Weekend News Report - 16th/17th February 2019

West Clocks 3:57 For The Mile

It's a rare occasion when a local athlete produces a performance that puts them inside the UK's all time top twenty performances, especially when it is at an iconic event like the mile. However, James West did just that on Saturday when he raced to a 3:57.75 clocking to move to nineteenth on the all-time, indoor, list and produce the second fastest time this year from a Brit.

West is at the University of Oregon, where he is completing a masters degree in Public Administration, combining that with a track scholarship. On Saturday he finished third in the Elite Men's mile race at Seattle, amongst seven runners who broke four minutes.

The aim for the indoor season for many USA based students is to qualify for the National Collegiate Championships, at the start of March, which requires a top sixteen ranking nationally. This run by West should see him amongst the qualifiers, although he also has a 3000 metres time that is currently good enough.

It's not the first time that West has run under four minutes, as he has an outdoor best of 3.58.69, although on this occasion he became the first Tonbridge athlete to ever break the barrier indoors. The previous indoor club record was held by Robbie Farnham-Rose at 4.00.92.

Another outstanding middle-distance performance came from Dominic Brown, who was racing 1500 metres for Sheffield University, at the British Universities and Colleges Championships, over the weekend. He qualified through Saturday's heat and semi-final, for Sunday's final, where he hit the front around the halfway mark. Brown was at his very best, running the last 800 metres in 1:56 to finish in 3:56.22, after a very slow start. Kieran Reilly, a club mate at Tonbridge, also performed well to take third spot in 3.58.53, as part of the Loughborough team. Kiri Marsh finished sixth in the women's 3000 metres final with 9:58.82, as she represented Nottingham University.

Also competing indoors, at Lee Valley, Mark McAllister lowered his Tonbridge AC, over 45 age group, 60 metres record to 7.66, taking a further 0.05 seconds off the time set in January. On Sunday Steven Tester set a new indoor record at the same venue over 200m with 24.47 in the over 35 age group.

Ian Crawley won the, over 55 age group, British Veterans Indoor Pentathlon Championship, breaking his own club record with 3562 points. This included 60m hurdles in 10.59, High Jump 1.56m, Long Jump 4.82m, Shot Putt 9.34m and a 1000 metres personal best of 3.13.75

Over the next few weeks many of the distance runners will be in action on the roads, particularly in half marathons, with last weekend seeing a good number using the distance as part of their marathon preparations. At Tunbridge Wells Julian Rendall finished 4th in 73:41 and with Matt Dennis (7th in 76.02) plus Luke Hooper (9th in 79:04) picked up the first team prize. Penny Pilbeam was the first of the Tonbridge ladies home finishing in 96:00. Then over at Headcorn Sean Molloy finished second in 72:49, despite only using the event as a training run, whilst Jordan Saul was 10th in 83:06. Greg Cole was 7th in the Northwest Half Marathon, at Blackpool, in 77:29.

This coming weekend Tonbridge will have a mass of runners competing in the English National Cross Country Championships, with teams in all ten of the events.