Courtney beats McDonald and Muir to Westminster Mile gold

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Melissa Courtney at the 2018 Anniversary Games. Photo: MV4R Photography.

Commonwealth Games medallist Melissa Courtney picked up a superb victory in the Vitality Westminster Mile, beating the likes of multiple European champion Laura Muir and commonwealth finalist Sarah McDonald to win with 4:31.

The 25-year-old took advantage of the slow start to move into an early lead and just managed to out-kick her opponents in the final stretch with McDonald just losing out with a similar 4:31 time to Courtney’s, while Muir took bronze with 4:32.

European indoor silver medallist Chris O’Hare meanwhile took the men’s race with his final kick also proving the difference against the on-rushing Jonathan Davies and Elliott Giles.

The Scot was just short of breaking four minutes, with the high 3:59 clocking being rounded up to 4.00, but was not particularly fazed by the time.

All athletes were made to work hard for their victories, with the windy London conditions proving tough to contend with.

The strong winds were certainly felt by women’s race winner Courtney, but she managed to pull through despite also facing a very strong field.

“I’m delighted but a little shocked,” she said, “I felt strong but the wind was tough and everyone was sitting behind me but I finished well.”

Elsewhere, the age-less Anthony Whiteman came out of retirement for a great victory in the Olympians’ race, coming out of retirement to grab a pleasing victory in just over five minutes.

Olympic marathon runner Alyson Dixon meanwhile was the first woman across the line, with the 40-year-old returning to the course just ten minutes after winning the masters race with 5:02.

The women’s masters races also saw UK records for W55 Clare Elms and W70 Angela Copson, clocking 5:09 and 6:27 respectively to also move top of the masters world rankings. There was also a UK M50 record of 4:37 for Mark Symes, while Craig Sharp took the victory just ahead of David Williams with 4:33.

At the other end of the scale, former English Schools cross country champion Sabrina Sinha clinched victory in the junior women’s race with 4:54, while Wiltshire County 800m champion Will Stockley took the junior men’s race.

Elsewhere, Lewis Sullivan continued the superb form shown during the cross country season by edging out Woody Jerome for the Under 15 boys title, while another incredibly close battle saw Olivia Martin just fend off English Schools Cross Country champion Kiya Dee.

Martin’s sister Isabelle also got in on the act by overcoming Francesca Baxter and Lily Slack to for the Under 13 girls title, while Will Steadman overcame Jacob Preston in the Under 13 boys race.

Meanwhile, GB star Steph Twell was also present at the event, but took on a challenge of a different kind.

Alongside her partner Joe Moorwood, the multiple European medallist broke the world record for the fastest mile by a couple holding hands, smashing the previous record with 4:50 to make it a memorable trip out for the pair.

Full results from the event can be found here

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First published on: 27 May, 2019 2:43 pm

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