U23s and U20s set Euro Qualifiers at the BMC Grand Prix, Jack Rowe smashes out a rapid 5k in Battersea and we stand-by for golden times from California as Muir, Reekie, McColgan and Twell race later today.

The big event of Saturday was the first BMC Grand Prix of the year, which took place in Trafford. As has been the case in the past, there were some swift times at this season opener. A cold wet evening did not deter the athletes – 123 ran PB’s, five ran U20 European Championship Standard times and four ran the U23 Standard.

Over 1500m Sarah Healy, Ireland junior international, took gold in 4:11.98 with Erin Wallace (Giffnock North) claiming silver in a U23 Euro standard of 4:13.02 and Revee Walcott-Nolan (Luton) bronze in 4:14.62. Jeremy Dempsey clocked a huge PB of over eight seconds to take victory in the mens A race running 3:42.49. James Thie coached athlete James Heneghan also ran a big PB breaking 3:45 for the first time with 3:43.10 with Ethan Hussey also running an excellent PB of 3:43.17.

In the 5000m Jenny Nesbitt (Cardiff) was in winning form yet again. It was a pretty solo race up front for her after the pacer dropped out and Kate Avery made the call not to complete the race. Nesbitt says she is still “searching for that race that clicks”. Nonetheless she broke the tape in 15:40.10 to take a convincing victory over Beth Kidger of Brighton Phoenix, who finished in 15:53.60 and Mhairi Mclennan of Preston Harriers who took third in 15:55.40. A special FR hat-tip goes to our own Hannah Irwin (Cambridge & Coleridge) who broke 16 minutes for the first time, doing so in style to finish fourth with 15:56.07 on the clock. Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley Harriers) ran a PB and Euro U23 qualifier of 15:58.38 which gained her fifth place.

Tom Mortimer (U23 Stroud) comfortably succeeded in his goal of running a U23 Euro Champs standard and topped the men’s 5000m podium in a PB of 13:39.79. Jonathan Davies (U23 Reading AC) was second in 13:53.06, and Kristian Jones was third (Swansea) in 13:53.25. Henry McCluckie (Shaftsbury Barnet) ran well inside the U20 Euro qualifying time (14:25.00), placing ninth 14:06.70

In the 800m races it was Alex Bell (Pudsey and Bramley) who laid down a swift marker with her first race over the distance this year. She won in 2:00.14. Archie Davis (Brighton Phoenix) won the men’s race in 1:46.65.

Full results for all the distances can be found here.

Alex Bell. Credit: James Rhodes.

Open meet roundup

Around the country there were various other track meets happening earlier in the week. The Medway & Maidstone Open Meeting on Monday night saw Nicole Taylor (Tonbridge /BrightonuNI) place 5th and quickest lady for the 3000m in 9:30.68, with Tewelde Menges (Medway & Maidstone) running 9.11.11 for the overall win.

Wednesday’s Cambridge Local Open Competition gave Jeremy Dempsy (Shaftesbury Barnet / Cambridge Uni) the chance to take a convincing victory over the same distance with his 8:09.1 being a solid 45seconds clear of his nearest competitor. Libby Brown took top lady cor CUAC with a 10:44.5 on the clock.

In the Yeovil Distance, Steeplechase & Jumps Open on Saturday Christian Green of Wells City won the 3000m in a PB of 9:26.12 and Hannah Blundy (U17 Wells City/Yeovil) ran the fastest women’s time with her own PB of 10:06.7. In the Bracknell Club Championships T20 athlete Daniel Wolff (Epsom & Ewell) won the mixed 3000m in 9:38.0 to beat Morgan Mkambula’s PB of 10:16.2 (A,F&D). Sophoe Thomas (Wycombe) was the only lady in the field, finishing fourth in 11:39.0.

The Aldershot, Farnham & District Open Meet 5000m was won by Jamie Grose (Poole AC) in 15:27.8 and Niamh Brown (A,F & D) in 17:35.7. It was great to see Louise Small back racing after a long period out with a torn achilles.


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At the Battersea Park Friday Night Under the Lights 5k Jack Rowe (A,F&D) was standout class in a high quality field, racing home to victory in 13:36. That’s faster than his track PB over the same distance (13:37.85) and will give him his first official road result.

James Rowe was well clear of John Sanderson (14:06.9) and Andy Coley-Maud (14:08.1). The event saw some of London’s finest club runners competing with 39 men breaking 15 minutes.

Naomi Taschimowitz smashed her road 5km PB to take the women’s win in 16:15.8, beating Naomi Mitchell (Reading AC) who was back in the game after her appearance at the GB marathon trials last month. She has clearly recovered well as she finished in 16:18.0 – another PB. Michelle Pearson (Belgrave / Australia) was third in 16:26.5. Again the depth of the racing was fantastic with 23 women breaking 18 minutes.

Jack Rowe. Credit: James Rhodes.

The Hatfield 5 mile race has moved around rather a lot and eventually took place not in Hatfield but Bovingdon. Our roving reporter Nicky Payne (Ealing Southall) tells us that the drift-racing track felt oddly sticky under foot which must have been rather disconcerting for the four laps required! Scott Cousins was first home in 25:11 to take the win for Springfield Striders, beating Michael Waddington (25:18) and Will Bowran (25:32). Marathoner Georgia Schweining (Cambridge Runners) ran 27:03 to secure her victory, well clear of Alex Eykelosch (Dacorum & Tring, 28:10) and Kay Pritchard (Cambridge and Coleridge, 29:04).

On Monday Adam Hickey (Southend) was a tantalising three seconds off his PB, topping the podium in 29:56 at the Whitstable 10k and leaving Joshua Teece (Central Park) in his wake to take second in 33:23, followed by Cole Gibbens (Invicta Kent) who set a PB of 34:44. Hickey also raced the 5km in Battersea 4 days later, finishing 5th. Unattached athlete Lisa Reid was the winner of the women’s field in 43:55 with Sheryl Stoakes (also unattached) running a PB to represent the V40s in second place and Mary Ward (V50 Tring RC third in 44:26).

Global and ‘Golden’ events

As is customary now, we turn our eyes to the USA to see what the Brits have been up to over there this week. Nathan Baker ( Middlesbrough (Mandale)/Milligan College) did the double at the Montreat Last Chance, winning the 1500m in 3:54.33 and the 5000m in 15:23.58. In Oregan, Roisin Flanagan (Omagh / Adams State Uni) ran 15:47.57 for the win over 5000m at the Portland Twilight meet and Gilbert Grundy (Guildford & Godalming) made it a double for the runners from across the pond, taking his win over the same distance in a PB of 14:05.58. Anna Tait (Victoria Park Glasgow / San Francisco Uni) was sixth in the 1500m, with a time of 4:25.84.

Later today, Laura Muir will be celebrating her birthday by running the 800m alongside Jemma Reekie at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event – The USATF Golden Games at Mt. SAC. Eilish McColgan will be in action over 1500m and GB Olympic Marathon squad member Steph Twell will be testing her turnover in the 5000m.

It was interesting to see the Hokkaido Sapporo Marathon Festival and Ready Steady Tokyo events go ahead this week as key testers for the Olympics. Hillary Kipkoech (KEN) won the men’s half marathon in Sapporo in 1:00:46 – his first official race over the distance. Mao Ichiyama won the women’s event in 1:08:28 to set a new best over the distance. The Ready Steady Tokyo even took place at the National Stadium and was part of the World Athletics Gold Tours (as is the Golden Games, see above). It can be watched back here and full results are here. For GB, Rabah Yousif was running the 400m and finished fifth in 46.69.

At the Gold Gala Fernanda Ribeiro in Portugal Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay ran an astounding 29:29.42 to place fifth on the world all-time list in her first ever official 10,000m. The race also saw Kalkidan Gezahegne take the seventh place on the list with her time of 29:50.77. With only five in the field, there was a huge spread of times which made for tough conditions further back as athletes were inevitably lapped. GB’s Lily Partridge ran 34:11.90.

Home on the trails

Back in the UK and out on the (rainy) trails, Richard McDowell set the fastest 100miles at any of Centurion’s events, completing the Thames Path 100 in 13:43.42. Lorna Spayne was the first lady to reach Oxford in 20:02.31.

Richard Mcdowell. Credit: Stuart March.

Rebecca Bunting took a punt and ran the Endurance Life South Devon Coastal Trail Series road shoes. It wasn’t until later she found out exactly how much that had paid off (due to a covid-staggared race start) as she won the marathon distance outright, finishing in 3:57:5 to beat Victoria Ratcliffe who was second overall in 4:19:29. Laura Swanton-Rouvelin was fourth and third lady in 4:23:17. The men’s podium places were third, fifth and seventh overall, and were occupied by Mark Ellis (4:21:44), Richard Dixon (4:34:48) and Alex Painting (4:36:21).

Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Robbie Simpson won the Ultra X 50km on the banks of Loch Ness in 3:57:23. GB ultra trail runner Meryl Cooper was the winning woman taking victory by a full 28 minutes running a stunning 4:30:29.

The Maverick Race Original Surrey long distance was won by Brogan McCawley in 1:26:21 and Andrea Berquez in 1:43:25. Amy-Jo Clarke took the women’s win over the middle distance in 49:40 with Ross Wilkes topping the men’s times in 42:31 and victory over the short option went to Sophie Parsons (28:12) and Nik Darlington (24:48).