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St Mary's Classic Report

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5 June 2008



Several of the nation's leading distance runners took advantage of some warm and calm conditions to post some encouraging performances at St Mary's University College, London on Wednesday evening as the UK Athletics Endurance Performance Centre played host to the St Mary's Classic.


In a series of 800m, 1500m, steeplechase and 5000m paced races Olympic and World Junior qualifying standards were fully tested. Mo Farah (Newham & Essex), 5th in the 5000m at last year's IAAF World Championships and who trains out of St Mary's, stretched his legs over 1500m, by winning the men's invitational 1500m in 3:42.62 by easing away from India's Hamza Chatoli in the closing straight.


The women's invitational U20 3000m proved what rude health female endurance running is in the UK. Double European Junior Cross Country champion Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District) was making her first track appearance of the summer after injury afflicted the latter part of her winter season. But on this occasion, she had to give second best to club mate Emma Pallant who won in 9:07.28 to Twell's 9:13.00, both comfortably inside the World Juniors qualifying standard of 9:20.00.


Susan Scott (City of Glasgow) has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season over 1500m, but on this occasion stepped down to 800m, a distance in which she has twice finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games. She showed she still had plenty of zip as she led from gun to tape to win in 2:03.35.


In the women's invitation 1500m, Charlene Thomas (Wakefield Harriers & AC) ran away from the field to win in a new PB of 4:09.63. The Olympic A standard is 4:07.00. The event promises to be one of the most closely contested of the domestic season with several athletes including Scott, Twell and Commonwealth champion Lisa Dobriskey (Ashford AC) amongst those vying for Olympic places.


Probably the race of the night was the men's 3000m. And with a place in GB & NI’s European Cup team the likely prize, it could not have been more keenly contested. British trio Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers), Adam Bowden (Harrow AC) and Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Indian international guest Surendra Singh enjoyed a race long battle.


In the closing straight Singh just had the sharper finish and held on to win in 7:50.31 from McCormick in 7:51.17, Bowden in 7:51.33 and Thompson in 7:51.71.