Manchester BMC: A heritage of world records, young stars and Olympic journeys

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Max Burgin wins the 2017 SIAB International from Oliver Dustin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It was just under a year ago that history was made at the Manchester Sportcity BMC.

With the 800m men’s A race reaching its final frontier, a tightly packed contest saw 15-year-old Max Burgin emerge from the pack to clinch a superb victory against his much older opponents.

But this was much more than just a triumph against more experienced athletes, it was a performance that had never before been equalled by any runner on earth.

The Halifax runner’s winning time of 1:47.50 was the fastest 800m time run by a 15-year-old in history.

It was an out of this world performance on a stage where very few would have expected to see it, with even Burgin’s coach and grandad Brian struggling to put the performance into words.

“(It’s) just Brilliant,” said Brian, “I can’t sum it up really, just brilliant.”

It was a staggering performance that kicked off a hugely memorable year for the Burgin family, as Max went on to clinch European Under 18 gold in yet another world age best of 1.47.36, with the now 16-year-old producing one of the most dominant displays ever seen in a European final.

While it is uncertain whether Burgin will compete at Sportcity this year, the event is certainly used to seeing truly big performances from high class and also young individuals.

Just the year before Burgin’s record, the men’s 800m was lit up by European Under 20 medallist Markhim Lonsdale, with the 18-year-old surging ahead of British internationals Guy Learmonth and Tom Lancashire for a hugely impressive 1.46.97 time.

It was a huge shock to all who saw it as the Durham athlete launched himself to the top of the European Under 20 rankings where he would stay all season.

The same night also saw Jessica Judd deliver an emphatic 5000m victory in 15.34.82, which at the time was the fastest women’s 5000m ran on British soil that year and put Judd 2nd on the European Under 23 rankings.A hugely strong performance from Bobby Clay also saw her just fall short of the 3000m record, gaining victory in Sportcity just five days before her 19th birthday with 9.13.97.

Olympian Ross Murray also began an unforgettable year in 2012 with a men’s 1500m record of 3.36.69, with the Under 23 going on to represent Great Britain at the London Olympics that year, as Sportcity proved to be the igniting flame for his own Olympic torch.

Ireland international Sara Treacey also began her Olympic journey in 2016 at Sportcity, smashing the BMC women’s 2000m Steeplechase record with 6.27.38 on her way to her first Olympics in Rio.

European silver medallist and cross country international Hatti Archer was another unstoppable steeplechaser in Sportcity, with her victory in the 3000m steeplechase resulting in a 9.43.11 BMC record, while she would go on to become the third-fastest British female steeplechaser of all time.

With such a strong history of big performances so early in the season, Sportcity certainly promises to be a huge event in the season and could yet see more additions to its catalogue of memorable performances. You’ll be able to watch live action of Manchester BMC by heading to the live stream page next Saturday!

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First published on: 15 May, 2019 10:11 am

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