24th February 2022
UK ATHLETICS INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS - ENDURANCE PREVIEW
There is a quality entry list line-up for the women’s 800m in Birmingham with Olympic fourth-placer Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan), in-form Isabelle Boffey (Luke Gunn, Enfield & Haringey) and Jenny Selman (Fife), who all have the world qualifiers, lining up for what will be an exciting event. Defending champion and UK record-holder Keely Hodgkinson (coach: Trevor Painter, club: Leigh) is due to focus on the 400m this weekend.
In the men’s 800m the British record-holder Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg, Birchfield) dominates the UK rankings in 2022 and he ran 1:45.42 at both World Indoor Tour events in Birmingham and Toruń in the past few days.
Defending champion Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) ran an indoor PB of 1:46.46 at Birmingham as he chases a record 10th medal. Commonwealth medallist Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg, Shaftesbury Barnet) also has the world qualifying mark this winter as does charlie Da’Vall Grice (Brighton Phoenix).
The women’s 1500m is now a straight final at the end of Saturday’s programme and features European under-23 medallist Erin Wallace (Andy Young, Giffnock North) who ran a PB and world qualifier 4:08.90 in Birmingham last Saturday.
Sub-two-minute 800m performer Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow, Guildford & Godalming), who despite being used to the shorter event has run 4:06.56 for 1500m outdoors, just outside the world indoor standard. European indoor medallist and reigning champion Holly Archer (Andrew Parmenter, Cambridge & Coleridge) also lines-up in this final.
Six athletes have the 1500m qualifying mark for Belgrade this winter and all bar Olympic medallist Josh Kerr and 800m favourite Giles are entered.
Reigning champion George Mills (Brighton Phoenix) led the way in the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham 1500m with a PB of 3:36.03 and is up against past champions Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Brighton Phoenix) and UK leader Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas, Giffnock North) who also have the qualifying mark.
Piers Copeland (Bob Smith, Pontypridd Roadents) was just behind Mills in Birmingham last Saturday with his 3:36.12 indoor PB and he did win the indoor trial race last year and he has great range having run a 48-second 400m and sub-8:00 3000m in 2021.
European Indoor women’s 3000m champion Amy-Eloise Markovc (Wakefield) is the big favourite as the UK leader and also having run a fast 1500m PB in Birmingham last weekend.
Also entered are European Indoor medallist Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin, Swansea), Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell AC) and Jenny Nesbitt – all athletes have achieved a qualifying standard so far this year.
A strong field has assembled for the men’s 3000m including by European 5000m record-setter Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher, Richmond & Zetland) plus in-form Tom Mortimer (Chris McGeorge, Stroud), 3:34 1500m runner James West (Ben Thomas, Tonbridge) who produced a 7:44.73 performance earlier this month.
A dozen British men have bettered the World Indoor Championships qualifying standard of 7:50.00 this winter but only Mortimer, West and Jamaine Coleman (Preston) are entered of those.
In the women’s 3000m walk Bethan Davies (Andi Drake, Cardiff) has a huge advantage by time on what is quite a youthful field of 13.
The men’s 3000m walk switches back from a 5000m walk which was held between 2017 and 2020 and will see Chris Snook (Verity Snook, Aldershot, Farnham & District) the likely favourite based on his 12:03.14 outdoor PB and recent victory in the England Athletics Winter 10,000m Championships in Leeds.