Busy weekend on the track, road and country

Melissa Courtney

Last weekend saw some amazing results on all surfaces with Melissa Courtney taking her performances up another level with the fastest time in the world this year over 3000m.  Charlotte Purdue was impressively under 70 minutes for the first time in a half marathon. The British University Championships (BUCS) saw a great domestic battle for the men's title while the women's event was won by the European U23 champion from Denmark. Kyle Langford and Elliott Giles were back to winning on the track at the Lee Valley BMC event.

At the IAAF meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany,Welsh endurance star Melissa Courtney (handicap -1.8) continues an upward curve that was really given impetus after winning a bronze medal over 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games last year. Opening her season at the second leg of the IAAF World Indoor Tour in Germany, Courtney took another step up as she beat a world class field over 3,000m, stopping the clock at 8.43.36, an indoor personal best and the fastest time in the world this year. That time also puts her eighth on the UK all-time list.  

Out in Japan at the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon,  Charlotte Purdue (handicap -1.2) confirmed her training is going well ahead of the London Marathon as she ran the ninth fastest half marathon ever by a Brit over in Japan. Purdue took over 30 seconds off her old best as she dipped under 70 minutes for the first time with a 69:46 clocking.

The Chichester Priory 10k saw Steph Twell (handicap -1.4) post a solid 33.17 over the 10km on Sunday, in her first race of the year, a time that puts her third on the runbritain rankings. In the men’s race the first seven dipped under 30 minutes, with Will Mycroft (handicap 2.4) enjoying a breakthrough victory in a time of 29.32.

It’s rare that a BUCS championship cross country race goes to a photo-finish but it did at the BUCS race in Exeter this weekend, as Emile Cairess (handicap -5.5) and Patrick Dever (handicap -5.6) were evenly matched for the full 10km distance, eventually separated by just 0.1 of a second. Cairess was awarded victory, with Dever taking home silver, whilst Oliver Fox (handicap -4.9) crossed the line third having been in the battle for the title most of the way.

In the women’s race Anna Moller was perhaps a surprise name, but not a surprise winner, the Danish international and European U23 champion getting the better of Birmingham’s Amelia Quirk (handicap 0.5) and Edinburgh’s Mhairi MacLennan (handicap -1.2). Loughborough’s Jess Judd (handicap -1.6) was fourth, leading them to the team title, whilst St Mary’s took the men’s honours.

At the Boston University InvitationalLynsey Sharp (handicap -5.0) ran the 800m with a solo UK top ranking, 2.02.90 victory as she builds towards the European Indoor Championships in Scotland.

In north London at the BMC Lee Valley Open 2017 World Championship fourth placer Kyle Langford (handicap -5.0) was in action for the first time since July last year, the 800m man winning comfortably in 1:48.37 as he gears up for the Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships that start on February 9th. Elliot Giles (handicap -5.1) was also on good form as he won the Ayo Falola Dream Mile in 3:59.71, getting the better of Adam Clarke (handicap -4.2) who ran a personal best of 4.01.02. Charles Da’Vall Grice (handicap -5.0) stepped up to 3,000m, recording a 7.58.34 personal best to take the win by almost 20 seconds, showing the strength work he’s been putting in down in South Africa is paying off.  

Over in Reims, France, Robbie Fitzgibbon (handicap -4.8) significantly lowered his 1500m season’s best with a 3:42.00, a time that puts him top of the runbritain rankings.

Some of the bigger races last weekend were: 

Southport Mad Dog 10K

 - 3,017*

Dewsbury 10K

 - 1,714

Chichester Priory 10K

 - 1,469

BUCS Championships

 - 1,442

Bushy parkrun

- 1,267

Alsager 5

  - 956*

* Provisional 

It was a very icy weekend that saw over 250 parkruns cancelled, with the fastest of those that did take place at Brighton  and Whiteley by Peter Le Grice  (handicap -5.2) and Jen Elkins (handicap 1.6) in 15: 10 and 17:37 respectively.