A SPARKLING personal best by teenager Keira Devereux to put her among the fastest in the country was among the highlights from local runners at the opening British Milers Club Saucony Grand Prix meeting at Birmingham University.
Devereux ran an excellent race to win the women’s 800 C event, powering down the home straight to win in a time of 2mins 10.27secs.
For the 16-year-old North Somerset AC runner, who is coached by Julian Emery, that sliced 2.59secs off her previous best set just a month ago at the Bill Whistlecroft Spring Open – and means she has improved by over eight seconds from last summer.
That time puts Devereux top of the South West Rankings and more importantly third in the UK which augurs well for the major championships later this season.
Elsewhere on the blog we have already highlighted the performance of junior Justin Davies in the 1500m and in that same race Team bath clubmate John Howorth finished third in a season’s best of 3:42.07.
In the 5000m the Bristol & West AC pair of Kurt Taylor and Joe Connors took full advantage of the benign conditions on arguably the best day of the year so far for racing.
Taylor was always prominent at the front end and while in the closing stages he couldn’t hold onto Dego Abebe of Israel (14:06.60) Taylor crossed the line in 14:13.86 to slash a staggering 31 seconds off his previous best on the track – though he had run 14:17 on the road at Battersea Park in February.
The time puts Taylor third on the 2022 South West Rankings with Exeter’s junior Johnny Livingstone top after a PB of 1409.21 in the A race at Birmingham.
Connors found himself at the rear of the field but he kept his form and concentration to clock a PB time of 15:07.20, which slashed over 30 seconds off his previous best.
For both runners new targets now loom large; for Taylor breaking 14 minutes and Connors dipping inside 15.
For Ellie Wallace a sub 16 minutes clocking is surely within her reach this summer after she ran a PB in the women’s 5000m.
The North Somerset AC athlete ran a solid tactical race and only struggled when the pace picked up towards the end and while she was slightly disappointed with the time of 16:09.61, which took almost 10 seconds off her best from last year, it is another step forward.
In addition, it is worth recalling that Wallace has only run the distance three times on the track and has gone from 16:38.42 on her debut at the BMC Grand Prix in Loughborough in July 2021 to 16:18.82 a month later in Nottingham before dipping inside 16:10 for the first time on Saturday evening.
That is a great upward curve and while it is sure to flatten at some point all the signs suggest Wallace can go a lot quicker at a distance she is still learning.
The time puts her second on the South West Rankings behind GB international Melissa Courtney-Bryant (15:25.9) and ahead of America-based Westbury Harrier Ellie Leather (16:23.43).