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Highlights of BMC Grand Prix inc. UK Challenge

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Hatti Dean (Radley Ladies) broke the UK women’s 3000m steeplechase record while Michael Rimmer and Jemma Simpson also turned in impressive performances at the first BMC Nike Grand Prix, incorporating the UK Challenge, at the Manchester Regional Athletics Arena on Saturday evening, 9 June.


Dean powered away from some good quality domestic opposition in the final kilometre to stop the clock at 9:43.11 and erase the record of 9:48.51 set by Lizzie Hall (Herts Phoenix) in last summer’s UKA Endurance Initiative race at the BMC Nike Watford Grand Prix.


She threatened the record when she virtually time-trialled her way to 9:51.23 at the Loughborough International on 20 May. But on a perfect evening for endurance running, she could not be denied again as she finished impressively ahead of Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers), second in 9:50.23, and Tina Brown (Coventry Godiva), third in 10:01.28.


Dean, who has gone from strength to strength since finishing 15th in the senior women’s 8km race at this winter’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kenya, will next attack the World Championships qualifying time of 9:44.00.


Simpson (Newquay and Par AC) and Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton) scored impressive victories that are likely to have been noted by the selectors of Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams for the upcoming European Cup matches.


Rimmer stormed home in the men’s 800m in 1:46.47, 0.22sec ahead of runner-up James McIlroy (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) and the fastest time by a UK athlete so far this year. Under 20 Andrew Osagie (Harrow AC) was third in 1:47.69, once again way under the European Juniors standard of 1:49.50.


Simpson, one of a record number of five UK women to run 800m in sub-2 minutes last summer, opted for the 1500m and won in 4:10.08, a lifetime best by 9.69 seconds that takes her to third in this summer’s Power of 10 rankings behind Helen Clitheroe and Abby Westley. The men's 1500m was won by Jermaine Mays (Kent AC) in 3:39.85, a PB by four seconds that suggests he is determined to retain at least one of the two UK Challenge titles he won last summer, at 1500m and 3000m steeplechase.


The women’s 800m was also outstanding, given that none of the sub-2 performers was in the field. Winner Charlotte Best (Crawley AC) clocked 2:01.66 to knock 1.45 seconds off her previous best. Runner-up Vicky Griffiths (Liverpool Harriers) lowered her lifetime best from 2:03.19 to 2:01.90 and teenager Emma Jackson (City of Stoke AC) was third in 2:01.95, massacring her previous best of 2:03.57 run at the Loughborough International on 20 May. And Alison Leonard (Blackburn Harriers) joined Jackson in going further under the European Junior Championships qualifying standard by lowering her best from 2:05.56 to 2:04.86.


The junior women’s 5000m trial was won by the European Junior defending champion Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC), in her first race since she finished her A-level exams, in 16:25.41 with Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District), who is young enough to contest the World Youth Championships, finishing strongly in 16:28.04.


For the full results from Manchester, please click here