14th May 2022


Jess Judd (coach: Mick Judd, coach: Blackburn) secured her place at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon after winning the UK Championships 10,000m race at the Night of 10,000m PBs at Highgate in London.

Elsewhere, Sam Atkin was crowned UK Champion in the men’s 10,000m, while the Emsley Carr and Millicent Fawcett Mile victories went to Matt Stonier (Invicta East Kent) and Georgia Griffith (AUS) respectively.

In the women’s UK Championship 10,000m race, Judd produced a well-paced race to earn the win and a second worlds qualifying standard after she posted a time of 31:22.24.

However, Judd had to bide her time for victory as Amy-Eloise Markovc (Chris Fox, Wakefield) and Samantha Harrison (Vince Wilson, Charnwood) were two of the main players for most of the race, but both ultimately just missed out on the worlds standard, although were inside the European standard.

Markovc led the majority of the first half of the race, controlling the pace at the front as the field were comfortably on track for the 31:25.00 time for Oregon. With ten laps to go, it was Harrison’s turn to hit the front, and this time she pulled out a significant gap from the rest of the field to change the complexion of the race completely.

It was a position Harrison found herself in until about 600m to go when Judd showed all of her experience to rein her opponent in and take the lead, then open up a gap from the rest, and it’s a margin she held onto, and secured her place in the team for Oregon in July.

Markovc agonisingly missed the worlds standard by 0.57s in 31:25.57, while Harrison was third in the UK Championships in 31:30.63.

Judd said afterwards, “There were a few surges in that race, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it, but I am really happy to win the race and get the job done. It couldn’t have gone better today.

“I knew with five laps to go I wanted to try and make a move, but Sam went earlier, so I had to be patient. I’m just over the moon to have won. I got quite emotional coming down the last 100m. I never really win, I’m always there or there abouts, so it was a nice feeling to win a race.”

In the men’s contest, the tussle for the UK crown was between Sam Atkin (Mike Collins, Lincoln Wellington) and Emile Cairess (Alan Storey, Leeds) for the majority of the race with the Olympian, Atkin, eventually coming out on top.

As the Italian Yemaneberhan Crippa dominated the race to win in 27:16.18, Atkin and Cairess exchanged the lead several times throughout to finish second and third in the race in times of 27:31.98 and 27:34.08, which were outside the worlds standard, but inside the European and Commonwealth Games England standards.

Ben Connor (Derby) joined the pair on the UK Championships podium, finishing third in the UK standings, fifth overall, in 27:51.82.

Atkin said post-race, “I wanted the world standard today, that was the main aim, and top two. I managed the second of those. I’ll have to talk to my coach and figure out what we are going to do going into the next few weeks.

“I’ve been doing a lot towards 5000m this season, but we’ll see if we’ll go for another 10,000m and try to get that time.”

Earlier in the programme, Georgia Griffith (AUS) won the Nike Millicent Fawcett Mile after a thrilling finish to the race.

Britain’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Rob Denmark, Poole) got on the shoulder of the pacemaker with two laps and moved the pace of the race, but on the final lap, the Australian in her first race on European soil this season, came through strongly to win ahead of Ireland’s Sarah Healy – their times 4:27.81 and 4:29.03.

She said afterwards, “I’m super excited to get the win. It’s my first race in London, so it was really nice to start off with a good result. It was such a fun event; we don’t have anything like this in Australia. It was so cool, and the loud crowd was amazing. I certainly needed that on the last lap.”

Matthew Stonier was a surprise winner of the men’s Emsley Carr mile as he added his name to the illustrious list of past winners after a superb final sprint saw him overhaul Piers Copeland (Bob Smith, PontyPridd) on the line, clocking 3:54.89 to Copeland’s 3:54.91.

Stonier was a long way out of contention as George Mills (Brighton Phoenix) led the field at the bell but after an athlete fell with 300m to go, the field was shaken up and a final sprint for the line was on the cards.

Copeland made the first move and looked to have secured the win but a fast finish from Stonier from the outside lanes saw him claim a memorable win.

He commented, “I’m one of the lesser known names in the field, so I wasn’t expecting that. I started off near the back for the first couple of laps, but after the fall on the last lap, I got to 200m to go feeling really good. I was going through the tent on the home straight thinking ‘I’ve got more to give here’. Piers went on the inside, and I went on the outside, and I didn’t know who had it on the line. I didn’t want to think I’d won it until it was confirmed.”