Hercules Wimbledon Athletics Club’s annual 1,500m night saw several major breakthroughs as a host of athletes will now hope to qualify for this summer’s British Athletics Championships, taking place from June 25-27, writes George Mallett.
This summer’s championships serves as an opportunity for athletes to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Athletics Championships held in Eugene in the United States in July.
Andrew Penney took six seconds of his lifetime best to finish fourth in 3:47.32 in the men’s elite 1,500m race. A strong final 100m saw him close on winner Stuart McCullum in a field that saw many of the nation’s best runners at the distance compete on the Wimbledon Park track.
Penney, a multiple-time Surrey representative in cross-country, came up just short of the British Athletics qualifying standard of 3:45 with three weeks left to shave off the final two seconds.
Another man chasing the standard is Charlie Eastaugh, who finished sixth in 3:45.79 and boasts a PB just narrowly outside the qualifying mark.
Eastaugh has championship experience, having competed in February’s UK Athletics Indoor Championships, as well as last summer’s Olympic qualifiers.
Albane Fery, fresh off a silver medal at the Surrey County Championships in the 1500m, lowered her PB to 4:49;69, ranking her in the top 100 in the country for her U20 age group.
Fery finished just behind U13 Thomas Whorton, who is enjoying a hugely successful season. Whorton’s 4:49.29 ranks him the country’s 14th best U13, continuing significant success from earlier this year.
Whorton is the reigning Surrey champion for the 800m in his age group and also won the prestigious Southern U13 indoor title in January over the same distance. With a county cross-country title also achieved this year, people will be watching Whorton’s development with plenty of interest.
Ellen Weir narrowly missed out on the 3,000m qualifying standard for the World Junior Athletics Championships in Watford last week. She ran 9:34.95, less than three seconds outside the mark. The championships features the world’s best U20 athletes, with notable previous winners including Usain Bolt and Katharina Johnson-Thompson.
Weir is no stranger to junior success, having represented Great Britain and North Ireland on several occasions this year. The highlight included a win against some of Europe’s brightest prospects in the Cross Cup Diest, in Belgium.
PICTURE: MARK HOOKWAY
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