World 5000m qualifier for Rotherham runner as Ellie Baker, Mark English, Piers Copeland and Tatiane Da Silva also enjoy victories on a night of fast times at the Woodside Stadium
Strong winds slowed the middle-distance races at the Saucony British Milers’ Club Grand Prix in Watford on Saturday (June 11) but the wind dropped for the final few races which resulted in world qualifying times in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and 5000m.
Calli Thackery, the daughter of world half-marathon medallist Carl, excelled to smash her 5000m PB with a spirited finish.
The 29-year-old traded the pace with Samantha Harrison in the first half of the race before powering away over the second to nab another Eugene qualifier with a 15:06.26.
The performance improves her PB of 15:09.08 which was set in Sydney in April and it moves her up to 17th all-time in the UK, one place up on Helen Clitheroe who was in the crowd.
Harrison was rewarded for her perseverance with a big 15:22.29 PB and European Championships qualifier in second.
Sarah Astin (15:39.03) and Hannah Irwin (15:45.87) also improved with Steph Twell (15:47.83) continuing her return to full fitness in fifth.
Tatiane Da Silva not only smashed her Brazilian 3000m steeplechase record by 12 seconds but her 9:24.38 was a South American record as well as guaranteeing she will be at the World Championships in Eugene next month.
It was a largely brilliant solo run by a superb technician and she won by over 100 metres from Aussie Stella Radford (9:44.35), whereas Sarah Tait was the top Briton in fourth in 10:05.21.
Her area record time meant the officials were left scrambling for a records form post-race.
On a night of many brilliant races, the women’s 1500m stood out.
Jess Judd predictably powered into the lead after the pacemaker had taken them through 800m in 2:12 and she maintained the pace through 1200m in 3:18. She fought hard into the worst of the wind along the back straight but could not shake off Ellie Baker or Jenny Selman.
Out of the wind, Baker kicked past and Selman also passed Judd but the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m runner showed her endurance and fighting spirit and edged past Selman but couldn’t quite get back to Baker.
Baker was delighted with her win in 4:07.35, saying: “I was tired on that last lap and had to really dig in but I found something in that last 150m and in those conditions I was pleased to go so close to my PB.”
Judd was also pleased with her time (4:07.93) in the conditions and her strength while Selman set a PB 4:08.24 in third.
Hannah Nuttall (4:11.08) and Alex Millard (4:12.95) also excelled to complete the top five.
Bethan Morley won the women’s B race in a PB 4:16.35 with a fast last 200m.
The men’s 1500m saw Piers Copeland, who fell heavily in the Diamond League at Birmingham last month, sprint to a narrow victory.
The strong wind led to a split of 1:58 at 800m rather than the planned 1:55 and it was Copeland who finished strongest taking the win in 3:40.22 from James West’s 3:40.29 and Ben Macmillan’s 3:40.60 as just 1.25 seconds covered the first 11 runners.
“It was too windy for a fast time today. I just wanted to win,” said Copeland.
In the men’s 1500m B race, Nick Griggs, the 17-year-old talent from Ireland, led for much of the latter stages to clock a PB of 3:42.72.
Ireland’s Mark English finished strongly to nab the 800m in 1:46.42 after former world finalist Kyle Langford had made a brave and uncharacteristic long run for home.
Langford faded after battling the wind down the backstretch but his 1:46.86 suggests he is returning to form.
There was also a quality B race with Thomas Keen winning in a PB 1:47.83 ahead of juniors Ethan Hussey (world under-20 qualifier of 1:47.88) and Sam Reardon (PB of 1:48.03).
The 800m C race was also full of quality with eight inside 1:49.5 and won in a huge PB by Arlo Ludewick in 1:48.45 after he finished in lane four with a late rush.
The women’s 800m did not match the men’s quality but Ireland’s Jenna Bromell won in 2:03.82 just ahead of UK age 15 record-holder Phoebe Gill’s 2:04.09, who is unfortunately too young to compete in the European under-18 Championships and she just missed her age best here.
Daniel Jarvis was paced by Alex Teuten to well past halfway in the men’s 3000m steeplechase but the wind took its toll on the second half and he won in 8:48.88 to finish well clear of Aidan Thompson (9:00.89).
The final race of the day, the men’s 5000m, saw a huge pack together as late as 4km but Ian Crowe-Wright powered away with a sub-60 last lap to win in a PB 13:47.11.
Osian Perrin smashed his Welsh under-20 record with 13:49.26 as he set another World Under-20 Championships qualifier with a particularly strong finish and moves him into the UK all time top 10 for under-20 men.
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