4th September 2023


Jack Rowe (coach: Tim Eglen, club: Aldershot Farnham and District) and Calli Thackery (Hallamshire) were crowned UK half marathon champions at The Big Half in London on Sunday 3 September.

Sammi Kinghorn (Rodger Harkins, Red Star) and David Weir (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) also took victories in the women’s and men’s wheelchair races respectively in highly entertaining races.

In the men’s race, Rowe ran the best half marathon of his career to date as he took some scalps to take the UK crown in a time of 1:01:08. His previous best of 1:02:04 was set at the event 12 months ago, but he revised the record books to seal a memorable victory and book his spot in the team heading to Riga next month.

Mahamed Mahamed (Idris Hamud, Southampton) led the race for long stages but after being overhauled by Rowe, he held onto second place and the UK Championships silver medal in a PB of 1:01:16. Andrew Butchart (Central) sealed the bronze with a fine 1:02:15 – a lifetime best – to reach the podium ahead of Sir Mo Farah (Gary Lough, Newham and Essex Beagles), who in his last race in London, was fourth in a time of 1:02:43.

Thackery – 2022 European and Commonwealth finalist – was a dominant winner in the women’s race as she clocked a time of 1:09:15 to win by a big margin. The time was also within the qualifying standard for next month’s World Athletics Road Running Championships in Latvia.

Next in the women’s field was Rose Harvey (Clapham Chasers) who secured the UK Championships silver medal in a time of 1:10:02. Harvey, who ran for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at last year’s World Athletics Championships marathon in Oregon, improved her best by over five minutes as she competed in her first half marathon since 2020.

Just under 30 seconds further back was experienced GB & NI international Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis, Lincoln Wellington) who ran only her second ever half marathon in a time of 1:10:31 to take the bronze medal, comfortably ahead of Clara Evans (Pontypridd) who was fourth in 1:11:23.

World T53 100m champion Kinghorn, moving up in distance in London, was embroiled in an exciting wheel-to-wheel sprint finish with compatriot Eden Rainbow-Cooper (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) with the Scot adjudged to have won the battle as both athletes were given the same time of 52:05.

As the duo tussled for top spot, Mel Woods (Rodger Harkins, Red Star) was a clear third place in a time of 58:50.

In the men’s race, Weir showed his class on the roads as he outsprinted world medallist Danny Sidbury (Christine Parsloe, Sutton & District) and JohnBoy Smith (Christine Parsloe, Sutton & District) to take the win at the Big Half.

Weir came through in a time of 47:26 to take it by one second from Sidbury, while Smith was three seconds further back to round out the podium places.