For the first time in many years, Stuart Weir, Senior Writer for RunBlogRun in Europe (yep, we count the UK as part of Europe), did not attend the British Indoor Champs. Covering the meet remotely, Stuart is recovering from surgery. Stuart told me he watched close to 8 hours of indoor track and field, with two walk breaks and a short nap. 

We wish Stuart Weir a speedy recovery. 

UK Indoors Day 1

There were a lot of things to like about the Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships, which took place on Saturday and Sunday in a sold-out Utilita Arena in Birmingham -not least, in a year of financial challenges for UK Athletics, a sponsor’s name being attached to the event title. Under a new name, Utilita is the venue of the 2018 World Indoors.

Day 1 was a seven-hour program of eight finals and several qualifiers.  There were athletes aged 16 to 45.  It was impressive to see 45-year-old Dwain Chambers fit enough to reach the semis – if you forget that he is a convicted drug cheat. There was an excellent final round of the women’s long jump when Molly Palmer went from first to third in two jumps.  The winner was heptathlete Jade O’Dowda, with a final jump of 6.19m.

Amy Hunt takes the 60 meters, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

This week-end there were stand-out events like the women’s 800m, where four athletes would be at home in any race on the world stage, and the men’s triple jump, where the event was won with15.55m – to be fair at the US Champs only three athletes surpassed 15.55m, in an event where the world record is 18:07m. There was a striking contrast in the two pole-vault competitions with Owen Heard winning the men’s with 5.26m while Molly Caudery’s 4.85m was a world lead.

Selection for the World Indoors is not straightforward.  While Cindy Sember booked her ticket for Glasgow with a win in a time inside the World Championship standard, there are other routes. Where the top two in the trials have not achieved the world standard, a place may go to athletes who have the standard but who bypassed the trials. Watch this space.

Think Jeremy Azu is happy winning the British title at 60 meters? photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

In the sprints, it was good to see Amy Hunt win the women’s 60m.  Hunt has so much potential but has failed to realize it.  In fact, it was a double win for coach Marco Airale, who works not only with Amy Hunt but also with Jeremiah Azu, winner of the men’s 60.  Hunt’s comments after the race show that she is much more focused on the big picture than the indoor season: “I have had a couple of years out after surgery, so I am really just getting back to race practice; my coach (Marco Airale) has done so much, and now it is on me to replicate what I’ve done in training on the track in the races that count.  The 60 isn’t my main event, so to be winning here is a real positive.   As I train in Italy, I am excited for the Euros in Rome this year.  I am ready to be world-class and get the times down”. On the other hand, Azu said that Glasgow was very much a goal for him: “My goal was to get the win and the time for the Worlds. I am glad I did that, but I must go quicker to reach the World’s final.  I messed up my start in the semi-final and even a little in the final.  I wanted to be ahead by 20m, but I didn’t panic, and I tried to drive as long as possible and then pull away from the others”.

Full results are available at https://ukaic2024.microplustimingservices.com/#/schedule-bydate

Stuart Weir is recovering from surgery and was covering the event remotely.

   

​ 

 

 

By