European champions amongst top distance athletes set for Watford BMC

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Shelayna Oskan-Clarke celebrating her British indoor title. Photo: Melissa Gresswell.

We think we all remember Alexandra Bell’s sub-2 minute performance at last year’s Watford BMC. The Pudsey & Bramley athlete and Commonwealth Games finalist became the first female athlete to run sub-2 minutes in an all-female race at a British Milers Club event.

This year she returns to the track that secured her first taste of 1:59, but toeing the line alongside side her are athletes who certainly are no strangers to world class performances. Reigning European indoor 800m champion Shelayna Oskan-Clarke will go alongside Bell in what is set to be one of the most stacked British 800m races of the 2019 season. Oskan-Clarke’s season’s best in 2019 goes back to her marvellous Muller Grand Prix win in Birmingham back in February, just a fraction ahead of 4th place finisher at the Europeans in Berlin last summer, Adelle Tracey (2:01.16 & 2:01.95). Thus far on the outdoor, Tracey has clocked 2:01.58 with Oksan-Clarke a modest 2:03.45 at Oslo Diamond League. Alongside them is 1500m specialist but certainly no slouch over the shorter distance, Commonwealth Games finalist Sarah McDonald. Her personal best of 2:00.88 was set last year in the women’s A race. Also in that women’s A race was South of England champion Revee Walcott-Nolan who has a best of 2:01.78. She’s yet to compete outdoors over the 800m in 2019, but she’ll no doubt be stiff competition, as well as Mari Smith, who finished 5th at the European indoors in March. Recently selected for the European U23 Championships in Sweden next month, Ellie Baker is most definitely a one to watch and has a superb sprint finish. The 2017 European junior silver medallist has already clocked a new lifetime of 2:02.02 this month, so it’s going to be an outstanding women’s A race for sure!

The men’s A race is by no means any less enticing and is equally saturated in talent. European indoor silver medallist Jamie Webb will toe the line with Commonwealth Games silver medallist Kyle Langford. Langford currently sits in third on the UK rankings (1:45.87) behind U23 Thomas Staines (1:45.67) and the record breaking junior Max Burgin (1:45.36). Other top 2-lap contenders include; European 1500m bronze medallist Jake Wightman, British indoor champion Joesph Reid and recently crowned England Athletics U23 champion Spencer Thomas, as well as European Championship semi-finalists Elliot Giles and Daniel Rowden. Tim Brennan the chairman of BMC says “We could easily be looking at a 1min 45secs time to win the men’s A race as we have two guys who ran 1:44 last year and two more who have already recorded 1:46 this season”.

There are plenty more British international athletes set to compete at Watford in other events throughout the evening, including; BMC veteran and Loughborough University student Jess Judd, who has won both 5000m races in the opening BMC events this year. On Saturday however, she’ll step down to the 1500m where she’ll be alongside former World silver medallist over the 1500m, Hannah England. Also stepping down a distance on Saturday is Morpeth’s Rory Leonard who’s currently ranked number 1 in the uK over the 5000m. He clocked a new lifetime best over the shorter distance earlier last month, breaking the sub-3:50 mark for the first time (3:48.93) so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do on Saturday.

Action kicks off at 5.30pm with the men’s 800m H race and you’ll be able to tune in to live action here.


First published on: 27 June, 2019 10:45 am

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