Tony Whiteman evoked glimpses of his glory days, a 3:32.34 miler in his heyday in the late 90s, as he led home by example a field of years his junior in a fabulous 3:44.12 over the men’s 1500m at the McCain’s City Challange second and final leg, a world V40 best as a matter of fact.
Retired after failing to make Britain’s Olympic team for Athens 2004, the former Commonwealth bronze medallist has returned to racing over the last couple of years improving all along the way, in so much as he could start pondering whether to have a crack even at the UK Olympic Trials in summer.
In fact, his winning time at the Lee Valley was his fastest indoors in a long 12 years and could hint at a potential sub 3:40 clocking outdoors to enhance that prospect.
Second behind him came Ross Murray in 3:46.16, his fastest in two years in any environment, as he is hauling up a comeback trail having missed the entire track season last summer.
The two shifted stints at the head for the bulk of the race before Whiteman took off 400m out to pull away to a commanding win.
Samson Oni ironed out a few last details in his jumping over a winning 2.21m in the high jump before flying out to Istanbul for the World Indoor Championships as U23 Tremayne Gilling comfortably extended his winning streak lately in 6.74 secs, third time this winter, in the men’s dash.
In the men’s pole vault, U23 Nick Crutchley cleared a SB of 5.31m to upset favourite Luke Cutts, tied at 5.21m in second with Gregor McLean, to go sixth in the UK lists while fourth-placed Jax Thoirs revised once more the Scottish U20 record to 5.11m, bettering his recent previous figure by a cm.
The find of the meet was probably 22-year-old Michael Puplampu who broke ground to 16.04m in the men’s triple jump, a total PB by a full 40cm, and Nadia Williams got the better of Yasmine Regis on the women’s side, setting 13.44 and 13.09m respectively.
Annabelle Lewis sneaked inside new territory as she set a PB of 7.39 secs to blow off the opposition of Louise Bloor and Marilyn Nwawulor, 7.54 and 7.57 secs, in the women’s 60m where Ashley Helshby narrowly held off Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell over the sticks in a PB of 8.33 to a SB of 8.35 secs, with Serita Solomon third in close order in a PB of her own in 8.37 secs.
Elsewhere around the arena, Emma Perkins outjumped young Isobel Pooley once again in the high jump even on countback at 1.80m, precocious U20 Clovis Asong got the men’s 400m in 48.30 secs and Scott Rider put a SB of 18.43m to beat Ryan Spencer-Jones in the shot, with the latter taking his PB up to 18.10m.