In a second preview, James Rhodes runs through the men’s and women’s 3000m races at this weekend’s British Indoor Championships in Birmingham. You can read a preview of the 800m and 1500m races here.

Women’s 3000m

Final 14:24 Sunday

Reigning Champion: Melissa Courtney-Bryant (8:50.76)

World Indoor Q: 8:37.00 (8:27.00 outdoors)

Athletes with World Indoor Q: Laura Muir

Last time a women’s 3000m was held at this venue, Gudaf Tsegay missed the World Record by just 0.06 seconds. Sunday’s race won’t be as fast, but with Laura Muir headlining the field it is unlikely to be slow. She is the only athlete to have the World Indoor standard, a tough mark given it will be a straight final in Glasgow. Unfortunately, reigning British Indoor Champion Melissa Courtney-Bryant missed it by less than a second in Boston a fortnight ago and is a late withdrawal for this weekend.

Photo: James Rhodes

It’s not been the most straightforward qualification for Laura. She ran 8:34.39 in Cardiff in December, but it transpired the meeting did not have a World Athletics permit meaning the time would not count as a qualifier. All ends well, however, as she ran an 8:31.45 split at the Millrose Games during her two-mile European Record last weekend.

There is no need for Laura to run that fast, but a number of other athletes will be hoping for PB-pace. They include 2021 European Indoor Champion Amy Eloise Neale, who ran 8:48.79 at the start of the month, and Hannah Nuttall, who has run 3000m and 5000m PBs this year. Also in the field are last year’s bronze medallist Eloise Walker and Jenny Nesbitt – fresh off a 15:10.19 PB in Boston. It would take a monumental performance for any to reach the Glasgow standard; only Laura Muir, Jo Pavey and Liz Nuttall have ever run inside it.

Photo: James Rhodes

Men’s 3000m

Final 14:09 Sunday

Reigning Champion: James West (7:49.78)

World Indoor Q: 7:34.00 (7:29.00 outdoors)

Athletes with World Indoor Q: N/A

One thing is for certain in the men’s 3000m; with nineteen athletes currently due to start, it will be a congested first few laps. Undoubtedly, that number will reduce with late withdrawals, but the field will need to concentrate to avoid any trips.

Reigning champion James West returns to Birmingham and will be looking to retain his title. He set an outright 5000m PB at the magic Boston University track last weekend (13:19.98) and is in good form to potentially succeed with his endeavour.

He does not enter as the fastest athlete over 3000m this year, however. That honour goes to Scott Beattie, thanks to his 7:47.22 run in Ghent in Belgium. Scott is one of a handful of Hoka athletes having an excellent start to the year, that performance moving him into the top-30 fastest Brits ever.

His training partner Ellis Cross is also in the field on the back of a 4:03.44 mile PB and a 13:42 5k in Monaco, both last week. This will be his first 3000m since 2020. Charles Wheeler ran alongside Scott in Ghent and was only a fraction slower, with 7:47.39. He too has run a 5000m PB in Boston this month (13:20.17). His brother George Wheeler is also due to compete.

Photo: James Rhodes

Alfie Manthorpe, Zak Seddon (the steeplechase specialist who has dropped down to run a couple of 800m this indoor season) and James Young also race. James ran a PB of 7:55.31 at the BMC in Sheffield in January, his one and only race of 2024. Rory Leonard is a late withdrawal due to illness.

Sam Atkin and Josh Kerr have the World Indoor standard, but neither are competing in Birmingham and are not expected to be seeking qualification. With a field of only 15 in Glasgow, the qualification standard is a tough ask.