Stadium records broken on a very fast Friday

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Photo: Melissa Gresswell

It certainly wasn’t labelled Fast Friday for nothing. The speedy distance event organised by Orion Harriers was combined yesterday evening with the England Athletics 10,000m Championships, which brought a sea of athletes to a very soggy North London. The evening hosted two 5000m races in the middle of the programme, sandwiched between four 10,000m events.

The second 5000m of the evening labelled “FLAT OUT 5000m” was led out by recently crowned Northern champion Matt Crehan. He began to fade in the middle-part of the race, allowing John Sanderson of Guildford & Godalming AC and Alexander Lepretre of High Harriers to take to the front. Sanderson had an absolutely flying final couple of laps and stormed down the home straight to the tune of sub 14:30, 14:22.06 to be exact! The previous stadium record stood at 14:38:2 and even second place finisher Lepretre dipped under that time, clocking 14:34.

Morgan Mitchell of Highgate Harriers certainly took advantage of the excellent event organisation, very much replicating the famous Night of the 10,000m PBs at his home club. He was the “FAST 5000m” winner, the first 5000m of the evening. It was also a big personal best for him, as he earned himself a 14-second lifetime best with a time of 15:10.82, followed by Ewan Cameron and Ben Brewster. Oxford University student Charlotte Dannatt of Camberley & District AC was the first female across the line in another lifetime best time of 16:41.

The 10,000m D Race at the very start of the evening saw Joel Wiles of South London Harriers run a solo race against the clock, nestling behind the pace maker until it was their time to step off the track. Wiles continued the pace and battled against the elements, pulling away from Sion Lewis in second. It was Wiles’ win for the taking in the end and he crossed the line in a new lifetime best by some 90 seconds, dipping under 35 minutes for the first time on the track, clocking 34.12.03. Mandy Duhren of Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets AC was the leading lady and clocked 38.15 ahead of Olivia Zeltner of Herne Hill Harriers in second.

The C Race saw impressive consistently throughout from the leading pack. George Beardmore of Worcester AC and Simon Goldsworthy of Guildford & Godalming were in that front pack for the majority of the race until Andrew Watt of Bristol & West AC took to the front. It was Watt who continued his lead right through to the tape, clocking 31:27, just holding off a fast finishing George Beardmore with Tom Aldred finishing strong for third.

We saw more stadium records in the England Athletics 10,000m races at the end of the evening. In the women’s race, Nicole Taylor of Tonbridge AC absolutely smashed the previous stadium record by almost 2 minutes. The previous best time stood at 35:15 and Taylor crossed the line in a new lifetime best of 33:32, despite the treacherous conditions. She broke away from the rest of the field at around the halfway mark and continued to push through until the tape. Marathon specialist Tracy Barlow hung on for the second spot ahead of a fast finishing Naomi Taschimowitz.

The final race of the evening was the quickest of the 10,000m events, with many athletes entered with lifetime bests around the 31- minute mark. Cambridge & Coleridge athlete Jack Gray took to the front from the gun with Manchester International winner and Isle of Man athlete Ollie Lockley tucked in behind him. The pacer drops out at the halfway point and Jack Gray continues in the lead with Thomas Hickey hot on his heels. Ollie Lockley allows the two to escape him by a few metres but he continues to hang on with them around 20m ahead for the laps following. Hickey made a break for it at the bell and flies down the home straight, clocking the third and final stadium record of the evening, in a time of 29:09. Gray takes second in a huge lifetime best of 29:12 and Ollie Lockley settles for third in  29:26.