NCAA Indoor Championships, Texas, USA, 10-11 March
It was a fabulous weekend for the British athletes competing across the pond at the NCAA Indoor Championships, as with just 20 athletes in action Brits won four medals.
In the blue riband event, the men’s mile, Josh Kerr (coach: Joe Franklin) produced one of the runs of his life to beat the overwhelming favourite Edward Cheserek by over two seconds, a blistering 53 second last 400m more than enough to see him take the title. Neil Gorley (Ben Thomas) was also an agonising fourth, less than two tenths of second down on a medal.
In the men’s heptathlon, the fast improving Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson) produced a lifetime best of 6165 points to secure a splendid silver medal, but also break the British record by more than 100 points. The ultimate championship performer, Duckworth set personal bests in the 60m, 60mH, high jump, pole vault and shot put to amass such a wonderful score, winning both the 60m and high jump.
There was then a remarkable distance double for Marc Scott (Steve Gulley), who took silver in the men’s 5000m on Friday night, pushing the aforementioned Cheserek hard as he produced a season’s best of 13:43, before returning on Saturday evening to take bronze in the 3000m. Again Scott used his fast finishing speed to take third in 7:57.19 in a tightly run race.
Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson) has really found her form again since moving stateside at the turn of the year, and produced a personal best at her biggest competition yet to finish fourth. Adding 7cm to the personal best she set just last month, Bryan cleared 4.40m to only miss a medal on countback.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) started the weekend off in disappointing fashion following a disqualification in the 60m heats, but bounced back to place fourth in the 200m, although he was second in his ‘section’ of the final, as two finals are run and the times merged. In this case the Olympian’s 20.63 clocking fell short of a top three spot.
England Athletics U15/U17 Combined Events Championships, Sheffield, 11-12 March
An unprecedented four championship best performances and two British records made 2017 the best edition in the history of these championships.
The under 17 women’s pentathlon was the only competition to conclude on the first day in Sheffield, and it certainly set the bar high as Pippa Earley (John Shepherd) broke both the British record and CBP. A shot put personal best and a terrific long jump saw the Kingston & Poly athlete take up the lead, her winning 800m time of 2:18.52 securing gold and a pair of records too.
On day two, all three winners secured championship best performances, starting with Joseph Harding’s (Stephen Peaty) 3132 point haul in the u15 men’s pentathlon, some 200 points clear of his nearest rival.
In the U15 women’s pentathlon there were personal bests across the board, although Lucy-Jane Matthews (Andrew Fisher) prevailed by almost 300 points, her 3649 score putting her second on the UK all-time list.
Last but not least was the U17 men’s heptathlon, where Joel McFarlane saw off the challenge of his fellow Scots Robbie Farquhar (Kenny Lyon) and Matthew Chandler (Kenneth Pearson) to take gold with a tally of 4948, way clear of the field and surpassing the British record by nine points. Helped by personal bests in the high jump, long jump and pole vault, he also went very close in couple of other events to help amass such a superb score. Results: http://powerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=187059&pagenum=1
Silverstone Half Marathon, 12 March
David Weir (Jenny Archer) continued his preparations for the Virgin Money London Marathon by winning at the home of British motor sport in a time of 46:53. John Smith (Archer), also competing over the 26.2 mile course in London next month, was second in 52:19 with Ben Rowlings (Job King) crossing the line in a personal best of 56:07.
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson / Tanni Grey-Thompson) won the women's race in an intriguing battle with Mel Nicholls (Job King) with just one second separating the pair, with times of 58:55 & 58:56 respectively.