It has been a very busy weekend, so much so it is hard to know where to start. James Rhodes brings you the highlights of a fantastic weekend of racing on the roads, cross country and indoors.

Barcelona Brilliance

In a weekend of many highlights, perhaps the best performance came from Jess Warner-Judd at the Barcelona Half Marathon. She finished fourth in a strong field, headed by former world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, in 67:07 (67:06 chip). That time moves her to third on the British all-time list for the distance. Only Paula Radcliffe and Eilish McColgan have run faster for the distance.

Behind, Abbie Donnelly improved her PB to a fine 69:10 (69:09 chip) to finish fifth. Her previous best was 70:31 at the Big Half last September, and she is now thirteenth fastest on the all-time list. Anya Culling raced for the first time this year, clocking 75:04 (74:51 chip). In what is incredibly her fifth half marathon of 2024, Melissah Gibson improved her PB by over a minute to 76:21 (76:14 chip).

In the men’s field, Marc Scott clocked 62:06 (62:05 chip), his fastest since 2021, as he prepares for his marathon debut in London. Also running well were Jacob Allen (63:20, 63:18 chip) who improved his previous best by over two minutes and Tewelde Menges, who’s 63:51 (63:49 chip), takes 40 seconds off his PB set in Istanbul last April.

Staying Abroad

At the 5km Hoka Monaco Run Gramaglia, Rory Leonard ran well to finish fourth in 13:31. That time is a 32 second PB and puts him equal seventh on the British all-time list for the distance. He shares that position with Mike McLeod and Keith Cullen; not bad company! Ellis Cross ran well also, finishing in 13:42 – a time faster than his track PB. Racing the distance on the roads for the first time since December 2020, Joe Wigfield also improved his PB to 13:46. A close battle ensued between Jonathan Davies (14:01) and Cameron Allan (14:02), with the latter improving his best by seven seconds.

In the women’s field, Almi Nerurkar (16:00) improved her PB by seven seconds finishing sixth. Sarah Astin crossed the line eighth in 16:21.

European Indoor Circuit

The Meeting Hauts-de-France in Lievin is well known for delivering fast times, particularly in the longer indoor distances. This year’s meeting on Saturday was no different, with Gudaf Tsegay (3000m) and Lamecha Girma (2000m) falling just shy of the respective World Records. From a British perspective, the highlight came from Jemma Reekie who won the 800m for the third time, clocking 2:00.40. She heads to Birmingham next week for the British Championships with the aim of qualifying for the World Indoors on her home track. Revee Walcott-Nolan finished eighth in a busy 1500m (4:04.64), less than a second shy of her PB set in Dortmund last month. Daniel Rowden finished third in the 800m (1:47.38).

Photo: Bjorn Paree

Staying in France, James Gormley (7:48.56 PB) and Kate Axford (9:12.89) raced over 3000m at the Mondeville Meeting on Wednesday. Eloise Walker clocked 8:58.17 over the same distance at the Meeting Indoor de Lyon on Friday, whilst Guy Learmonth finished second in the 800m (1:47.84).

Sarah McDonald set an indoor 1500m PB of 4:05.32 at the ORLEN Copernicus Cup in Torun on Tuesday. That is her first PB since 2019 and is also inside the World Indoor Championship qualifying standard. Also racing was Daniel Rowden in the 800m (1:47.59).

Daniel Rowden in Lievin. Photo: Bjorn Paree

Across the Pond

There is something special about the track at Boston University; just ask George Mills or Sam Atkin. It hosted the David Hemery Valentine Invitational on Friday and Saturday, and once again hosted some excellent performances. On Friday, Hannah Nuttall (15:03.39), Izzy Fry (15:07.76), Jenny Nesbitt (15:10.19) and Alex Millard (15:27.02) set outright PBs for 5000m. Hannah, Izzy and Jenny’s times were also inside the qualifying for June’s European Championships in Rome.

A day later, James West (13:19.98) and Charles Wheeler (13:20.17) revised their PBs to move to sixth and seventh on the British all-time list indoors. James also ran a European Championships qualifying time. David Mullarkey (13:28.23) improved his best and the Isle of Man Record, whilst Scott Beattie clocked 13:36.06. George Wheeler also set a lifetime best with 13:40.21.

Over shorter distances, Callum Elson (3:53.22) and Ellie Leather (4:25.23) set considerable mile PBs. The pair move to fifth on the respective British all-time lists indoors, and both set World Indoor Championship qualifiers. In later heats, Elise Thorner (4:35.72) and Gemma Finch (4:36.03) set PBs as did Beatrix Wraith (4:43.85). Christopher Olley (4:01.80) was less than a second shy of his PB. Sarah Tait (9:16.29) and Charlie Eastaugh (8:13.97) set the fastest times over 3000m, whilst Ellie Baker (2:01.98) and Iris Downes (2:06.45) raced over 800m.

At the Eagle Elite Invitational also in Boston Corey Campbell set a Scottish U20 Record for 3000m (7:56.11). Kian Davis (7:58.72) ran inside eight minutes for the first time in the same race. Angus Harrington set an indoor 800m PB (1:47.86) at the event also. Bradley Giblin finished second in the mile (4:00.69) at the Fastrack National Invitational in New York. He almost became the 258th British man to run sub-four.

Closer to Home

On Wednesday, Joseph Tuffin (3:59.24), Tyler Bilyard (3:59.33) and Rory Leonard (3:59.55) all ran sub-four miles for the first time at the Ayo Falola Dream Mile at Lee Valley. Shaikira King (4:43.23) won the elite women’s race ahead of fellow U17 athlete Olivia Forrest (4:46.55).

The event also hosted a series of British Milers Club races. Erin Wallace (2:02.69) and Tiarnan Crorken (1:50.37) set the fastest times over 800m, whilst Ricky Harvie (8:12.05) and Niamh Kennedy (9:25.27 PB) did the same over 3000m. Erin’s time is a stadium record for Lee Valley.

Erin Wallace at Lee Valley. Photo: Mark Hookway

On the Roads

There are a few weeks until peak spring marathon season commences, however some athletes have already taken to 26.2 miles. They include Tom Brown (2:41:11) and Hannah Clarke (3:14:20), who won the marathon at the Running GP at Goodwood Motor Circuit. The Portland Coastal Marathon saw Fiona Pascall (3:40:35) and Robert Welman (3:36:15) take victories.

In her first race over the distance since 2019, Holly Archer (34:15) won the Norfolk Gazelle’s Valentine’s 10k. Logan Smith (30:59) was fastest overall, running inside 31 minutes for the first time. There were wins for Rhys Doherty (33:19) and Angharad Daniel (39:36) at the Valentines 10k in Chessington. Sticking with the theme of next Wednesday, the Lancaster Valentine 10k provided Thomas Corrigan (33:06) and Lucy Fairclough (36:28) with victories.

Over the same distance, Ben Sewell (35:09) and Alice Rolfe (40:12) crossed the finish line first at the Welwyn Garden City 10k. Ash Harrell (31:24) and Eve Dunne (39:39) won RunThrough’s Victoria Park 10k. The associated half marathon went to Hannah McGowan-Jones (80:47) and Alex Ramsier (70:33).

The Exeter Half Marathon provided victories to Gwylym Gibson (76:46) and Rachel Sanders (93:57). In Wales, Simon Cole (33:55) and Emma Alofs (41:17) won the Nick Beer 10k in Llandudno, whilst the Ras Cors Caron Half Marathon went to Caryl Edwards (79:06) and Richard Copp (76:53).

Matthew Lock (53:14) and Lesley Locks (61:32) set the fastest times at the Bramley 10. The associated 20 mile race went to Sophie Delderfield (2:09:56) and Ronnie Richmond (1:48:31). Robert Spencer (55:09) and Vicky Ingham (61:26) won the Lytchett 10. Jack Craig (70:41) and Amanda Hickens (89:01) completed the considerably more challenging course of the Cannock Chase 10 quickest.

Finally, Jonothan Kay (15:06) and Heather Tomlinson (17:25) finished fastest at the Bolton 5k.