Apart from the UK Trials in Sheffield, there was plenty and very interesting British action beyond the shores of the Great Albion and mainly coming from over the Pond in the shape of Tiffany Porter, Andy Baddeley and Chris Thompson, who displayed that they are wintering well and firmly on track towards their goals. So let’s get a closer look at what happened last weekend.

Milrose Games, New York

Tiffany Porter maintained her sound run of form and even moved up a gear on the boards as she flowed to a European topping mark of 7.93 secs over the hurdles, slashing a hefty 0.07 secs off her own previous figure.

The European silver medallist, however, was narrowly denied victory once again by a mere 0.02 secs although touching down first off the final hurdle as rising American Kristi Castling turned fastest to the line, equalling the 10-year-old meeting record of Melissa Morrison in a marginal PB of 7.91 secs in the process.

It is the part of race that the Briton will need to polish up a touch leading up to Istanbul so that she can land that first high-profile victory when it really matters having executed smoothly through the mid stages of the race.

Porter narrowly misses out on the win to Kristi Castlin at the Armory

After a miserable last summer, Andy Baddeley has taken the bit between his teeth to mount a return to his very best and is putting together a fabulous string of consistent strong displays across distances. In fact, that was a performance of pure grit and commitment every step of the way on the turf of the Armory that was duly rewarded in the end.

He never slipped at any point, made the right moves at the right times and covered all spaces as best as he could and even came up with a last reserve of strength at the end to finish strongly, having been considerably stretched in the later stages.

Moreover, his final time of 13:22.44 was slightly outside the Olympic A standard, in an indoor environment at that, to offer all the indications and answers that he needed to make up his mind over a move up in distance – by the look of his run, a time in the 13:10 region has got to be a matter of time if not faster.

Lagat sears to a big US record over 5000m while Baddeley hangs on to an effective breakthrough run

For good measure, Baddeley surged up to fourth all-time in the British indoor lists behind Mo Farah‘s 13:10.60, Nick Rose‘s  13:21.27 and Geoff Smith‘s 13:22.17, the last two set in the very same race also in the ‘Big Apple’ way back in 1982.

The affair was played out to a searing pace up front specially tuned for living legend Bernard Lagat to challenge Gallen Rupp‘s US record over the distance and he turned equal to the task as he powered round the track to a superb 13:07.15, knocking over four seconds off in the process.

He did have to be alert, though, with swiftly rising training partner Lawi Lalang confidently on his heels for the best part and pulled away only in the late stages, the Kenyan drawn to a massive PB of 13:08.28 to announce his arrival in the high tiers of the event.

Stephen Sambu (KEN) was third in a total PB of 13:13.74 and compatriot Leonard Korir followed fourth in 13:19.54 (PB), sneaking ahead of young American Chris Derrick (13:19.58, PB).

Amazingly enough, almost simultaneously, Rupp responded by clocking a stunning a new national milestone of 8:09.72 over 2 miles in Fayetteville, Arizona, as the two traded records in remarkable fashion.

Matt Centrowitz convincignly clinches the men’s mile with Chris O’Hare back in sixth

Chris O’Hare came agonizingly shy of a new PB in the Wanamaker mile on his season debut as he finished sixth in 3:56.63, going still top of the UK lists, but was compensated with a PB of 3:40.62 through the 1500m mark. The U23 miler will take plenty of heart from such an opener to force his way into new territories down the season.

Daegu bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz kept a tight hold on the race, an astute tactician, and employed his fiercesome kick off the final curve to surge away to a convincing victory in a total PB of 3:53.92 from Miles Batty, second in 3:54.54 (PB).

The only Brit to have left the arena disappointed was Tyrone Edgar, struggling to rekindle his career, as he ended up fifth in the men’s dash in 6.73 secs and is still looking for a time in the 6.6 secs region. Trinidadian Keston Bledman came away with the laurels in 6.62 secs ahead of Sam Effah (6.69), with Travis Padgett trailing back in sixth in 6.76 secs.

Sanya Richards-Ross storms to a world-leading 50.89 secs in the 400m

Sanya Richards-Ross demonstrated that she is nearing her very best form in time to stake a sound claim on that elusive Olympic crown as she stormed round the track to a huge world-leader of 50.89 secs in the 400m, reclaiming the summit after a temporary hold under Bulgarian Vania Stambolova in 51.26 secs.

The former world champion burst to the front in trademark fashion ahead of Natasha Hasting after breaking from the lanes to gain a tight grip on the race and poured on the pace over the second lap to carve out nearly a full second gap on her rival, who set a SB of 51.85 secs to move fourth in the global charts.

World champion Jesse Williams dominated the men’s high jump over a SB of 2.32m as none else could keep up with him into those territories while Lashawn Merritt‘s much hyped charge on the world best over 500m never took place, clearly opting to secure the win and nothing more.

David Oliver reversed the tables, even marginally, on seasoned campaigner Terrence Trammell by the skin of his teeth in 7.51 to 7.52 secs in a thrilling cutthroat tussle over the hurdles as third-placed Aries Merritt dipped at an identical further hundredth behind.

Those were actually SBs for all three to occupy second, third and equal fourth spots in the global rankings of the event.

In the women’s middle distances, world champion Jenny Simpson started her season on a firm footing as she saw off a very competitive Shanor Rowbury in a Mary Decker-esque hard run from the front and kick at the end, setting 4:07.27 against 4:07.66, while Morgan Uceny came on top of the women’s 800m in 2:03.35, Maggie Vessey surprisingly languishing back in fifth position.

Results

http://www.armorytrack.com/Meet/50/The-Millrose-Games-at-The-Armory

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Husky Classic, Seattle

Chris Thompson afforded further evidence that he is wintering well as he edged out Kevin Chelimo (KEN) in a competitive 5000m on the oversize track of Dempsey to notch his first victory of the season in 13:29.94, an indoor best and a short-lived UK-header since Andy Baddeley followed up in a considerably faster 13:22.44 the next day at the Milrose Games.

This is the first time since 1982 that two or more Britons have run inside 13:30 in a single season indoors to indicate the recent rise of standards on the home scene again, without Mo Farah having raced over the distance so far.

For that matter, that comfortably bettered Thompson’s fastest time in any environment through the entire last year.

In the minor races, U23 Callum Hawkins raced to a total PB of 14:03.37 and within touching distance of the 14mins barrier with Matthew Bond a couple of spots behind in a massive PB of 14:05.80, first time under 15 mins ever a few months before turning his 30 – it’s just never too late for anything.

There was more good news coming from the distances the following day as Ross Millington and Mitch Goose turned in massive PBs of 7:49.11 and 7:51.75 over 3000m, second and fourth fastest in Britain this winter, and lay the groundwork for a serious attack on the Olympic A standard over the 5000m in the oudoor season.

The former, European U23 silver medallist last summer, improved from 7:54.08 last winter while the latter had set his previous best of 7:58.11 less than a fortnight before.

Ross Clarke broke through inside 8 minutes further behind in a big PB of 7:57.82 and along with the top three finishers at the UK Trials in Sheffield, namely Jonny Mellor (7:58.36, iPB), Stephen Davies (7:58.78, PB) and Mark Mitchell (7:59.00, PB) raised the number of Britons under that benchmark to already 10 this winter.

Results

http://www.gohuskies.com/livestats/c-track/021012/index.htm

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