Six of the Best at Watford BMC Grand Prix Meeting on Saturday 11 June 2011

Six Bristol & West athletes competed at the British Milers Club Grand Prix meeting at Watford on Saturday 11th June 2011 and all six took advantage of a break in the windy weather and five came away with a personal best.

Pride of place (despite being his coach I am hoping I am objective here) was Steve Mitchell’s 3:41.92 for sixth place and third Brit in the International ‘A’ race. Steve’s time was shy of his 3:40 target but this was due, in part, to the advertised 1:54 for the first 800 metres not being achieved – still a lesson to be learned – don’t sit off the pace slightly if it isn’t actually the advertised pace! After initially being allocated to the ‘B’ race the pressure on Steve to perform was considerable after lobbying to be in the ‘A’ race. Rounding into the last hundred Steve was fourth and was only just edged out of the first Brit slot by Adam Cotton and Bruce Raeside down the finishing straight. Interestingly a packed race ended with only 12 finishers. Steve’s time leaves him UK ranked 11 (one hundredth of a second outside the top 10). Well done Steve – I am sure the race between him, David Bishop and Richard Peters to take the club 1,500 metre record will intensify over the coming weeks.

Newcomer Charlie Maclean got the evening off to a great start with some positive running in the 3,000 metres steeplechase. Always in the chasing group Charlie ran consistently to break 9 minutes for the first time and 8.56.39 found him in sixth place in the Men’s ‘A’ race and UK ninth on Power of 10. This was a massive PB and reflects the hard work Charlie has been putting in since he teamed up with Tom Watson as his adviser.

The club had 3 runners in the Women’s 5,000 metres with the Nick Rose coached duo of Rebekah Randell and Ellie Wimshurst joined by Imogen Ainsworth (coach Keith Brackstone). This was another race where the no shows were numerous but there were still 18 athletes in the race. Rebekah was first home for the club in 16:39.48 followed by Imo – thirteenth in 16:49.07 – and Ellie – sixteenth in 16:53.76. All three ran personal bests and are now ranked 24th, 30th and 33rd on the Power of 10 respectively. All three are real novices at this event on the track and I am sure that there is a lot more to come from each of them.

The final Bristol & West athlete to perform on the night was Debbie Niccol who was second in the Women’s ‘D’ 1,500 metre race in 4:34.82. This was just outside Debbie’s PB and was a good performance as Debbie is currently on a limited training regime as she tries to keep racing whilst nursing an injury. Moreover, Debbie made a real charge for the victory after the pace-maker pulled out and was only passed by the eventual winner with 150 metres to go.

Overall a great night for the club’s middle and long distance athletes and another demonstration of the value of BMC races helping athletes to produce PBs.