20th July 2019


European champion Laura Muir (coach: Andy Young, club: Dundee Hawkhill), Kare Adenegan (Job King; Coventry) and Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff; Charnwood) secured a dominant victories as a host of Brits starred on the first day of the Müller Anniversary Games in London.

Muir cruised home in the women’s 1500m in a time of 3:58.25 – less than a second away from Sifan Hassan’s meeting record set last year – while Adenegan and Peacock were in season’s best form in the women’s T33/34 100m and the men’s T44-64 100m respectively.

Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet) was second in the men’s 100m in season’s best 9.95 while Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker; Enfield & Haringey), Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers), Kyle Langford (Job Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet), Sarah McDonald (David Harmer; Birchfield Harriers), Jemma Reekie (Young; Kilbarchan), Ben Connor (Steve Vernon; Derby), Alex Yee (Kenneth Pike; Kent), Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) and Andy Butchart (Central) all recorded personal bests – the latter two with Scottish records in the process.

Of her dominant win in the 1500m, Muir said: “London is a really fast track and it’s always a great atmosphere. The conditions are usually pretty good – it was a little bit windy today, but the whole vibe of the place is really special and it makes athletes raise their game.”

In the same race, McDonald ran a personal best of 4:00.46 and Reekie showed no signs of tiredness after her double gold at the European Under-23 Championships last week as she improved her lifetime best by over three seconds to 4:02.09.

Adenegan, who broke the T34 women’s 100m world record at this event last year, may not have matched that performance but a season’s best of 17.91 seconds was good enough for the win in her race. In the same race Fabienne Andre (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy), new to wheelchair racing, clocked a 19.93 personal best.

Afterwards, Adenegan put her race into perspective by explaining: “That was alright. It’s a season best so I know things are going in the right direction and I am happy to go sub-18 with it being my third 100m of the season.

“There is more pressure because with having the world record and I know what I expect of myself. It’s been a busy year with A levels and it’s now about getting into shape. I start university in September and I hope I can keep training hard through that and focus on the World Championships.”

Elsewhere in the T44-61 men’s 100m, double Paralympic gold medallist Peacock set the London Stadium alight with a 10.70 clocking – his third fastest time ever and first win at the Müller Anniversary Games. Paralympic bronze medallist from 2012 Ola Abidogun (Grant Barker; Horwich) equalled his 11.05 personal best.

Peacock said: “I am reasonably happy with that. It’s one of my faster times. I feel good at the moment, I have been training well and I have only had three races this year. It’s been great to get back on the track, I have always loved training and this year I feel like the hunger is back. I am going home every night and watching video and wanting to improve. I feel comfortable.”

Sprinters Hughes and Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley) took advantage of the fast track and good conditions to run seasons best times. Hughes’ mark of 9.95 equals the time he ran to secure the European title last year in Berlin, while Gemili’s 10.04 and 10.07 performances were his fastest times in four years.

Hughes finished second in the final while Gemili was sixth and the second of two heats saw a return to the track for James Ellington (Newham & Essex Beagles) following a serious motorbike accident – he clocked 10.93. Hughes said: “I am quite happy minus the stumble but I think I ran a great race and held my composure and it was good to be in front of a London crowd.

“This crowd always inspires me and I am enjoying the music, shout out to the music promoter for that and the track is pretty fast. I always enjoy racing out here, it’s just a shame I could not run a little faster.”

A gutsy run from Nielsen in the women’s 400m had the whole stadium on its feet at the top of the afternoon, as she raced to a massive PB of 50.83 in third place following a strong start.

Emily Diamond (Benke Blomkvist; Bristol & West) joined her in the race, clocking a season’s best 51.69 for sixth. Nielsen’s effort was chosen as the performance of the day and she said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s a time I knew I could do, but it was just a matter of getting the competitions in and being competitive.

“And to do it here of all places – I’m not joking when I say this is my favourite place to run. It’s really something special to me. Every time I’m here, the crowd just gives me goosebumps and I get a lift I just can’t describe. I just want to race here all the time.”

In a closely fought men’s 5000m, Olympic finalist Butchart set a Scottish record of 13:06.21 for fifth, while Connor ran a 13:19.47 personal best to dip under the Doha World Championships qualifying standard for tenth.

Yee joined the personal best club with 13:29.18 for 12th, Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland) was 14th in 13:49.55 seasons best, Nick Goolab (Craig Winrow; Belgrave) did the same with 14:02.27 for 17th and Butchart said: “The race was always going to be pretty fast and I felt pretty good. I am training really well and I am excited, I have not come from altitude training and have been training at sea level but I have been training really well. Today was massive and it was great to run here. I am exactly where I want to be. It is incredible to run that time and it is big confidence boost and I think I can go faster and break 13 minutes.”

Butchart was not the only athlete to run a Scottish record, as Dobbin demonstrated she’s capable of mixing it with the best in the world by improving her 200m record to 22.50 on her way to third place.

Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan; Enfield & Haringey) and Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool), the latter the first of her two events in London, clocked season’s bests 23.19 and Dobbin said: “I’m over the moon with that. This time last year I missed the Anniversary Games because I had a shift at work, so to now be a full-time athlete, racing against Olympic champions, it’s just a dream come true. I didn’t expect to be in PB shape until trials because every year we focus on peaking for trials so to run a PB here today it means a lot.”

Meanwhile, in the men’s 800m there were strong runs all round for the British trio of Webb, Langford and Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg; Birchfield Harriers), with the former two running personal bests of 1:44.52 and 1:44.97 respectively and Giles finishing with a season’s best of 1:45:03 that was mere hundredths away from a lifetime best.

Webb: “The plan was to get out hard the first 100, really relax. I didn’t want to go through quicker than 37.9. we have been practising that first 300 in training and when we went through the 300m it was exactly 37.9 – perfect. I am happy with how I ran it and I think I ran it well but I was a bit boxed in, I had to run wide and I held lane three in the end and brought it home strong.”

European bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) had to settle for 4.65m and third place in the women’s pole vault after a thrilling pole vault as her season’s continues to shape up promisingly.

In spite of a promising first round effort of 16.45m in the men’s triple jump, last year’s British champion Ben Williams (Aston Moore; Sale Harriers Manchester) ended the competition in fifth place while Nathan Douglas (Aston Moore; Oxford City) was seventh with 16.18.

Another member of the British squad at the European Under-23 Championships in Sweden last week, Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Zivile Pukstiene, Leeds City), was the first Brit to experience the atmosphere within the London Stadium in the men’s long jump, managing a best leap of 7.70m. Dan Bramble (Jonas Dodoo; Shaftesbury Barnet) leapt 7.61m for seventh. In the men’s 400m hurdles, Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong; Thames Valley) was eighth in the 49.93.

The women’s 4x100m relay provided an exciting conclusion to the day of events, with the race reaching a crescendo as the Great Britain & Northern Ireland quartet of Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka; City of Stoke), Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District), Williams and Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo; Cambridge Harriers) were narrowly beaten into first place by the Jamaican Select team. In the women’s 100m hurdles Cindy Ofili (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) clocked 13.24 while Yasmin Miller (Robert Smith; Derby) hit 13.51.