BMC GP – Trafford

The Harriers middle distance squad were in action at the opening BMC Grand Prix meeting in Manchester/ Trafford looking for fast times at a track & meeting that has a reputation for producing PB's. With the weather being very unseasonably wet and windy conditions luckily held out with just a light breeze and occasional rain, ideal conditions for fast racing. The BMC (British Milers Club) is the premier middle distance athletics club with the aim to improve the world standing of UK Middle Distance running and the club works in close partnership with UK Athletics in the organisation of its fixtures, and the Trafford event drew the best athletes from across the country including a number of GB athletes looking for fast times in preparation for Tokyo.


On the night there was a number of outstanding performances from the squad, which was particularly pleasing as most of them making their debut at this level of completion. Debutants U17 Alice Bennett & U20 Indienne King led the charge, both running fantastic new 800m PB’s & setting English Schools National Standard Times.


Alice Bennett ran a terrific race, shaking off the disappointment of her opening 1500m a week earlier to smash her 2019 PB by over 2 seconds with a super-fast 2:12.32. Running a near perfect tactical race and sitting in behind the pacemaker/ early leader until the final 100m where she kicked impressively to power her way to a brilliant victory by 30m and head to number 3 in the UK rankings as a bottom year athlete. This was her opening 800m race on the 2021 season and there will hopefully be much more to come from Bennett who next races at the BMC Gold Standard on Wednesday evening in Birmingham looking to build on her great start to 2021.


Alice Bennett brilliant run in her first ever BMC grand Prix to smash her 2019 PB by over 2 seconds


Indienne King who is settling in very well to her new squad/ club was running fresh from her fantastic 800m opener a week earlier, her fastest ever opening 800m, to set a new lifetime best with a superb time of 2:10.60. King also ran a great tactical race settling in just off the pacemaker and running in the inside lane she split in 63 seconds putting in a fantastic effort on the back straight to set herself up for her final kick on the home straight. King was full of running as she powered her way in to the lead off the final bend to take the win by 15m and cement herself a top 5 UK ranking as a bottom year U20. King will join her club colleague with a midweek race at BMC Gold Standard in Birmingham. King’s original target for 2021 was to reach the 2:09 qualification standard for the European U18 championships in Italy, but sadly this has been cancelled for the second year running due to the pandemic, so she now switches focus to the U20 Championships qualification mark of 2:06 as a stretch target.


Indienne King sensational new PB in her 2nd race of the season with 2:10.60 and UK 5th ranking


Also competing in the 800m, Amelia McMurtrie set a new SB of 2:17.87 to close in on her PB, feeling much stronger in her 2nd outing of the season McMurtrie finished 3rd in a close race and has her targets fixed on the 2:16 English schools qualification mark over the coming few weeks. Alice Bates was a little disappointed with her opening 1500m as she looks to put this right competing at the Wednesday BMC meeting in Birmingham.



John Love memorial open/ Northants 5k track championship


Further afield the Harriers were also in action in the local R&N open meeting/ Northants 5k track championships at a cold and windy Moulton Park track, so good times were hard to come by, but there were non the less some fantastic performances from the Harriers.


For the two Harriers competing in the 5k track championships there were medal winning performances by both, with Elana Albery winning a fine Silver medal in 19:03 in the senior women’s race, fighting off a challenge from Harborough A.C.’s Sarah Ward (19:08) in the closing stages of the race which was won by W&D A.C.’s Kelly Barnett in 18:32.


U20 Josh Clutton ran a terrific race to set a 5k PB of 17:17 to secure a Bronze medal in the U20 race, which was won by Banbury Harriers Skip Snelson in 15:27


In the John Love Memorial open meeting, the two leading performances of the day came from U13 Jemima Davey who opened her track season with a brilliant performance to equal her 2020 PB of 2:25.7 which propels her into a UK Number 4 ranking. U17 Ben Brooker ran a terrific opening 800m and smashed his PB by 5 seconds to finish just behind Coventry Godiva’s Clark Roberts in 2:03.0, both were remarkable performance in the conditions.


There were also good 800m PB’s for U15 Dylan White 2:16.1, U13 Peyton Almond (2:49.9), U13 Finlay Brooker (2:47.4), U15 Nathan Lamb (2:24.6) with debutants at the distance U13 Camille Chassaigne (2:46.9), & U13 Harley Hooker (2:47.3) both running well. George shape marginally improved his 800m PB to 2:36.9 & sliced a second off his 200m PB (29.0). Jess Lamb opened with a very respectable 2:41.4


In the 1500m U17 Lucas Mansell sliced nearly 40 seconds off his 1500m PB with a fine opening time of 4:41.1 with clearly more to come from him in better conditions. U15 Maggie Gancheva ran a 6 second PB to record a time of 5:18.7, and Lara Turner ran another sub 5:00 clocking of 4:59.9 which in the conditions was another fine run, and Josh Cannell opened his 1500m season with 4:44.8