16th October 2020


British Under-23 Half Marathon record holder Jake Smith (coach: James Thie; club: Cardiff) headlines the British team of eight’s bid to fight it out for the top team places at tomorrow’s World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland.

Smith will make his senior British debut on the roads in Gdynia. He heads the European Under-23 standings owed to his 62:00 personal best clocked at the Vitality Big Half back in March, where he finished in third position, taking two seconds off his previous British record of 62:02.

The Cardiff athlete also impressed on his British track debut over 10,000m at last year’s European Under-23 Championships in Gävle, Sweden, where he finished in eighth position in 29:01.08.

Mohamud Aadan (Paul Oppe; Thames Valley) is named in the British team for the championships for the second consecutive edition, having finished as the top British man in the 2018 edition, clocking a then PB of 62:34 for 36th position, but took a further four seconds off his lifetime best, with a 62:30 effort at the Cardiff Half Marathon later that year.

World trail bronze medallist Tom Evans (Andrew Hobdell; Belgrave) also makes his British debut on the roads having formed part of Great Britain’s 2019 European Cross Country Championship team in Lisbon, Portugal where he claimed a team gold medal, alongside Kris Jones (self; Dundee Hawkhill).

Both men arrive in personal best form, with Evans taking more than two minutes off his previous half marathon best when running 63:15 in Antrim, with Jones clipping 46 seconds off his lifetime best in Barcelona back in February.

Adam Craig (Steve Vernon; Inverclyde) completes the senior men’s team, arriving in Poland having clocked 62:24 on his half marathon debut in Antrim. He strengthens the full senior men’s team, who will be looking to improve on their 11th place finish in Valencia in 2018 as they aim for the top European nation spot.

With defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) absent, the main challenges for top spot will come from world leader Kibiwott Kandie (KEN), whose 58:38 set last month in Prague remains the time to beat. 10,000m, 5000m and 5km world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) will also draw attention on his half marathon debut, as will his young teammate, Jacob Kiplimo.

All three of the women’s team will make their senior British debuts in Poland, led by Samantha Harrison (Vince Wilson; Notts), who recorded a lifetime best of 71:01 to move up to sixth on the British rankings for 2020 and secure second place at the Big Half.

Harrison will be flanked by third ranked European Under-23 athlete over the distance, Becky Briggs (Mick Woods; City of Hull), who shot up the continental rankings in Antrim, where she recorded a 72:54 PB, climbing up to seventh on the all-time British Under-23 standings in the process.

In her fourth half marathon of the year, Clara Evans (Chris Jones; Cardiff), who lowered her PB to 72:21 in Antrim, will be looking for a third personal best over the distance in 2020, having backed up her 72:29 in Barcelona with an eight second improvement in Antrim exactly a month ago.

The senior women’s team will be looking to better their seventh place finish from Valencia and secure consecutive top eight team finishes at the Championships for the first time since 2001.

In a race that will see mixed and women’s world record holders clash, Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH) and Peres Kepchirchir (KEN) will be the headline acts, along with defending champion Netsanet Kebede Gudeta (ETH) and silver medallist from 2018 Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) also expected to be well in the mix.

You can follow the action live from Gdynia from 9:50am BST and you can follow the action live on the BBC iPlayer and Red Button, along with on the World Athletics YouTube page.