 10k.
Back on Track
The British Milers Gold Standard Races in Watford were the highlight of the domestic track action over the week. After an excellent season, Khai Mhalanga broke two minutes for the 800m for the first time with 1:59.34. Behind, Sarah McDonald ran the second fastest of her career (1:59.93) and Phoebe Gill (2:01.50) improved her PB with a British U17 record. Matt Stonier (1:46.53) was the fastest male. James West (3:36.01) and Revee Walcott-Nolan (4:04.94 PB) ran well over 1500m.
The event was held in parallel with the Watford Harriers Open Graded Meeting. Carlos Vilches (3:51.04) and Alexandra Shipley (4:15.16 PB) recorded the fastest 1500m times. Kat Alpe (10:43.88) and Sam Gebreselassie (8:26.56) set the fastest performances over 3000m.
Across the border, the Monument Mile Classic in Stirling saw seven men break the four minute barrier. They included PBs for James Gormley (3:56.31) and Henry McLuckie (3:57.69), with the race won by Sweden’s Samuel Pihlstrom (3:54.83). Sarah Calvert (4:28.40) and Erin Wallace (4:29.08) improved their lifetime bests in the women’s race, won by Sara Lappalainen of Finland (4:28.12).
Hurdles specialist Chris McAlister made a rare venture over two laps at the Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC Summer Open. His time of 1:52.28 was, naturally, a PB. Alex Hill (2:09.54) was the fastest female, whilst Pippa Roessler (4:30.48) and Findlay McLaren (4:17.82) were quickest over 1500m.