24th June 2018


Roundhay Park in Leeds witnessed a historic day as four British race walkers secured their selection for this summer’s showpiece European Championships in Berlin.

Tom Bosworth (coach: Andi Drake) and Bethan Davies (Andi Drake) took victory in the men’s and women’s events respectively at the British Grand Prix of Race Walking, which doubled up as the British Championships and trials for the European Championships.

Callum Wilkinson (Drake) and Heather Lewis (Chris Jones) took second places in the British trial to also secure their places on the start line in Berlin, having achieved the qualifying standards earlier this year.

A top-two finish and a European standard of 1:25:00 for men and 1:37:00 for women hit since May last year was what was required in Leeds in order to earn automatic selection for Berlin.

In the men’s 20km, Bosworth went to the front from the start on his home turf and soon established a lead ahead of Wilkinson, Slovak Miroslav Úradník and Cameron Corbishley (Drake).

Bosworth passed the 5km mark in 20:27, with the chasing trio 30 seconds behind, but crucially on pace for the 85:00 British qualifying time for Berlin.

He passed halfway in 41:08 with the chasing pack in 41:53. Soon after the halfway mark Corbishley began to push the pace, but before the 13km was shown the red paddle and disqualified. Uradnik and Wilkinson passed the 15km point in 62.57 just under a minute behind Bosworth.

Bosworth maintained his lead and cruised home in a course and meeting record of 83:10, to record a hat-trick of British Grand Prix titles and his seventh British title.

In the battle for the minor medals Uradnik moved ahead of Wilkinson to record a huge personal best of 84:09. Wilkinson secured his place in Berlin with a time of 84:21 in third place.

Guy Thomas took third in the British Championships and took the Welsh title by clocking his second best ever time of 89:32 to move to third on the UK rankings for 2018. Andrew Millar took bronze in the English Championships behind Bosworth and Wilkinson.

In the women’s 20km, Davies started quickly and established a lead passing 5km in 23:30. Behind her Welsh compatriot Lewis went through the same mark in 23:56. Gemma Bridge (Mark Wall) went through in 24:26 alongside Erica Kelly.

Davies passed the halfway mark in 47:36, with Lewis in a clear second place in 48:27. Kelly went through this point in 49:31 having moved into third place ahead of defending champion Bridge.

At the 15km point Davies had a comfortable lead (72:07) and hung on to regain the British Grand Prix and British title she last won in 2016 clocking 96:55.

Lewis took the silver medal and secured her section for Berlin clocking 99:06 with Kelly third in 101:30 – also winning English gold – ahead of Slovakian Monika Hornakova in fourth and Ireland’s Kate Veal who clocked a personal best of 102:35 ahead of Bridge who was second in the England Championships (103:27).

In the supporting, 10km Tom Partington (Steve Partington) clocked a new personal best of 44:04 to move to the top of the UK under-20 rankings for 2018. Agata Kowalska, who is based in Leeds, clocked a new personal best of 48:47.