29th April 2022
British Grand Prix of Race Walking Preview
The Brownlee Centre in Leeds is set to host the British Grand Prix of Race Walking on Saturday with athletes eyeing up times and qualification standards for this summer’s array of Major Championships.
The race, which incorporates the British 20km Championships, England 20km Championships, RWA Championships is also the trial event for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon. After being unable to take place due to the Global Pandemic in 2020 and 2021 the event makes a welcome return at the new venue based at the University of Leeds.
Favourite in the men’s race is Commonwealth Silver medallist, Tom Bosworth (Tonbridge AC: Andi Drake) who is returning to fitness after an operation at the start of the year. In the absence of the Tokyo Olympic 10th placer Callum Wilkinson who is recovering from surgery, Bosworth starts as the clear favourite and will look to regain the title he last won in 2018. Cameron Corbishley (Medway and Maidstone: Andi Drake) the 2022 British number one over 20km with his 88.12 set in Podebrady is likely to be his closest rival. He set a personal best over the distance last year of 82.50 at the European Team Championships.
A number of the leading athletes are also using the event to focus on the chasing qualifying times for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for the 10km walk. Guy Thomas (Tonbridge AC: Verity Snook) and Leeds based Chris Snook (Aldershot Fareham & District) will be chasing the Welsh and English standard of 41.30.
Bethan Davies (Cardiff AC: Andi Drake) notably set a new British Record over 35km in Dudince last weekend of 2.58.48. She will test her recovery from this performance by stepping down to 20km, a distance at which she is the second fastest ever British athlete with 91.53. She was a brilliant 18th over 20km in the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championship on Muscat in March in 1.42.45 in tough conditions and will no doubt be looking to regain the British 20km title she last won in 2018. Abigail Jennings (Aldershot Fareham & District: Verity Snook) will look to improve on her debut performance of 1.49.29 set at Kew Gardens last year.
Heather Lewis (Pembroke Harriers: Chris Jones) is the reigning British 20km Champion having set a PB of 94.02 in Podebrady earlier this month. She will however focus on 10km at this event trying to secure a place on the Welsh team for Birmingham. She has been inside the Welsh Standard of 46.00 on two occasions, clocking 45.53 on the road in Dublin in December and 45.59.45 on the track in Coventry last month.
In the Junior Men’s 10km British Championships and trials for the World Athletics Junior Championships, Christian Hopper (Cambridge Harriers: Noel Carmody) will look to improve on his personal best he set on the track in Coventry last month of 49.37.36. Christian’s sister Hannah Hopper (Cambridge Harriers: Noel Carmody) will start as favourite in the Junior Women’s 10km. She set a brilliant PB of 51.19 in Podebrady at the start of April
In the 5km event Gracie Griffiths (Pembrokeshire Harriers) lines up hoping to improve her PB set in Leeds on the track in February of 25.38.20.
All the action gets underway at 18.00 and the event is free for spectators.
For more details visit the event website at https://nationalendurancecentre.co.uk/grand-prix or follow @leedswalk on Twitter for live updates.