BY GEOFF JERWOOD
After a long lockdown with very little meaningful athletics competition at any level of the sport aside from some virtual time trial events, there was at last an actual track-racing performance recorded by a Herne Hill Harriers club member over the weekend on the other side of the world – and an awesome one to kick things back off with.
The event in Australia was the Bankstown Winter Distance meet in New South Wales, where Chloe Tighe became the first Herne Hill female athlete to run 3,000m in under nine minutes as she edges ever closer to world class level, placing second behind an Australian 1,500m World Championship representative.
Defying atrocious weather conditions on a very wet and quite windy afternoon with the track almost flooded, Tighe clocked a sensational PB time of 8:54.90 to shatter her own Harriers club senior women’s record as her latest run represents a huge improvement of around 15 seconds on her previous best of 9:09.82.
Nike Oregon athlete Jess Hull’s official time was 8:41.80, only a couple of seconds outside the national record, while Tighe and third place Rose Davies raced it out over the final 800m with Tighe finishing four seconds ahead of Davies. The latter has a recent 15:20 clocking for 5,000m to her name, close to the qualifying time for next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, so this bodes very well for Tighe’s own aspirations for qualification and selection for Australia at that race distance next year.
Tighe will soon be heading to Dubai for her second year of primary school teaching. She had deferred for a year with the aim of trying to qualify for what would have been this year’s Olympics. Whilst Dubai as a location presents its own challenges when preparing for athletics at world level, Tighe will know she can draw upon her previous experience there during which she was able to train to attain her PB fitness level at that time while managing the demands of her work and the climatic conditions and can return with some degree of confidence.
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