Five Bristol Athletes in BMC Watford Grand Prix – Sunday 30th June 2013

Five Bristol & West Athletes competed in the Third British Milers Club Grand Prix meeting held at Watford’s Woodside Stadium on Sunday 30th June 2013. Those of us who left a gloomy Bristol were surprised to find brilliant sunshine at Watford with temperatures nudging 27 degrees.

First on the track from the club was Molly LONG running in the women’s 800 metre ‘A’ race. The under-17 athlete started really aggressively settling in close behind the pace-maker and although some of the more experienced athletes in the field passed her down the back straight on the second lap she hung on well in the final 100 metres to finish seventh in 2:06.70 just outside her PB of 2:06.30 from Sport City Manchester (a time which currently heads the UK under-17 rankings).

Charlotte GREEN was next on track for the club. It is hard to find 3,000 metre steeplechase races for ladies so Charlotte knew that this was a big ask for her debut at the event but was keen to get experience before hopefully running the Inter-Counties chase at the end of August. Like Molly, Charlotte started aggressively with a 79 second first lap but soon settled into a steadier pace. Charlotte worked hard throughout and was rewarded with a time of 11:23.32 which ranks her nineteenth in the UK: a position from which she will certainly advance.

In the men’s race Charlie MACLEAN settled in behind the leading group initially but was finding it challenging to get a clear run at the barriers until the field spread out. Thereafter he ran a solid race without really recapturing his form from 2012 which saw him run 8:54: Charlie finished in fifth place clocking 9:11.55.

In the 1,500 metres Steve MITCHELL settled towards the back of the field as Tony Wightman took the pack through a brisk first lap. Steve’s 59.52 opening lap followed by a 60.03 was enough to leave him in contention and when he picked the pace up slightly with a 58.83 third lap he hit the front. Off the final bend he dug in hard but was passed by winner Tom Marshall, Luke Caldwell, Chris Gowell and Jonny Mellor to finish fifth. Now up to nineteenth in the UK rankings (and third Bristol & West athlete behind Dave Bishop and Richard Peters) Steve will surely move on from here and plans to race the UK Championships after running an 800/1,500 double for the club in the British League match at Kingston- upon-Thames.

Dan STUDLEY was in the ‘B’ 1,500 metres and started well enough with a 59.3 opening lap but as early as the second lap it was clear that he was having a bad day at the office before coming home in 3:57.70.

The next British Milers Club Grand Prix meeting will be at Oxford on Saturday 20th July 2013 when I expect to see more club members looking for fast times in middle distance events, with a few probably having a go at the mile.