The British Milers club is a long standing high standard athletics club which offers a great profile of races nationwide for up and coming athletes. For me, these are the most exciting and interesting races of the year aside the main championships due to the fact that the races are seeded and have pacemakers. With this being the case, you get athletes of all similar ability, full out racing one another whilst being rewarded with fast times. This gives a perfect platform for junior and youth athletes to aim and achieve championship qualifying times to gain GB places.
The most recent of these events was held this Wednesday at Woodside Stadium in Watford. This track has become quite infamous over the last few years, with many of the UK leading times set there due to the bouncy track and enclosed surroundings. This event was a Gold Standard event, hosting higher level competition with faster entry requirements than other meetings. This was certainly shown through the encouraging start lists which included multiple Great Britain representatives meaning there would be some races of the Grand Prix level, especially in the Men’s 800m. This would mean fast times were being looked at, however there was some slightly swirling wind mainly down the backstretch.
The Men’s 800m ‘A’ race certainly was the stand out event at this BMC meeting, with 2014 Commonwealth Games 1500m runners Charlie Grice and Jake Wightman lining up alongside returning 1:44 800m runner, Gareth Warburton. The pace was certainly fast, with pace maker Spencer Thomas taking out a fast pace which Charlie Grice would just sit off, leader the rest around through 400m in about 53 seconds. For me, there were too many people entered, causing great levels of pushing and jostling for position and leading to a fairly messy race. Wightman would strongly content the lead with 300m to go but couldn’t live with Charlie Grice’s hard kick to the finish in 1:47.50. Wightman would continue to go backwards coming in 9th, whereas Zak Curran (1:49.06) of Loughborough University finished strong alongside Warburton (1:49.28) for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The Women’s 800m ‘A’ race followed a very different path from that of the men’s race. The pace was very hard from the beginning, with the New Zealand athlete of Angie Petty leading the athletes out through the bell at about 59 seconds. At this point, they were very strung out with the original line of four fading from this point forwards. Petty showed promising strength to maintain the pace through to the finish in 2:01.04. Brunel University athlete, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke also showed good form to maintain the gap between herself and Petty to finish in 2:02.17.
In the 1500m ‘A’ race for the men, Tom Hook would lead out setting a decent pace, hitting 800m in about 2:01. This race would be seemingly uneventful in the sense of no specific front runners of extremely fast pace. The main running was left down to the last lap with Ben Coldray who sat in the middle of the pack during the whole race, hitting the front with about 100m to run after following Ryan McLeod – McLeod being more of a distance and road runner was stepping down in distance here for some speed work – and never looked back, streaking away for a dominant victory in 3:47.46.
The women’s equivalent would be a very strung out race, much like the 800m, with only one athlete – Melissa Courtney – being able to go with the strong pace set. Courtney would seemingly run away with this race single handedly just as Laura Muir did in the Diamond League last week, coming through to win in 4:17.33 and Faye Fullerton in second with 4:22.01.