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Highlights of UK Challenge meetings - updated

Jennifer Meadows: world-class
Jennifer Meadows: world-class

Members of the Osaka-bound Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team competed against and alongside home-based athletes aiming for places in the UK Challenge Final in the rain of Glasgow, encouraging conditions at Loughborough and the sun of Manchester on Saturday 11 August.


At the L*E*A*P meeting, Laura Turner (Harrow AC) turned in some world-class sprinting to send her confidence soaring before she flies out for Osaka.


She clocked 11.19 seconds in the 100m to move to fifth in the UK all-time rankings and later, in less favourable conditions, won the 200m in 23.39 seconds. She was chased home in the short sprint by European Under 23 silver medallist Montell Douglas (Blackheath and Bromley), who clocked 11.36 to prove she is over a recent illness, and Emily Freeman (Wakefield and District Harriers), who lowered her lifetime best to 11.36 seconds.


The men’s sprints were also high quality without attracting the normal quantity of competitors. Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC) followed his European Under 23s 200m bronze medal by winning the 100m in 10.28, six-hundredths of a second ahead of a season’s best by Tim Abeyie (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies). But Abeyie gained his revenge in the 200m, winning in 20.86 to Fifton’s 20.94.


The field highlight was provided by Mervyn Luckwell (Marshall Milton Keynes AC) in the javelin. He threw 75.68m to move to second in this summer’s Power of 10 rankings behind Nick Nieland (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers).


Of the Osaka-bound pole vaulters, Steve Lewis (Newham and Essex Beagles) cleared 5.45m and his training partner Kate Dennison (Sale Harriers Manchester) 4.25m. UK record holder Nick Buckfield (Crawley AC) cleared 5.25m.


A headwind faced the 100m hurdlers: Sarah Claxton (Belgrave Harriers) won in 13.09 seconds, a fifth of a second ahead of Gemma Bennett (Newham and Essex Beagles).


For the full results from this meeting, please go to the attachment at the foot of this report.


At the fourth BMC Nike Grand Prix and UK Athletics Endurance Initiative meeting of the summer at Trafford AC’s Longford Park home, the main drama took place just outside the track after Jennifer Meadows (Wigan and District Harriers) had won the women’s A 800m in 2:00.61, the seventh time this year she has beaten the B qualifying standard for Osaka.


As she walked away, she was approached by Becky Lyne (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield), who explained that an injury to her left calf – picked up after the Norwich Union London Grand Prix – would prevent her racing in tonight’s 1500m and added: “I will not be doing the Worlds.”


Meadows, who had resigned herself to being a member of the 4x400m squad in Osaka, said: “I don’t know what to think. This week has had so many ups and downs. I’m glad I got back on track tonight and did another world-class time.“


To underline the quality of the UK’s emerging crop of female endurance runners, Meadows was followed home in the 800m by European Under 23 silver medallist Lizi Brathwaite (Herts Phoenix) who lowered her PB to 2:01.78 only three nights after running her previous best of 2:02.64 at Watford.


The A 1500m race was won by the European Under 23 Champion Abby Westley (Loughborough Students) in 4:08.83, five metres clear of the pre-race favourite Lisa Corrigan (Australia) with European Junior Cross Country Champion and 1500m silver medallist Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District) a fine fourth in 4:11.18, European Under 23 5000m Champion Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) fifth in 4:14.45, World Students’ Cross Country silver medallist Kate Reed (Bristol and West) sixth in a PB of 4:15.32 and European Junior 800m silver medallist Emma Jackson (City of Stoke) seventh in 4:15.58. Twell’s time erased two BMC Junior Women’s records, her own BMC Members’ best of 4:12.76 which she ran last year and the BMC Open best of 4:11.67 by Georgie Clarke (Australia) in 2000.


Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC), gold and silver medallist over 5000m at the last two European Junior Championships, got in some speed work by winning the B 1500m by 10 metres in 4:21.08, her fastest time of the season.


The men’s highlight was the 2007 edition of the Emsley Carr Mile, watched by Derek Ibbotson, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of when he became the world mile record-holder. The leading seven of the 12 finishers broke the still-magical 4-minute ‘barrier’ – 1 Jon Rankin (USA) 3:54.24; 2 Moumin Geele (Newham and Essex Beagles) 3:57.82; 3 Lachlan Chisholm (Australia) 3:57.95; 4 Bernard Kiptum (Kenya) 3:58.32; 5 Chris Warburton (Notts) 3:58.44; 6 Matthew Barnes (Altrincham) 3:59.57; 7 Stephen Davies (Newport) 3:59.60.


Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) won the men’s 3000m A race in 8:08.38, some 85 metres clear of the opposition, and then underlined that he is well on the way back from his latest injury by winning the C 1500m two and a quarter hours later in 3:52.00.


For the full results from this meeting, please click here


At the Brodies Scottish Championships at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Christine Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Ladies) eased back to competitive action after her suspension for missing three-out-of-competition dope tests expired last week, by winning her 400m heat in 53.09 seconds.


Afterwards, she said: “I wasn’t so nervous because I’ve done this before in training, so when your coach comes up and says you’ve got an 11 o’clock run, you come in with enough time to warm-up, you have a ten minutes to set yourself up and then you go out and run. 


“And in a sense, it’s the same in a race, because you want to run as well as you can. In training, I had to make training my races, so everything had to be like it was in a race. So when I came in today I wasn’t so nervous. I just thought ‘I’ve done this before’. Training is the same, you know, it’s the same as running around a track, only without people there.”


Osaka steeplechase racer Andrew Lemoncello (Fife AC) eased to victory in the men’s 5000m in 14:16.47, the third time in a row he has won this particular title.  “I wasn’t too worried about three in a row,” he said. “I just wanted to get a decent run-out,” he said, just one day ahead of his departure to the Norwich Union Holding Camp in Macau. “When I get to Macau, I need to have a few sharpener sessions,” he added.


Looking further ahead to the championships, he said: “I want to go out there and do a PB. 8:21 should be enough to get to the final. But even if it’s a tactical race, that’s fine. My kick has been really strong this year.”


Elsewhere, UK champion Andy Frost (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies), who is in pole position to retain the men’s hammer title at the UK Challenge Final at Crystal Palace on 25 August, added the Scottish gold medal with a fifth round throw of 70.08m. And Eilidh Child (Pitreavie AAC), who heads the UK Challenge women’s 400m hurdles standings, was a comfortable winner in 58.08 seconds.


Ohuruogu continued her return to action on the second day of the championships by winning the women’s 200m.


She was put under some pressure though by Susan Deacon, who was making her last ever competitive appearance at a venue where she has accumulated seven Scottish titles over the years, including Saturday’s 100m, which she won in 11.96 (wind: -1.6m/s).


In the 200m final, it was the Edinburgh AC runner who bolted around the turn and led going into the straight, but Ohuruogu’s strength told and she pulled clear in the final 50m to win in 23.71 (wind: +2.4m/s), with Deacon 0.32secs adrift. Stacey Downie (Pitreavie AAC) picked up bronze with 24.09.


With her competitive appetite well and truly whetted, she was licking her lips at the prospect of taking part in the 400m final just 40 minutes after her victory at the shorter distance. But, wisely, after a call from coach Lloyd Cowan, she elected to forego the final and keep her powder dry for the challenges that lie ahead in Osaka.


Asked if she had enjoyed the weekend, she said: “This is what I train for. It’s all right training on your own, but if you can’t compete it makes it very hard. It was very hard to keep myself going, but you know, I’ll just see what happens at the World Champs. It should be interesting.”


Ohuruogu was an interested spectator as Carey Easton (Edinburgh AC) overcame difficult conditions to win the women’s 400m final in a creditable 53.70.


Other track highlights included Allan Scott (Whitemoss AC) easing to victory in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.82 seconds, Nicola Gauld (Edinburgh AC) defending the women’s 1500m title in 4:16.63, Ian Munro (Ron Hill Cambuslang) winning the men’s 800m in 1:51.78 and Claire Gibson (Kilbarchan AAC) taking the women’s 800m in 2:04.95.


In the field, there was a notable double from UK Challenge points leader Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) who won the men’s discus and shot in 59.52m and 17.76m and there was a fine performance from Gillian Cooke, who won the women’s long jump with a best of 6.30m.


Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) continued her brilliant mountain running form by winning the World Trophy Trial at Braithwaite on Sunday 12 August. Check out the full results on the attachment...