12th March 2018
NCAA Indoor Championships, College Station, Texas, USA, 9-10 March
There was double delight for the Brits in action at the NCAA Indoor Championships as Tim Duckworth (coach: Toby Stevenson) wrote his name into the record books in taking the heptathlon title, while Josh Kerr (Joe Franklin) successfully defended his mile crown.
Kerr came in as favourite, a stark contrast to 2017 where he dethroned Edward Cheserek, who has since gone on to run the second fastest time ever for the distance, but he handled the pressure superbly. Easing to victory in his heat in 4:02.03 minutes, Kerr stepped it up come the final and truth be told was a class apart as he won by over a second in 3.57.02 thanks to a scorching 54.23 seconds last 400m. Kerr’s fellow Scot Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas) was a very credible seventh in 4.00.64, just outside his personal best.
In the heptathlon, Duckworth set not one but two records, becoming the first Brit to win an NCAA multi-events title, breaking the British record in the process. Day one couldn’t have ended better for Duckworth, with high jump and shot put personal bests of 2.17m and 13.59m leaving him in the lead overnight. A pole vault season’s best and a 1000m personal best of 2:56.23 saw him take gold, his winning score of 6188 some 200 points better than any other Brit in history.
Elsewhere there was a welcome return to form for Rhianwedd Price (Houston Franks), however she’ll be disappointed to finish fourth in the women’s mile, just shy of a medal with a 4:33.00 season’s best. Sticking with the endurance events, James West (George Gandy) was sixth in the men’s 3,000m in 8:06.94, Alice Wright (Franklin) ninth in the 5,000m in 16:07.66 and Amy-Eloise Neale 12th in the 3,000m in 9:20.24.
Ama Pipi (Jonas Dodoo) revised her 400m personal best to 52.07 to finish third in her heat, good for a place in the B final where she also finished third in 52.47. In the field Jahisha Thomas (John Vernon) was an excellent fifth in the long jump with a best of 6.40m, just two centimetres shy of her personal best, while Joe Ellis (Jerry Clayton) was fifth in the weight throw with a 22.56m effort.
European Throwing Cup, Leiria, Portugal, 10-11 March
Amy Holder (Neville Thompson) was perhaps the pick of the bunch of British athletes in action at the European Throwing Cup as she delivered a 52.36m season’s best to finish third in the U23 women’s discus competition. The women’s shot put proved another highlight with 17-year-old Sarah Omoregie (Gareth Lease) setting a fine 15.09m personal best in finishing seventh in the U20 women’s event while Amelia Strickler finished fifth in the senior women’s B event with 15.28m.
On the men’s side Joe Harris finished second in the senior men’s B javelin competition with a season’s best of 74.11m. Mark Dry also set a season’s best of 69m to finish tenth in the A hammer. Daniel Bainbridge was just short of his personal best set this year as he finished sixth in the U23 men’s javelin with 63.88m.
Inverness Half Marathon, Inverness, 11 March
With the London Marathon only a matter of weeks away, Derek Rae (Ron Morrison) fine-tuned his preparations with a 70:27 clocking at the Inverness Half Marathon. After travel chaos led to him being unable to compete at the Big Half last weekend, the Scottish athlete took to racing closer to home, finishing just 21 seconds outside his personal best, which bodes well for his challenge over 26.2 miles next month.
Lisbon Half Marathon, Lisbon, Portugal, 11 March
David Weir (Jenny Archer) captured victory at the Lisbon event which acted as perfect practice ahead of another tilt at the London Marathon title next month. His chip time of 45:37 was enough to seal the victory. With the Commonwealth Games only a matter of weeks away, the ever-improving JohnBoy Smith (Archer) was third in a personal best of 47:57. Nikki Emerson (Ian Thompson) was the first female Briton across the line, also in a personal best, the time 60:03.
Lugano Trophy, 15° Memorial Mario Albisetti, Lugano, Switzerland, 11 March
Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) fresh from his world indoor record over 3000m two weeks ago, warmed up for the Commonwealth Games by testing himself over 20km, the distance he will race in Gold Coast. In very cold and wet conditions, Bosworth just lost out in the final sprint to Japanese walker Koki Ikeda to clock 81:28 which pits him top of the British rankings for 2018.
In the women’s 20km, Bethan Davies (Drake) smashed her personal best and Welsh record to move to second on the UK all-time list. Davies took a brilliant third place in 91:53, beating her previous best of 93:04 set in Leeds last year. Welsh teammate for the Commonwealth Games Heather Lewis (Chris Jones) also warmed up for the Gold Coast by setting a big new personal best of 96:14 to finish in sixth and move into fifth on the UK all-time list. Behind them, Erica Kelly (Steve Partington), who will represent the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games, became only the tenth British woman to break the 100-minute barrier for 20km, as she clocked a new career best of 99:36 for seventh.
England Athletics 10km Race Walking Championships, Coventry, 11 March
With the top walkers in action in Lugano, a path was cleared for the younger generation to take victory. Chris Snook (Verity Snook) took the men’s title in 47:11 that puts him at the top of the UK under-20 rankings for 2018. In the women’s race there was a three-way battle between Anna Garcia (Mark Wall), Hannah Hunter and Maddie Shott (Mick Graham). Shott took the early lead, before Garcia took up the pace after the half-way point. A late surge from Hunter, meant all three came back together at the 8km point. Garcia proved the most powerful on the last lap to take victory in 54:18, from Hunter (54:21) and Shott (54:24).
2018 FPSG scottishathletics National Indoor Championships, Glasgow, 10-11 March
After setting a lifetime best at Emirates Arena during the Müller Indoor Grand Prix last month, Maria Lyle (Jamie Bowie) returned to Glasgow for her final competition before flying out to the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games. She raced twice over 60m in the age-group competitions as a guest, clocking 9.35 and 9:37.
Podium 5k, Barrowford, Lancashire, 11 March
Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) continued her fine winter form as she produced a 15:25 personal best to win the March edition of the Podium 5k race and jump to fourth on the UK all-time rankings, topped by Paula Radcliffe. Having won the Armagh 3km in 8:59 last month, Weightman stepped up in distance ahead of a 5,000m outing on the track at the Commonwealth Games, producing a classy run to move ahead of the likes of Jo Pavey on the all-time list. In doing so Weightman dragged both Kate Avery (Terrance Mahon) and Stevie Stockton (Phil Townsend) under 16 minutes, the duo continuing their return from the side-lines with impressive 15:52 and 15:57 performances.