Three club athletes made the trip to Alexander Stadium for the BMC Grand Prix final on Saturday 20 August 2011.
First on the track was Steve Mitchell who had declared his intention of targetting a sub-3:40 clocking and after second in the English and fourth in the UK Championships he felt he had little to prove in terms of racing his fellow Brits but wanted the time to open doors for next season. With an opening of 58/1:56 promised Steve was as good as his word following the pace-maker through in 57.99 – the pace slowed on the second lap as Steve went through on the pacemaker’s heels in 1:57.99, it was always anticipated that Steve would have to push the third lap himself and this he duly did to take the field through 1,200 in 2:56.65 so a sub-3:40 was still definitely on but down the back straight Steve slowed finally jogging over the line in 3:46.62 in ninth place. An unsatisfactory end to an otherwise outstanding season.
Next up was Olivia Sadler who went off with the pace but slowed on the third lap before battling on bravely for a 4:33.59 clocking in eighth place. Her seasons best would have put her up with the winner Melissa Courtney who clocked 4:28 but coach Dave Taylor expressed himself satisfied and said they had been targetting a sub-4:36.
Last up was Charlie Maclean (and just as well as the notorious M5 holiday traffic meant his journey up from Taunton took over 4 hours). Always in the leading quartet Charlie also followed the pace and battled on well to be rewarded with a PB, breaking 3:50 for the first time, with a 3:49.69 clocking.
All three athletes have posted PBs this year and it will be interesting to see what another good winter will do when they start racing in 2012.
Footage of all the races at the BMC Grand Prix final meeting are available at www.athleticos.org.