Coming live from Finland and the European U23 Championships, James Rhodes brings you the highlights of a busy weekend on the track and roads.
Excellent in Espoo
Over the past four days some of the best junior athletes have assembled in Finland for the European U23 Championships. The picturesque surroundings of the Leppävaara Stadium in Espoo have played host to some excellent races with Great Britain finishing top of the medal table.
The middle and long distances provided particularly emphatic performances, with gold in both 5000m and 10000m races going to Britain.
Arguably the most impressive came from Alice Goodall, who led from start to finish in the women’s 10000m to take gold (33:16.45). It was a run made all the more impressive given the warm and cloudless conditions.
A similar tactic was employed by Charles Hicks, who led for all twelve and a half laps of the men’s 5000m. A 63 second first lap set out his intent, with Oliver Helander of Finland the only athlete to follow. It was a lead never relinquished and Hicks added track gold to his European XC title from the winter with 13:35.07.
Behind, Will Barnicoat moved well through the chasing group in the closing laps to secure bronze (13:45.24) and a PB. Henry Mcluckie was seventh (13:52.11).
Rory Leonard employed perfect tactics after an early break from Mateusz Gos of Poland saw him move almost 100m clear of the field, a gap he maintained for 7000m. However, just one lap was enough for the chasing pack to catch him. Leonard made his decisive move with four laps to go, and he was not caught. His 29:08.33 also impressive in the conditions. Behind was 20th position for Tomer Tarragano (30:33.52).
Megan Keith was victorious in Thursday’s 5000m final, breaking away in the closing laps to finish in 15:34.33. There was heartbreak for Eloise Walker who, having been in the top three throughout the latter part of race, had given it all and fell on the final straight. She fought well to get up and finish fifth (15:55.87).
There were medals in the middle distance races also, with Ethan Hussey taking silver in the 800m (1:45.95). It was an impressive finish with just 0.07s separating the top three. Shannon Flockhart (4:08.37 PB) took an excellent bronze in the 1500m behind an Irish one-two. In the same race, Alex Millard improved her PB to 4:11.67 to finish sixth, with Sarah Calvert (4:15.03) tenth.
Eloise Walker (9:47.85) and Sarah Tait (9:54.74 PB) finished fourth and seventh in the 3000m steeplechase. The latter ran a six second PB to become the 23rd British woman to run inside ten minutes for the event.
The Diamond League circuit moved to Silesia and Poland for the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial. From a British perspective, the highlights came in the women’s 1500m with PBs for Melissa Courtney-Bryant (3:58.01), Jemma Reekie (3:58.65) and Erin Wallace (4:06.29).
Melissa and Jemma broke four minutes for the first time, moving to third and fourth on the UK all-time list. Melissa also broke the Welsh Record she has long chased (3:59.95).
NEW WELSH RECORD 🏴@mcourtneybryant breaks the Welsh 1500m record at the Silesia Diamond League in a time of 3:58.01! 👏
— Welsh Athletics (@WelshAthletics) July 16, 2023
Aimee Pratt continued her excellent form with 8:44.15 in the 3000m. That improved her PB, set only last week, by five seconds and moves her inside the top-20 British all-time.
The 1500m was dominated by Jakob Ingebrigtsen improving his European Record to 3:27.15, the fastest time in over twenty years. However, there was a big jump for George Mills. His time of 3:31.54 moves him to tenth fastest Brit in history, and improved his PB by over 1.5 seconds. An act of revenge, perhaps, having missed out on World Champs selection last weekend. Elliot Giles (3:33.00) finished tenth.
European Round Up
Finland and Poland were not hosts to the only track racing of the week. With the window for qualifying times for British athletes for the World Championships drawing to a close next Sunday, many are chasing fast times.
One with success was Dan Rowden, with 1:44.29 to win the 800m at the Meeting Internazionale Sport Solidarieta in Italy. That is inside the Worlds standard and, as British Champion last weekend, secures his spot in Budapest. At the same event, Callum Elson took over two seconds off his 1500m PB (3:36.21).
At the KBC-Nacht in the Netherlands, Revee Walcott-Nolan (4:07.00) and Kane Elliott (3:39.24) both set seasons bests over 1500m, with Scott Stirling racing over 5000m (14:10.64).
It was the second race of the week for Revee, who clocked 2:01.02 at Wednesday’s Reunión Internacional de Atletismo in Bilbao. That is the second fastest time of her career. Aimee Pratt improved her PB by ten seconds winning the 3000m in 8:49.09.
Verity Ockenden continued her return from injury at the Meeting Giuseppe Tomassoni in Italy, clocking 9:10.71 for 3000m. Just three days after the same distance at the British Championships, Sarah Astin improved her 5000m best to 15:36.43 at the Meeting International d’Athlétisme Province Liège in Belgium.
On the Roads
Logan Smith (31:30) and Norman Shreeve (31:30) recorded the same chip time at the Run Norwich 10k. However, Logan was given the win on account of his gun time being one second quicker. Mabel Beckett (35:33) finished ahead of Anya Culling (35:44) in the women’s field.
The midweek Brighton Phoenix 10k once more provided fast times. This year, Ned Potter (30:22) came out top. He finished over half a minute clear of Matt Crehan (30:58) and Finn McNally (31:21). In the women’s field, Katie Hedgethorne (37:47) finished ahead of Jennifer Nandy (37:49) on chip time.
David Barratt (32:21) and Hayley Simpson (41:58) won the Mossley 10k. James Bretherton (36:01) and Emily Jemutai Cheruiyot (39:00) took wins at the Blackpool Music Run 10k. Duggie Musson (32:29) and Charlotte Dillon (36:15) crossed the line first at the Durham City 10k.
The Compton Verney 10k provided wins to Kirsty Pittman (45:41) and Adrian Mason (38:01), with the associated half marathon going to Matt Burdus-Cook (77:30) and Natalie Bhangal (89:02). There were victories for James Brassington (37:47) and Sarah Gibbs (42:30) at the Bentham 10k.
Lawrence Mccourt (67:04) and Sally Armitage (82:16) crossed the line first at the Ikley Half Marathon. Elaine Pollock (1:52:53) and Michael Stott (79:44) did the same at the Hamsterley Summer Half Marathon.
Thierry Bernas (36:04) and Anna Bender (44:45) were fastest at The One in the Park 10k in Regent’s Park. As were Scott Elliot (43:15) and Amy Seager (43:43) at the Wye King Challenge 10k.
The Ipswich Twilight 10k went to Ross Broomfield (31:38) and Katie King (36:08), the Walkington 10k to Amy Hammersley (37:18) and Jonathan Carter (32:23), and the Blaisdon 10k to Alex Lee (33:46) and Gemma Collier (38:27).