Monday, 13 February 2012

OCWK & FSWK Athletes Compete Well at the UK Indoor Champs


Aviva Indoor World Trials and UK Championships – EIS, Sheffield, February 11th and 12th

Almost two dozen ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ athletes competed in the UK indoor championships in Sheffield’s EIS indoor arena this weekend, with several capturing impressive national titles and medals ahead of the World indoor Championships in Turkey next month, writes Nicola Bamford.

World 1,500m silver-medallist Hannah England warmed up for the Aviva International in Birmingham next week with a strong showing of over-distance work to capture the 3,000m crown on Sunday in a gutsy front-running display of strength.

The 24-year-old from Oxford clocked a swift 9:06.04 to take her first national indoor crown from Bedford’s Katrina Wooton (9:06.99) and Stockport’s Elle Baker (9:09.43).

Guided by Bud Baldaro in Birmingham, England’s latest competitive outing follows a second-place finish at the Aviva International in Glasgow a fortnight ago, where she registered 4:25.11 in her specialist distance and bodes well for her facing a tough international field over the metric mile in six days’ time.

The 2009 1,500m silver-medallist at this event, England revealed afterwards:

“I’ve had a good run over 1500m this season and have another to look forward to so I wanted to try something different.

“Winning my first national indoor title was a big target of mine today - maybe I made it tougher for myself by running the 3,000m but it was fun.”

Explaining that she would bypass the forthcoming global Championships in Istanbul in order to focus on the Olympic Games in London this summer, England continued:

“It just shows me that my strength training is where it needs to be - I felt that I could have run faster if I needed to as the first few laps were quite tactical but it was good.”

Meanwhile, finishing in seventh position, Gateshead’s Stacey Smith clocked a personal best of 9:15.98.

The 22-year-old winner of the 1,500m title last year was competing in her first race of 2012 and took two seconds off her two-year-old best.

In the women’s 800m final later the same day, Woodford Green with Essex Ladies’ Tara Bird reeled in a huge gap to her training partner Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers) in the final 300m to finish a close second with a 2:05.00 season’s best.

The 24-year-old – who finished second in heat one with 2:06.36 the previous day - followed Okoro’s 2:04.01 explained afterwards:

“I’m very pleased as I was third last year so I’m very happy.

“Marilyn always goes off hard so I’m glad I managed to run strongly and almost reel her in and I’ll be pacing in Birmingham next week so hopefully I’ll be able to help her get the time for the World’s.”

Crawley’s Charlotte Best, 26, placed third in a 2:05.25 lifetime best after finishing second in her heat the day before in 2:06.91, despite competing in the event indoors for the first time since the 2007 season when she set her current best of 2:05.32.

In fifth, Radley Harriers’ 23-year-old Carolyn Plateau was close to her personal best with a 2:07.59 clocking after placing third in her heat.

Of those unfortunate to miss out on places in the final were European junior outdoor silver-medallist Rowena Cole (2:09.10 for fifth in heat one), Southern champion
Adelle Tracey with a personal best of 2:11.43 for fifth in heat two and 17-year-old Maddy Austin, who placed seventh in her heat with a lifetime best mark of 2:12.34.

Earlier in a thrilling men’s 1500m final, Cheltenham’s James Brewer had to relinquish the lead on the final circuit to eventually place second behind New Marske Harriers’ Lewis Moses in 3:45.66 to Moses’ 3:45.58.

The 23-year-old – who took the title in 2007 – won his heat in 3:50.27 the previous day but was left wanting in the final sprint for home and said:

“I’m disappointed to be honest and just didn’t have it in my legs today.

“I tried to push the pace but he tracked me the whole way – I’ve had a good season, though and will try to do better in Birmingham next week.”

Meanwhile, back in fourth position, Edinburgh’s Kris Gauson ran 3:47.13 after clocking 3:49.51 to take his heat the day before in his first indoor race since the 2004 season.

The men’s 800m final nearing the end of day two of the competition saw two OCWK athletes battle for the silver medal, with Scotland’s Guy Learmonth edging his way into second place over Ed Aston.

Learmonth, 19, won his heat in 1:50.43 the day before and only just missed his season’s best in the final with a 1:49.63 clocking to the victor, Joe Thomas (Cardiff, 1:47.26).

He revealed afterwards:

“It went really well and I’m happy with the silver because Joe’s running really well but I hope to improve again in Birmingham next week.”

Collecting the bronze was Cambridge’s 23-year-old Aston – the 2009 winner - who registered 1:49.73 after winning his heat the previous day with 1:51.92.

OCWK supervisor, Anthony Whiteman – the British M40 record-holder for both the 800m and 1,500m indoors – ran a 1:51.97 season’s best to finish second in his heat before withdrawing from the final the next day.

Nineteen year-old Zac Randall, meanwhile, failed to progress to the final yet registered a new lifetime best when placing third in his heat with 1:52.17.

Welsh champion Mark Mitchell smashed his lifetime best in the men’s 3,000m final on Saturday, registering a fine 7:59.00 clocking to finish third behind winner Jonny Mellor of Liverpool Harriers (7:58.36) and Belgrave’s Stephen Davies (7:58.78).

The 23-year-old Birchfield Harrier significantly improved on his debut at the distance when taking his national title last month in 8:07.90 in Cardiff and edged Northern champion Phillip Hurst in a thrilling battle for bronze.

Although missing out on a medal, the 22-year-old Elswick Harrier took an impressive seventeen seconds off his personal best to clock 8:01.45.

Meanwhile, crossing the line in sixth position a week after taking the British University cross-country title, Aldershot’s Jonny Hay completed the fifteen laps in 8:03.35.

Turning 20 the following day, the European u20 5,000m bronze-medallist was making his indoor debut and finished just ahead of Gateshead’s Ross Murray.

A silver medallist from the 2011 event, 21-year-old Murray registered 8:03.37, with Bracknell’s 17-year-old Zac Seddon another to sample indoor racing for the first time, finishing tenth in 8:12.53.

In the women’s 1,500m final today, Solihull’s 23-year-old Claire Tarplee finished sixth with 4:32.50, a week after setting a 4:24.07 personal best in Birmingham.

In eighth position, meanwhile, Shaftesbury Barnett Harrier’s 18-year-old Melissa Courtney clocked 4:34.97 in her metric mile indoor debut.

In the women’s 400m heats on Saturday, Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow’s Shelayna Oskan-Clarke finished fourth in heat two with a 54.84 clocking.

The 22-year-old – who recently placed fifth for the Commonwealth Select team at the Aviva International in Glasgow with 55.37 – just fell short of her 54.55 personal best, which she ran at the McCain Challenge at the same venue last weekend.

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