With the London 2017 IAAF World Championships commencing tomorrow, I take a look at the talent and prospects of the new, young British middle distance stars.
Some have represented Great Britain before on the world stage at senior level, whereas some are making their first senior appearance.
Admittedly, none have realistic medal hopes, but their youthful exuberance and talent that has already been shown is nothing but a positive for the already thriving revival of the British middle distance scene which is somewhat reminiscent of the glorious 80s.
The 3,000m Steeplechase is not an event with an over illustrious history for British athletes. Mark Rowland – the renowned Oregon Track Club coach – remains the most successful over the distance; Rowland ran 8:07 in the 1988 Olympics to win a stunning bronze over the barriers famously dominated by the Africans.
With incredibly fluid biomechanics and easy-looking form, Zak Seddon could certainly be a future over the steeplechase barriers.
Having been based in the US over the past few years, Seddon has dropped his PB down to 8:30, inside the Worlds qualification standard and a very respectable time given his age. Back in 2013, Seddon won gold at the European Junior Championships over the same distance, putting his name out there as one to watch.
This indicator for future success is never easy to back up, but the hard work to return to the top level after a few quieter years has paid off.
You can watch Zak Seddon in the Heats of the 3,000m Steeplechase on 6th August.
Jessica Judd was a prodigy of 800m running. Back in 2012, Judd won silver at the IAAF World Junior Championships, a race which would propel her onto the top of the world stage for the next two years.
2013 was a year where Judd won both a Diamond League and the European Team Championships whilst also representing Britain at the IAAF World Championships, this time as a senior. She managed to follow up this incredible year with an even better 2014; a succession h quality Diamond League performances a new PB of 1:59.77 (2nd U20 AT) and a 4th place finish at the Commonwealth Games!
However, a series of injuries and a few tough years set Judd back a little, but now training back under her father and the team at Loughborough University, she has come back a stronger athlete.
Now moving up to the 1,500m, Judd has already run a huge PB of 4:05.20 and secured a spot to run for a second time in the IAAF World Championships.
You can watch Jess Judd in the heats of the 1,500m on 4th August.
Having maybe not been quite the prodigy that Judd was over 800m, Adelle Tracey has quietly worked her way from Olympic Torch Bearer in 2012 to one of Britain’s top 800m runners.
Her main breakthrough came in 2015 as an U23, representing Britain at the U23 Junior Championships where she finished 4th.
Only becoming a senior athlete last year, 2016 was a stand out year; just missing out on a sub-2 performance of 2:00.04 and also qualifying to represent Great Britain at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Tracey’s 2017 season has continued where 2016 left off, consistently running close to under 2:00, putting her in a great position for a big breakthrough at her first senior outdoor championships, back in the Olympic Stadium where it all begun for her.
You can watch Adelle Tracey in heats of the 800m on 10th August.
At the Oslo Bislett Games, Jake Wightman produced arguably one of the biggest upsets of the year, beating the world’s best over 1,500 whilst also running a big PB of 3:34.17; a run which was very reminiscent of Andy Baddeley’s win over the Mile in Oslo back in 2008.
Wightman has made big steps over the last number of years. 2013 was his until break, winning the European Junior 1,500m final, a feat which was created by fellow GB 1,500m star, Josh Kerr the following year.
2014 another big step up for Wightman as he represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games after running a 3:35.49 PB.
As I have mentioned, 2017 has already been an incredible year for Jake Wightman. Not only has his 1,500m races been outstanding, but his 800m time has rapidly dropped too down to 1:45.42 showing his speed over the last 400m a force to be reckoned with in the championships.
You can watch Jake Wightman in the heats of the 1,500m on 10th August.
Being the youngest of the new British middle distance stars, Josh Kerr certainly hasn’t let the big stage get to him, finishing runner up to Chris O’Hare at the British Team Trials.
Having spent a few years over in the States, Kerr has developed into an incredibly strong 1,500m runner for one still so young.
He showed great talent in 2015 when he followed in Wightman’s footsteps to win the European Junior title, but it wasn’t until this year that he made his incredible break, making him certainly the fastest rising star for me.
Kerr hit the headlines when he won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles over 1,500m beating Oregon star of Edward Chesorek, his outdoor title also came with a huge PB of 3:35.99 to just get the IAAF World Championships standard. Kerr is undoubtedly set to be a big name in the future.
You can watch Josh Kerr in the heats of the 1,500m on 10th August.
The talent possessed by Kyle Langford is unrivalled by many, he showed his raw talent for the two lap distance at an early age and has progressed leaps and bounds in the last few years.
I have written in full about the rise of Kyle Langford here.
Being an incredible championship runner with a great kick, Langford has put himself in a great position to have a successful IAAF World Championships as he respects GB for the second time at these champs having made his first two years ago whilst still only a Junior.
Unfortunately injury meant he missed out on the Olympics last year, but a strong 2017 and indoor season where he ran competitively at the European Indoor Championships has led Langford back to top form running a PB of 1:45.45.
You can watch Kyle Langford in the heats of the 800m on 5th August.
As with Kyle Langford, Elliot Gilles seemingly jumped out of no where to become one of the top British 800m runners. In Giles’ case, he is now certainly our best 800m athlete; this being his first senior year a 1:44.99 PB and gold medal at the British Trials has proved his quality.
Whilst a junior athlete, Giles hardly competed, not running from 2012 to 2015 where he suddenly burst back onto the scene with a series of impressive 800m runs.
2016 was the big breakthrough for Giles. He improved his PB by over 2 seconds from 2015 down to 1:45.54, won the British Trials, won bronze at the European Championships and represented GB at the Rio Olympic Games, all whilst being only 22.
Now part of the strong training group led by Jon Bigg – Kyle Langford is also part of this group – Giles is in a great position to succeed at the IAAF World Championships.
You can watch Elliot Giles in the heats of the 800m on 5th August.
The full British Athletics team for the IAAF World Championships can be found here.
The full Timetable for the IAAF World Championships can be found here.