Keely Hodgkinson sets a new U20 800m indoor world record, Elliot Giles wins over 800m and Andy Butchart sets new a Scottish Indoor Record as racing in Germany and Vienna gives us a much needed competition fix

The Seniors kicked off the indoor racing action this weekend at the World Athletics Indoor Tour in Karlsruhe, Germany. Elliot Giles (Birchfield Harriers) turned out a very solid performance, taking the win over 800m in 1:45.5. Giles ran a confident and well judged race and is clearly used to performing amidst lots of external factors.

He has had plenty to deal with in his life already, but the last few months have been tough as he’s watched his father fight and, happily, eventually recover from Covid-19. He’s in the middle of launching a new business as a result of his Dad’s resulting health kick.

In the women’s 3000m Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Poole AC) had a tricky race to handle as the pack went out hard for the first 1km, then slowed back on the second, leaving them with a punchy finish. The Welsh athlete has been sleeping in an altitude tent after her planned training trip was cancelled.

Did it work? Well the result was a third place and her second quickest indoor time, clocking 8:42.41 to finish just behind Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech (8:41.98) and Ethiopia’s Fantu Worku (8:42.22)

In the men’s 3000m Andy Butchart (Central) smashed out an indoor PB of 7:40.85 to take fourth place and set a new Scottish indoor record. The time also puts him second on the UK all-time indoor rankings for the distance. Overall it was a swift one, with the top spot taken by Bethwell Birgen of Kenya in 7:34.12 and the top four runners all setting new personal bests.

While we focus on the slightly longer distances, it would be remiss not to celebrate Dina Asher-Smith’s PB equalling 7.08 win over 60m. It was her first indoor race since 2018 and promises great things for the rest of the season.

Keely kicks off 2021 with world record

In Vienna it was the turn of the youngsters and 18 year old Keely Hodgkinson ensured that they were not left out of the headlines. She broke the world indoor u20 record for 800m with a 1:59.01, obliterating her previous best of 2:01.16.

Hodgkinson, who runs for Greater Manchester has spent time training in Dubai recently. Not only does that mark give her a WR in her age group, but it puts her fourth on the UK all-time indoor senior rankings. To put that in context, it’s behind Laura Muir and ahead of Kelly Holmes.

Chasing after her, but at a comfortable distance, Ireland’s Nadia Power ran 2.02.44 to place second and set an Irish Indoor record. She is preparing to compete in the European Indoor Champs in five weeks time.

Cherotich & Kirop claim Discovery XC

The 30th Edition of the Discovery Kenya XC race saw the usual incredible depth of field. The race, which is 10km for both men and women, sees some of the very best Kenyan distance running talent on show. The men’s race was won by Robert Kirop in 30:17.8. World record holder in the road 10km, Rhonex Kipruto, was 5th in 30:33.5.

Daisy Cherotich took the women’s victory in 33:53.6, eight seconds clear of Eva Cherono.

Start of the women’s race. Photo Danielle Hodgkinson

Over in Italy Natalie White finished 3rd at the Trail 40 Filari which saw competitors tackle 1800m of climbing over 17km off road in a Vineyard and which the experienced ultra runner described as ‘brutal’.

FastRunning’s own Robbie Britton won the 5km distance which racked up 400m of climbing, and saw the GB ultra runner clock likely his slowest ever 5km race victory in 31:54!

Florian Neuschwander broke the 100km treadmill world record clocking 6:26:08. The experienced ultra runner has a good pedigree over the shorter distances with a 10,000m best of 29:51 from 2009.

In other news…

There was the sad but understandable announcement that the Night Of 10,000m PB’S has been cancelled. Ben Pochee, Event Organiser, cancelled the event with heavy heart, explaining “the safety of all involved from officials, to athletes and spectators has to be our obvious priority and the nature of our event and our venue facility have been key in this decision”.

He promised the event would be back with a bang in 2022. The meet was due to take place on the 5th June and was set to host the European Athletics 10,000m Cup as well as being the Olympic Games Trial event. British Athletics said “an alternative event will now be explored following consultation with athletes and coaches, as well as other key stakeholders”.

In the virtual world the Jimmy’s X Maverick KYCU 10km Challenge was won by Adam Holland of Tavistock AC in a time of 31:50 and Leigh Collins of Surrey Hills Canicros, who presumably ran a dog-assisted time of 40:13. The Virtual MK Half saw Samantha Lake (Tavistock AC) log the fastest women’s time of 1:32:51 and Ben Darlow recorded a 1:13:52 for a convincing victory for West End Runners.

At the time of writing, the Huncote Harriers Who Runs The World mileage challenge had the women just ahead on 4,948 miles to the men’s 4,705 but the challenge doesn’t stop until 7pm to the streets of Leicestershire are likely to take a pounding this afternoon as final miles are logged. Aside from that, it looks the virtual races have taken something of a hiatus this week.