Tag Archive: Paula Radcliffe

There have been mixed feelings on the road for the British girls as Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue battled it out for the top honours in the streets of Dublin to underline their promise whereas Paula Radcliffe suffered a serious blow to her hopes of eventually claiming that elusive Olympic medal in London as she faltered well off her target in Vienna.

On the track, Martyn Rooney opened his account to winning ways in style in Los Angeles and Abi Oyepitan evoked robust glimpses of the form that paved the way to the 200m final in Athens, with young Sophie Papps illustrating a glittering future in the women’s sprints at the Lee Valley.

OMV Half Marathon, Vienna

The much hyped “Emperor vs the Queen” virtual handicap race against great Haile Gebrselassie never really waltzed round the streets of the city of Johan Strauss as Radcliffe faded away over the back end of the half marathon course despite an encouraging start.

On a specially arranged format, the Briton was afforded a headstart of 7:52 on the differential between the lifetime bests of the two legends of distance running and showed purpose in the early stages to move past the opening 5k on schedule in 16:13.

But it turned all uphill from there on as the effects of a recent bout of bronchitis and pleurisy caught up with her and her strength started to waver in a test of mentality rather than an intended gauge of form and sharpener that reared up.

In due consideration, that was a race the world marathon record holder should have never run but she may have fallen for that false feeling of full recovery so many times when strength hasn’t actually settled back in yet, meddled with the anxiety of slipping behind her Olympic agenda.

By stark contrast, the ’emperor’ showed rejuvenated again, as if holding a charm of making, so much so that he soon released his rabbits of their duties to follow his own preferred tempo and breezed past Radcliffe slightly after the 15km mark, extending a shout of encouragement to his credit, on the way to wrapping up both contests in a time of 60.52.

Topping the women in a final time of 72:03, the slowest she has ever returned over the distance, will hardly offer any consolation for the Brit who, as Steve Cram wisely points out, will have to pick her way and races up to London very carefully henceforth, without any margin for mistakes.

SPAR Great Ireland Run, Dublin

The spell of the Olympics in London looks to work wonders on almost every department of home athletics and the spectacle of season revelation Gemma Steel and returning-to-action Charlotte Purdue pulling away from the field into a commanding British one-two in the women’s 10km race stirred life into hope of a revival over a distance that has been deep in the shades in recent years on the track.

Steel worked up a decisive four second gap on her domestic rival over the final kilometre of the course to collect the spoils in a huge best of  32:06, moving ninth in the UK all-time lists, and built on a sound run on all surfaces since autumn but Purdue won’t feel hard done by either with runner-up in a big new lifetime mark of 32:10 to slot into eleventh fastest ever herself.

Even more so when the young AFD runner came into the race still feeling a swift 15:29 long leg at the National Women’s 6-stager at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the previous day in her legs to show that form is falling in nicely down the way. Both times, without a doubt, indicate that the two Brits could pull the A standard of 31:45.00 on the track in the following several weeks and a place on the British team to London, an exciting prospect.

On the other hand, Helen Clitheroe endured a bad day at the office on her comeback from a training spell in Portugal as she looked rather uncomfortable midway through and trailed a long way behind the main action in fourth in 33:02 (SB), with Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay splitting the Brits in third in 32:27.

The men’s race could not bear the term contest by any means as great Kenenisa Bekele stormed to the front with the gun to force a searing pace, confident and flowing round the route, that saw him walk away with victory in a swift 27:49, a huge course record, as none survived on his tail even by the halfway mark.

A gap of almost a minute up on his nearest rival, as well as a few fleeting smiles looking round on the way, told the tale of a man back in serious business and feeling pleased with his form and fitness even though there was hardly a field to really test him over the distance. But time and races will tell whether he is back to his best once he swings onto the track next month with his showdown against Mo Farah over 5000m in Eugene looming large on the horizon.

Spaniard Ayam Lamdassam hung on to runner-up in 28:48 a mere second ahead of Italian Daniele Meucci, fourth and third behind Farah over 10000m in Barcelona, as they trailed a long way behind while Nick McCormick enjoyed another encouraging run to end up fifth in 29:04 and will take plenty of heart from a scalp like former European 5000m champion Jesus Espana.


‘Make it count’ is the new motto of NIKE that has been taken up by the vast majority of top British athletes around and this new commercial out features world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, maybe the one with a  cause like none else to make 2012 count as it is her very last chance to capture that elusive Olympic medal in every sense.

Paula Radcliffe has struck the right note to her early call-up to the British Olympic team for London as she romped to a walkover of a 10km in the Cursa de Natale round the streets of Monaco in a huge SB of 32:06.

The outing was actually a very late call on her return from a lengthy altitude training spell at Iten in Kenya along with the likes of Helen Clitheroe and the marathon world record holder was eager to gauge the benefits of her stint with immediate effect on the hilly course, which lends even more credit to her time.

After the race, she sounded quite pleased with her run, saying “The weather there (Kenya) has been unseasonably wet which turned most of roads and trails into mud but training has gone really well. Although I wasn’t feeling very sharp the three climbs on the Monaco course felt really easy because of Kenya.”

By the way, only Iten-roumate and friend Clitheroe has run faster among Britons over the distance on the road this year when she set 31:45 in winning the Great BUPA Manchester Run in mid May.

Elsewhere around Britain…

European silver medallist Mike Rimmer made his second low-key appearance over any distance or surface since early eliminated in the heats of the 800m in Daegu, which summed up a very frustrating track season, to tackle a well-beyond-his-range 10-miler in Stockport, coming home seventh in a debut 55:47.

The 25-year-old said last month that he might require surgery to sort out a mysterious injury that ruined his summer campaign but the very welcome sight of him racing againg could make for an encouraging sign that he is drawing back on track.

Forme miler Matt Barnes was first across the line in also a debut time of 50:55 while Anthony Ford was third in 51:47.



At the Loughborough Students AC Open, U23 decathlete David Guest initiated his indoor competitive trail by way of a three-discipline workout of promising early marks. He completed a brace of 60m hurdles in 8.38 and 8.32 secs, just four hundredths off his best ever, long jumped to 7.18m – his longest in any environment this year – and put the shot at 11.56m.

The Welshman, coached by his father Mike, totalled a classy 7727pts as an U20 with the senior implements last year, top marker in the world, but he was seriously hampered by injuries last summer to miss both the European U23 Championships and, potentially, even the World Championships in Daegu.

Over at the SEAA Inter-Counties on the country at Croydon, teenage sensation Jessica Judd won comfortably from Grace Baker in the U17 women’s race by a sound 27 secs in 18:20 to 18:47 respectively.


Mick Woods’s new charge Jess Coulson, who set a UK U23 best over 10 miles in early autumn, rebounded well from a lacklustre showing at the European XC Trials in Liverpool to get third in 16:06 over 5km in Sion, Switzerland, on Saturday.

The duo of Caroline Chepkwony and Jane Muia made a Kenyan one-two at  the top of the race in 15:51 and 15:57 respectively.



There have hardly been any surprises in the first wave of selections for the marathon announced by the British Olympic Assossiation earlier today as Paula Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi and Scott Overall booked their places on the starting line of London in summer.

Scott Overall

World record holder Radcliffe, actually, was always a certainty fully acknowledged and respected within all quarters since her staggering comeback to form in clocking 2h23:46 for third in the streets of Berlin last September and even Charles van Commennee moved to confirm her place well in advance, apparently attempting to brush aside any lingering worries or anxiety playing on her mind at the time.

At her best, she can be a genuine gold medal contender and UK Athletics’s head coach wants to make sure she enjoys the best possible build-up to London, representing her last chance to gain hold of the only accolade missing from her pedigree.

From there on, there were two main options left open and the Dutchman eventually leant towards the safer trail of naming a second runner early so that he has two individuals fully focussed on their preparations and unconcerned about contesting another race over the distance up to the Olympics, thus coming up with Yamauchi.

The Japanese-based athlete edged ahead of the pack in contention for selection behind Radcliffe late courtesy of her 2h27:54 for third in Yokohama and her very good championship record, as well as her superior PB of 2h23:12, counted a good deal in her favour.

The third place goes now down to a virtual run-off in the London marathon in April where Jo Pavey stands out as favourite to round out the Olympic trio while Claire Hallissey and Louise Damen look like her most dangerous rivals and may have a say in this.

On the men’s side, things were far simpler and Scott Overall had very much nailed his berth as early as he crossed the line in an astounding debut 2h10:55 for firth in Berlin in September, off a very unconvincing season at that. But that is where the very beauty of athletics really lies as the seemingly impossible can always be possible!

What is going to be intriguing, though, is whether he decides to head straight for the Olympics or take in another outing over the distance to gain more experience on the way.

Selectors could have gone for Dave Webb, who holds an equivalent A Olympic standard as he finished in the top 20 in Daegu, but having not run inside 2h15 so far may have counted against his early selection. However, he has got a good case in his hands and could tackle a late winter marathon to enhance his own prospects, placing pressure on the rest who will most likely opt for a make-or-break venture in London in April.




Damen relieved to still have chance of gaining an Olympic berth


Yamauchi feels privileged to have been selected


The women’s marathon in Yokohama (Japan) last Sunday effectively wrapped up the first ’round’ of the contest between female hopefuls for places on the British team in the event, save some remarkable last-gasp turn, so the time has come for UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenne to take stock and make up his mind on the line to follow in view of the first meeting of the selection panel concerned on Monday 5 December.

The Dutchman may have stirred plenty of controversy over certain issues over the last months, in particular a considerable part of the funding lists make-up, but when it comes to selection matters he is meticulous to a T and leaves no stone unturned.

Great Paula Radcliffe is certain to fill a place in the first issue of selections following an astounding bounce back to form out of the shadows coming third in 2h23:46 in Berlin and few could argue with that. She is sheer class, vastly experienced and a fiercesome competitor like no other and everyone knows what she could be capable of provided she can maintain a steady injury-free course to London. Further, she commands the greatest respect and forms an inspiration to all the other distance female runners in the land.

Van Commennee senses that the world record holder over the distance can extend the range of British gold medal prospects into six in London so he is going to give her the chance to prepare as she thinks best and totally undistracted in the pursuit of the elusive title in her illustrious career.

However, the main dilemma lies right below Radcliffe downwards through the ranks. Should he name a second runner on the team from early on in a similar light or leave two places up for grabs in a virtual run-off in the London marathon in April? This is a matter that requires plenty of thought and vision.

As fair and more straightforward as the latter option may look, it presents a certain tricky situation. London marathon falls a little too close to the Olympics and while van Commennee would get his two other runners fair and square that could compromise the chances of a good overall showing in the Olympics considerably. Simply, the next peak in their performance graph may not tie in with and overtake the London Olympics – for that matter, there would be an apparent danger of athletes arriving tired or spent there if they sped up their build-up.

That is a variable that might as well entice towards the former, maybe safer, option; having two individuals building up fully focussed on London, unconcerned about selection issues or tackling another race over the distance, with a vacancy for the taking between the rest in April.

In which case, the name of Mara Yamauchi could come forth first on the back of a solid showing that earned her third place in 2h27:24 in the streets of Yokohama in difficult warm conditions, pulling away a full minute into runner-up in the British rankings this season. The Japanese-based athlete is a monster of consistency and boasts a very good record on the big stage, sixth in Beijing and ninth in Osaka, that could stand her in good stead for an early selection. On top of that, her 2h23 form in the relatively recent past is not beyond her.

That said, the latest global trend in the women’s marathon shows that the top tier is ever more overrun by runners of a sound speed background over shorter distances, either on the track or the road, which might point to a little gamble on Jo Pavey, a 14:39.96 performer over 5000m among others in the past. The 38-year-old is a new girl-on-the-block but looks to have been settling already into her stride and has clocked a brace of 2h28 runs in as many outings so far (PB 2h28:24). The potential is there and she could knock a few more minutes off with a few more months of training behind her.

On the other hand, van Commennee should not haste into assigning all three places early so that he doesn’t miss out on any potential breakthrough from behind. Claire Hallissey came to slash nearly seven minutes off her PB to a new mark of 2h29:27 in Chicago to emerge as a contenter out of virtually nowhere, she is on a momentum and will fancy her chances of pulling off a late upset.

Louise Damen finds herself in an intricate position following her non-finish in Yokohama. She ran only around 10km there meaning that she could be physically on call to race again even within a couple of weeks, which in turn comes within the frame of 5 December. So might she gamble on such a venture? At any rate, she has got a marathon in hand on the others and has got to choose sensibly where to play her card.

From there on, Beijing Olympian Liz Yelling has still got lots of ground to make if her 2h34:58 in Frankfurt is anything to go by, while Alyson Dixon is an interesting character and could improve a good deal on her PB of 2h34:50 in warm and windy conditions in Brighton last April. Susan Partridge completes the list of Olympic qualifiers down to a PB of 2h34:13 in London.

Paula Radcliffe‘s ‘History Stands’ campaign eventually turned out not in vain. IAAF have earlier today decided to backtrack on their initial decision last September to relegate her ultimate marathon mark of 2h15:25, set in London back in 2003, to only a ‘world best’ as performed in mixed conditions and are going instead to retain it as the official world record over the distance.

As a matter of fact, that comes as part of a considerable amendment to their original latest legislation concerning women’s road racing records, aimed to appease large reactions around the globe, that still recognizes current marks regardless of set in mixed or all-female race conditions.

Still, the new rules will apply in full for female performances on the road from the new season on so it follows that only times posted in all-women competitions will be acknowledged and ratified in the future.

So more joy and a further feel-good factor boost for the former world champion who has not only turned the corner in terms of form and fortunes but have also kept her record intact. Here it is again, one of the greatest ever performances witnessed in athletics history:

Moses Mosop and Liliya Shobukova storm to the win in the Chicago marathon

Disneyland may lie a long way away from Illinois but Claire Hallissey found her own way to wonderland in Chicago as she rode the trend set by a rampant Liliya Shobukova (RUS) up front into a massive PB of 2h29:27, snatching a most unlikely A Olympic qualifier in the marathon and a share in the ‘Big Dream’ of London.

Indeed, hardly even herself would have envisaged such an ending at the far end of the course when she toed the starting-line, with a PB of 2h36:13 from her debut in New York last year; a shot at an Olympic B standard (2h35:00) would make a more realistic target to set her sights on. But like so many times what it takes is for things to click at the right time and take your chances when they come your way. And she did take them so well!

Weighing her pace nicely in ninth midway through, she worked her way through the field and the ‘lower’ (B) qualification region to an eventual sixth, a place higher than her pre-race ranking on paper, and straight up to number three in the UK lists this season. Even more importantly, comfortably inside that A standard of 2h31:00 and right into the shake-up to open the battle for places on the British team to London wider.

In all fairness, she will probably need to run a considerably faster time to make one of the three available spots in the event. Paula Radcliffe should be held a certainty to be named on the respective panel’s first meeting on 5 December following an astonishing recovery of form and a third place in Berlin in 2h23:46, while Jo Pavey could cement her own current second position in New York next month after a debut of 2h28:24 in London last April.

Further, Beijing sixth-placer Mara Yamauchi marked a sound return to action in a winning 32:19 over 10km in Berlin on the same day, setting up nicely for a strong marathon in Yokohama later on, and there is also Louise Damen (2h30:00) involved and returning Olympian Liz Yelling who ran a 72:14 over the half marathon in windy conditions at Peterborough. So Olympic berths won’t be easy to come by.

Nevertheless, selectors ought to leave at least a place open until their second and final meeting on 23 April and as long as Hallissey lies in the mix she can hope. After all, many things can happen and nothing can be ruled out. But at the moment she can allow herself to indulge in the magic of the moment, breathe the air of Olympic A territory and dare to dream.

Back in the race, Shobukova turned even more than equal to her billing as she poured on a relentless pace out in front to surge away to an overwhelming victory in a smashing national record of 2h18:20, moving second fastest woman ever behind Radcliffe, turning the race into a virtual time trial and over as a contest by the third quarter of the distance. But, if anything, she served up a clear warning of her menacing intentions and might have tipped the favourite tag slightly in her favour ahead of the Olympics in summer.

That was, incidentally, her fourth PB in as many marathons over the last two seasons to shape an impressive statistic; starting with a 2h22:00 clocking in London to move on through Chicago, again, in 2h20:25 last year and back to the English capital in 2h20:15 last spring before setting her latest milestone for an awesome streak. So it is going to be intriguing to see whether she can keep the trend going.

Of course, things are far from settled yet as to who is going to be in pole position heading into the Olympics season and everybody will be looking for Mary Keitany‘s response in the Big Apple next month, having showed herself in sizzling form on the road recently. The Kenyan has also got a slight psychological edge as she beat the Russian in London, a further point to her advantage.

Funnily enough, Shobukova isn’t enjoying the best of relationships with London having suffered her only two defeats out of six outings in the marathon there, a stark contrast with Radcliffe who is unbeaten on this ground and will be hoping to turn home advantage to good effect come the Olympics. World champion Edna Kiplagat, currently sidelined with a knee injury, is also a force to be reckoned with.

Ejegayehu Dibaba (ETH) marked a striking debut of 2h22:09 for runner-up a long way behind and will fancy her own chances in London, especially if she takes a minute or two off that time by next summer, and Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi was third in a PB of 2h24:38. The Ethiopian’s time, by the way, offered the third fastest initiation over the distance in history.

Patrick Makau conquers top of the world in an awesome world record of 2h03:38 in Berlin

You can never dismiss Paula Radcliffe, can you? She has made several miraculous comebacks against the odds through her outstanding career but maybe this one could go down as the hardest and most daring to date, shaking off a dismal display in the streets of London in late May and a last couple of seasons deep in the shadows to firmly restore her game back into the thick of affairs. That demands some courage, grit and class to pull off and she showed them all!

Much to virtually everyone’s surprise, she even dared challenge stride for stride a flowing debutant Florence Kiplagat (KEN), as if driven by her predator competitive instict rather than the particular dictates of the race, over the first 12km at a pace around low 2h20 which could have spelled suicide to her hopes – even herself admitted pre-race that this was very much of a journey in the dark. But her gamble paid off to drive her out into the light.

Florence Kiplagat runs away with victory in the ninth fastest time ever as Paula Radcliffe secures that much needed Olympic qualifying A standard some way behind

The Kenyan did finally break away to move through the gears into an overwhelming victory in 2h19:44, second fastest this term and ninth all-time over the distance, but the Brit held her ground in resilient fashion all along even though her pace was slightly dropping off. In the end, she had to give way only to fast-finishing Irina Mikitenko (GER), runner-up in a SB of 2h22:18, in the late stages but gritted her teeth to a classy 2h23:46 to nail that much needed A qualifying standard and revive her Olympic dream and challenge.

For she may have lost convincingly on the day but her rivals must have paid heed to her remarkable recovery of form as they know that 10 months is a sufficient enough spell for her to get back on the very top of her game, entertaining them all on her home ground in London in the battle for the Olympic crown next summer.

23-year-old Ethiopian Atsede Habdamu could very well claim the title of the most consistent performer of the year as she crept a second inside her PB in 2h24:25, occupying the 4th slot again as in Dubai in January.

For good measure, Radcliffe’s time was her fastest since her 2h23:09 in the Big Apple in 2007 and the best by a Brit since Mara Yamauchi’s 2h:23.12 in 2009. Among the other British girls coming home a long way behind, Amy Whitehead knocked off nearly four minutes to a new best of 2h35:39 in 14th place and Becky Penty removed close to six minutes from her own to a new figure of 2h36:19 for 17th.

The limelight, though, was dominated by that amazing runner Patrick Makau and he merited every ouche of it as he stormed to a new world record of 2h03:38, slashing a sound 21 secs off the previous landmark. Despite the imperious figure of the Emperor Haile Gebrselassie in the field, the very owner up to the race, the Kenyan was apparently struggling to rein in his pace and was itching to go as the leading pack breezed midway through in 61:44, and when he went around the 26th km he really let it rip and wasn’t to be caught.

Like Radcliffe, ‘Gebre’ was riding pretty much on a flatline matching the Kenyan’s every stride; but unlike the Briton, he didn’t take his foot off the gas the slightest and when he tried to contain Makau’s break he turned over swiftly a kilometre later. He had to momentarily drop out with breathing problems only to rush back in to the chase of the Kenyan a minute or so later, but was eventually forced to throw in the towel around the 35th to a bitter ending to his quest for an Olympic qualifier.

In the wake of a rampant Makau, pacemaker Stephen Chemlany felt inspired to hang on to second in 2h07:55, a smashing PB, and Edwin Kimaiyo made it a clean sweep for the Kenyan contingent in 2h09:50, also a big PB.

Not far off behind them reeled out the other, even more astonishing, successful British story of the event that even the finest of scriptwriters would have struggled to come up with. Scott Overall, wavering between distances for seasons, on his debut and on a bumpy ride in the run-up, got off to a sizzling pace around 2h09 that might have set some alarms going early but, to everyone’s astonishment, kept feeling and going strong on and on to pull off the unthinkable eventually. He did not only finish a smashing fifth and top non-African… Overall, but also came to clinch a massive Olympic A qualifier of 2h10:55 which very much equates to half a berth on the British Olympic team.

Of course, there is a long way ahead and many can happen but one thing the Blackheath runner hasn’t got to worry about is necessarily racing over the distance again or chasing a time up to the Olympics, which is a considerable edge over his compatriots in the race for spots in London. By the way, his debut time constitutes the fastest clocking by a Briton since Thomas Abyu‘s 2h10:37 in 2007 in Dublin.

Former steeplechaser Ben Whitby came 11th in 2h16:27 (SB) and Tony Ford was 18th in 2h17:16 (SB) among other Britons behind.


Men 1.Patrick Makau (KEN) 2h03:38 (WR, AR, PB), 2.Stephen Chemlany (KEN) 2h07:55 (PB), 3.Edwin Kimaiyo (KEN) 2h09:50 (PB), 4.Felix Limo (KEN) 2h10:38 (SB), 5.Scott Overall (GBR) 2h10:55 (PB), …, 11.Ben Whitby (GBR) 2h16:27 (SB), 17.Anthony Ford (GBR) 2h17:16 (SB), 21.Andi Jones (GBR) 2h18:34 (SB)

Women 1.Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2h19:44 (PB), 2.Irina Mikitenko (GER) 2h22:18 (SB), 3.Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 2h23:46 (SB), 4.Atsede Habdamu (ETH) 2h24:25 (PB), 5.Tatyana Petrova (RUS) 2h25:01 (PB), …, 14.Amy Whitehead (GBR) 2h35:39 (PB), 17.Becky Penty (GBR) 2h36:19 (PB)



Post-race news

***Kenyan Olympic Selection Poser – Over 150 men and 50 women led by the likes of Patrick Makau and Mary Keitanyhave obtained the Olympic qualifying marks so far in Kenya giving selectors a nice ‘heavy’ headache in view of London.


***Patrick Makau’s new marathon world record reignites the question of how fast man can go


***Haile Gebrselassie turns his sights on Dubai


After a long summer of relentless pulsating action of athletics, we’re going to need to get used to some more ‘spare’ menus over the following few months as far as the new indoor season gets underway in January. Not that this is necessarily bad as everyone around could use a little break, turn our attention on other things and come back with a sharpened up appetite for more after New Year. As of this weekend, it is going to be mainly road, and later cross-country, events that are going to entertain us in the meantime and there are a few big affairs lined up over the next couple of days like the 5th Avenue Mile in New York and the Berlin Marathon, featuring Paula Radcliffe on her return to top notch racing as she attemps to revive her Olympic dream, tomorrow. So let’s catch up with the action as it shapes up around:

5th Avenue Mile, New York, USA, September 24

Great Bernard Lagat (USA) wrapped up a fabulous season of the highest quality in style as he convincingly knocked last year’s winner Amine Laalou (MAR) off  his  prestigious seat by well over a second in a time of 3:50.5 to 3:51.7, the fastest winning time on the course since Aussie Craig Mottram‘s 3:49.9 in 2005. For that matter, Kiwi Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis also set 3:50.5 winning the 2008 edition of the race.

Third was a surprisingly strong David Torrence (USA) in a fast 3:52.4 to hold off astounding compatriot Jeff See who ended up just outside the top three in an excellent 3:52.9. By contrast, noted Kenyan Boaz Lalang sank way down the field in 14th place slightly inside 4 mins (3:59.1).


1.Bernard Lagat (USA) 3:50.5, 2.Amin Laalou (MAR) 3:51.7, 3.David Torrence (USA) 3:52.4, 4.Jeff See (USA) 3:52.9, 5.Craig Miller (USA) 3:54.4, 6.Jon Rankin (USA) 3:54.7, 7.Gareth Heath (USA) 3:55.3, 8.Jeff Riseley (AUS) 3:56.6, 9.Haron Lagat (KEN) 3:57.0, 10.Anthony Famiglietti (USA) 3:57.1, …, 14.Boaz Lalang (KEN) 3:59.1, 17.Nick Symmonds (USA) 4:04.9

Bernard Lagat lays down his law in the men’s mile

World 1500m champion Jenny Simpson, a former steeplechaser, topped off a nearly surreal campaign to winning ways in the women’s version in 4:22.3 as she edged out Sally Kipyego (KEN) and Hannah England, who finished tied for second and third in 4:22.6, although the anticipated challenge of Diamond League winner Morgan Uceny surprisingly never really took shape, coming a distant sixth in 4:26.2 . The winner’s time was the fastest since Lisa Dobriskey‘s 4:18.6 shortly after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 come to that.

England, for her part, must be feeling pleased to wrap up a wonder season on a high with yet another high-profile top three placing to bolster up her foothold in the top tier of the middle distances on the global stage. As a matter of fact, what a trio of milers could Britain field in London if England, Dobriskey, Steph Twell, who made a low-key return to racing this weekend, and Charlene Thomas are all healthy and on top of their game!

Shannon Rowbury, the winner of the previous two occasions, endured a modest display to trail home seventh in 4:27.0 where Daegu ‘chase finalist Barbara Parker enjoyed an encouraging run in 4:31.7 to round out the top ten.


1.Jenny Simpson (USA) 4:22.3, 2.Sally Kipyego (KEN) 4:22.6, 3.Hannah England (GBR) 4:22.6, 4.Ingvill Makestad Bovim (NOR) 4:24.6, 5.Susan Kuijken (HOL) 4:25.5, 6.Morgan Uceny (USA) 4:26.2, 7.Shannon Rowbury (USA) 4:27.0, 8.Sarah Hall (USA) 4:29.1, 9.Brenda Martinez (USA) 4:29.6, 10.Barbara Parker (GBR) 4:31.7, …, 14.Alysia Montano (USA) 4:34.0, 20.Maggie Vessey (USA) 4:44.5

Jenny Simpson tops off a fairytale season winning the women’s mile with Hannah England just pipped on the line for a still excellent third

Course map


IAAF Report



Luckwell hits Olympic A qualifier in the javelin

Merwyn Luckwell, the former rugby player that has turned a javelin thrower, picked up where he left off last weekend to launch his spear to a stunning PB of 83.52m and gain a sound foothold well inside the Olympic A qualifying territory, backed up with his second furthest throw ever of 82.92m in the process. That took place at a low-profile meet in Wales as the 26-year-old smashed his previous best of 81.05m dating back to early 2009 at the European Winter Long Throws Champs at Compiegne (France) and added almost three metres to his SB of 80.60m.

On top of that, Luckwell moves up two places into sixth in the British all-time lists with the new specification while his new lifetime mark is the best landed by a Briton since Nick Nieland, who has made a coy return to action himself this season, set 84.70m in Riga (Letonia) in 2006. Needless to say, he has as good as put one foot in the Olympic team as only James Campbell and maybe Lee Doran look capable of reaching the A standard next summer of the other javelin throwers around the country. Though that could well be subject to change.

Also noteworthy was Richard Shuttleworth‘s substantial PB of 72.52, improving from 71.61m last  weekend, to narrowly miss out on the domestic U20 rankings top held by Joe Dunderdale a mere 3cm higher. Both today performers train under Esa Utriainen.


International Race Walking Naumburg, Naumburg, Germany, September 24

Alex Wright, still 20, walked to a big SB and UK-leading mark of 1h26:42 over 20km to overtake groupmate Tom Bosworth, a SB of 1h27:18m, to the top of the domestic rankings this season, improving from 1h28:07 in Lugano (Switzerland) last March. Both athletes train under Andy Drake by the way.

Irishman Brendan Boyce secured the Olympic A qualifying standard as he clocked a solid 3h57:58 over the far longer tough 50km distance.

Start-lists & Results



Thompson back in good shape in the streets of London

Chris Thompson, the European 10000m silver medalist, showed that he is well back on track as he set a massive PB of 62:11 for third over the Run To The Beat half marathon held mainly round the streets of Lambeth and Greenwich in South London yesterday. According to a tweet by Jemma Simpson it was done in a so-called ‘tempo run’ which makes the display even more impressive, a nice confidence boost after missing Daegu despite a superb start to the season.

Two Kenyans, not anything unusual, finished ahead of him in Milton Kiplagat Rotich (61:19) and Edwin Kipyego (61:57) while their compatriot Alice Mogire impressed with a 69:51 clocking as first woman home.




SEAA Road Relays, Aldershot, 24-25 September

The event marked the low-key return of Steph Twell to action for the first time since suffering that freak injury over cross-country in Belgium last winter and the apparent good news is that she has come off in one piece and unscathed, which may have been presumably her main goal testing her leg over its response in racing conditions.

For that matter, Charlie Purdue showed a sharp return to form as she clocked easily the fastest leg of the day in 12:15, a three seconds faster than last year when she was flying on every surface at this stage.

Both athletes are coached by Mick Woods for good measure.

Fastest legs

1.Charlotte Purdue (U23) 12:15, 2.Emelia Gorecka 12:48, 3.Jess Peterson 12:48,…, 7.Emma Pallant (U23) 13:01, 8.Steph Twell (U23) 13:03


Heslop draws the eye in Swansea

Justina Heslop has remained firm on a trail into new territories as she edged the Swansea Bay 10km in a lifetime best of 32:40 ahead of Kenyan Edith Chelimo (32:48), an 71:21 half-marathon performer this term, to slash 31 secs off her previous marker. Incidentally, she recently set also a best of 73:12 over the half-marathon in the Czech Republic.

Gemma Steel was third in 33:47 and veteran now triathlete Andrea Whitcombe, who was fourth at the 1990 World U20 Championships over 3000m, fourth in 33:53.

On the men’s side, Phil Wicks was second in 29:43 to Kenyan Edwin Kipkorir, who clocked 29:29 some way ahead, with Ben Tickner third in 30:14 and U23 Welshman Dewi Griffiths fourth in 30:22.



As she is squaring up for one of the toughest tests of her career, Paula Radcliffe has tasted an unexpected disappointment at the news that her world record of 2h15:25 set in London in 2003 will be no longer standing as such according to the new move and criteria thereof of IAAF on road racing, which rules that only performances from all-female competitions will be acknowledged henceforth.

Paula Radcliffe sets an extraterrestrial 2h15:25 world record in London 2003 – how can one knock such a performance off the limelight?

While that makes sense with regard to track racing, how fair is it really on the part of the world’s athletics governing body to very much put everything into the same kettle without taking into account the individualities and background of women’s road racing? Further, what a mess is to be so unnecessarily and unfairly brought about globewide when a large amount of area and national marks will be taken down.

Let alone the sense of injustice towards greats like Joan Benoit, late Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen who are likely to figure only on their major championships performances in the revamped official lists under the new regulations. Is it really what they deserve for what they have put into the sport?

For the best part of history, organisers held women road races along with men’s so it wasn’t a case of option to obtain a faster time but rather a matter of contemporary event set-up and way of things. Women didn’t choose to run in mixed races as it can happen on the track and their times were perfectly recognized. And still many events are held in such conditions nowadays.

Now, a common feature that runs through very much every legislation worldwide is that every case is judged on the laws and regulations that were in place at the time it came about, not retrospectively. Which is what is fair. IAAF instead have shown no consideration in that aspect and again come to stretch their authority at the expense of the athletes, current and past. They keep enforcing rules without asking anyone directly interested which is becoming annoying, such as the new false-start rule in the sprints that blew up in their faces in Daegu.But again, they won’t come out to admit they have messed up.

Radcliffe is still going to remain the world record holder as her time of 2h17:42, set also in London in 2005, will stand as a new ultimate mark but it won’t be the same. It’s as though taking something special away from her athletic greatness when the powers that be intend to set that breathtaking feat aside so thoughtlessly, one of the beacons and best ever performances witnessed in athletics.

There should be stressed, however, that neither the World Major Marathons nor Association of International Marathons have endorsed the new changes calling the new rule ‘unfair’ and stating that they will keep acknowledging both types of performances, mixed and all-female, until the matter is discussed with IAAF.

BBC Report


Berlin Marathon – a race of no turning back

On the competitive end, Radcliffe is faced with one of the most demanding challenges of her career as she is racing for the first time over a marathon in nearly two years in the setting of a super fast course in Berlin on Sunday with two specific goals in her mind, which she needs to balance properly into the race so that she comes off with flying colours. First, she has got to land a qualifying time and get that out of the way so that she can build up to London without distractions of any kind, and second, she needs to put in a competitive showing to let her rivals know that she is still around and is not to be discounted by any means, which may prove the hardest part.

Her return to racing over nearly four months ago at the BUPA London 10km was a disheartening spectacle so a big question mark will hang around over her form until the race starts hitting high gears and the pressure mounts in the late stages. She is vastly experienced and her mentality has never been an issue but even she may not know how much ground she has made since late May. Therefore, she might need to be a bit more conservative in her approach and keep leaning slightly more towards a solid time rather than chasing hard a top three placing as far as the final fourth of the distance; and once there she could go for more if she’s got enough left in the tank. A time around, say. 2h25 would be a solid comeback and nothing could be ruled out as concerns her last Olympic challenge, especially with 10 months yet to spare on London given her class.