Sharman-Newell Impresses At Loughborough BMC Grand Prix

Sharman-Newell impresses at Loughborough BMC Grand Prix

The 800m runner shows good form ahead of the UK Champs as Beth Morley and Henry Dover are among the winners and Evan Grime runs a UK age 15 best for 1500m

Reece Sharman-Newell remains unbeaten on the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix World Challenger circuit as he ran a PB of 1:45.21 on Saturday (June 22) to go into the Olympic trials this weekend full of confidence, while Beth Morley stepped down to the two laps to smash her PB and secure her second GP win of the summer, Kevin Fahey reports.


With two young steeplechasers staking a claim for the European Under-18 Championships, teenager Shaikira King again underlining her talent and Henry Dover going well under the qualifying mark in the 3000m for the World Under-20 Championships and a UK age 15 1500m best for Evan Grime, Loughborough proved to be a terrific meeting.

“We were lucky with the weather and there was a super atmosphere with people sitting on the banks watching some terrific racing,” said meeting organiser Bill Foster. “And I’m told we had 44% of PBs from those taking part, which is pretty decent.”

Foster could have been forgiven for putting aside his duties as meeting organiser for the 2:02.76 that it took Bethan Morley to win the women’s 800m A race. Foster coaches Morley and on the basis of her performances on the BMC Grand Prix circuit this season is clearly doing a cracking job.

Beth Morley (left), Shaikira King (centre) and Liga Velvere (David Lowes)

She won the opening GP at Sportcity in a 1500m PB of 4:11.84, was then fifth at Watford and has now carved almost three seconds off her 2022 PB over 800m with her win on Saturday as she nipped ahead of Latvia’s Liga Velvere and UK under-17 No.1 King, who again ran well inside the qualifying marks for the World U20 and European U18 events, in the closing metres as the top three women finished within 14 hundredths of a second of each other.

“I had done most of the job before the meeting and while there were still bits and bobs to do on the day I was obviously keen to keep an eye on Bethan’s race and the 16 athletes I had in the meeting,” said Foster. “In her four years at Loughborough Bethan has come on so well and has had a great year with medals in the mixed relays at the World and European Cross Country.”

As for Morley, the win and PB is clearly the perfect preparation for the UK Championships and Olympic trials next weekend, when she will revert to the 1500m, not that she is under any illusion about how tough a race that promises to be. “I think the main goal will be to make the final,” said Morley. “The field is stacked and it would be just amazing to first make the final.”

Also buoyed by his latest PB in the 800m is Sharman-Newell. Barely 48 hours after clocking a PB of 1:45.16 in Poland on Thursday night, he lined up at Loughborough and shaved another four hundredths off that time with 1:45.12.

Sharman-Newell impresses at Loughborough BMC Grand Prix

That extended his unbeaten record in the Grand Prix series this summer and he has progressively gone quicker having clocked 1:46.77 at Sportcity and 1:46.53 at Watford before this 1:45.12. Now his attention turns to the trials knowing that he will have to go even quicker with that Olympic qualifying standard of 1:44.70 still proving elusive.

“It was a bit of a last minute thing to run and I’m pleased with another PB even though it was a bit off the time I wanted,” said Sharman-Newell. “But I felt strong and I cannot complain as this is the best season of my life so far. Now I’m very excited about next week.”

It is interesting to note that in eight of the 10 men’s 800m races the winners recorded PBs; Sharman-Newell, Joseph Morris (B), junior Mickey Ayling (C), Rowan Miell-Ingram (D), Finn Woodger (E ), juniors Josh Redmond and Ben Stratton (F & I respectively) and teenager Fergus Ross (J).

Likewise teenagers Georgina Langdon and Bella Taylor plus junior Millie Freeland all ran PBs to win the C, D and E women’s 800m races.

Will Barnicoat is an impressive cross country runner – European U23 champion in December and 27th at the World Cross Country Championships – and someone also blessed with a pretty decent sprint finish.

Sharman-Newell impresses at Loughborough BMC Grand Prix

He demonstrated this to full affect to catch Tiarnan Crorken virtually on the line to win the men’s A 1500m in a season’s best of 3:41.80 with a stunned Crorken six hundredths of a second behind.

“I managed to fly down the finish and I’m pretty pleased with that,” said Barnicoat. “My main event is the 5000m and I’ve managed to run a PB in that (13:29.23 in Brussels last month) and my next big goal is to run well at the British Championships and try and finish in the top five. After that I’ll focus on the 1500m and 3000m as you need them to finish strong in a 5000m.”

In an honestly-run race seven of the 11 finishers recorded lifetime bests, including GB 10,000m international Rory Leonard who finished fifth in his first competition since the Europeans in Rome, with the remainder all clocking season’s bests.

The B race threw up one of the big results of the day with 15-year-old Evan Grime clocking a UK age 15 best time of 3:47.72 to finish fourth.

Grime’s best before Loughborough was 3:51.03 for fifth in the D race at the Sportcity Grand Prix while he has also run an impressive 1:49.69 at the BMC Gold Standard Races at Trafford last month, so now sits proudly top of the UK under-17 rankings at both distances.

In addition, both those times are well inside the qualifying standards for the European U18 Championships in Slovakia. Coincidentally, his father, Ian, was an international middle-distance runner in the 1990s and studied at Loughborough University.

Just behind Grime, fellow under-17 athlete Matthew Clark also dipped inside 3:50 for the first time with a PB of 3:49.31 to go third in the UK U17 rankings while the top eight finishers all celebrated lifetime bests led home by Sam Winters.

Before the meeting Foster said how pleased he was to see a strong overseas contingent coming to Loughborough and that was no better evident than in the women’s 1500m with New Zealand’s Laura Nagel winning comfortably in a PB of 4:09.88 from American Taylor Werner. “It was really cool to race against some different people,” said Nagel afterwards.

Racing her first Grand Prix event, BUCS 2000m steeplechase champion Emily Parker, who is a Loughborough Uni student, enjoyed one of the best wins of her career as she carved over four seconds from her PB with 4:23.33.

Sharman-Newell impresses at Loughborough BMC Grand Prix

Henry Dover (left) pips Aron Gebremariam (David Lowes)

If there was a prize for the closest and most dramatic win of the day then Henry Dover would be a strong contender as he flung himself at the line to stun Aron Gebremariam in the men’s 3000m.

Still only 18, Dover dipped inside the landmark eight minutes for the first time, slashing 16 seconds off his previous best with 7:57.47. He was also well inside the qualifying standard of 8:05 for the World Under-20 Championships in Lima, Peru, at the end of August.

Dover has also recorded PBs over 400m (53.95), 800m (1:51.80), 1500m (3:48.42) and 5000m (14:25.95) so it has been quite a summer for him so far.

In her first race back on home soil after finishing her latest term at Columbia University Phoebe Anderson finished strongly to overhaul Mexico’s Alma Cortes Garcia down the home straight to win the women’s 3000m in PB of 8:58.09.

“It has been a long season for me in America and I came back feeling pretty tired but I’m glad I raced as it is my birthday tomorrow!” said Anderson who turned 22 the following day (June 23).

“I’ll do the 5000m at the trials next week so this was a good sharpener and given me some confidence.”

There was certainly no shortage of confidence shown by the two 17-year-old steeplechase winners Dillon Millard and Rae Le Fay.

“I am eligible for the European U18 Championships and was able to run under the standard at the Welsh Champs last weekend with a 5:51.88, but sadly losing out to Iwan Thomas (also eligible),” said Millard.

“However, I looked to try and improve on this with another consistent race again today – whilst not exactly what I wanted –  in a hope that it would stand me in good stead to get selected.”

For Le Fay her winning time of 6:41.81 was not only a huge PB by nine seconds but also her first time inside the qualifying standard if 6:45.00, putting her top of the UK rankings.

Le Fay had a good battle with Swedish junior Majken Soderlund Larsson with another teenager Brit Ava James third. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the time, I was really happy,” said Le Fay.

“I was just hoping for a PB and to get inside the qualifying standard would have been incredible, so to finish four seconds under it is unbelievable.”

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