Updated: Sep 14, 2020
In stark contrast to its rather docile papal namesake, Storm Francis was a disruptive force on Tuesday evening in Trafford. Indeed, such was the torrential rain at the BMC Gold Standard meeting, that early races featured athletes running (or perhaps wading) through deep puddles, the associated splashing having such magnitude as to reach even the shortest of split shorts.
15 of BUAC MD's finest were down to start at Longford Park Stadium, the red and gold of current members mixed in with the veritable rainbow of the club colours shared by alumni.
Wind and rain affected all races to varying degrees, and for an organisation that prides itself on its meets delivering PBs, there were very few to be had for those running in the BMC at Stretford on the night.
Men's 3000 C
First athlete on track was Joe Connors, in the 3000 C. Drawing the short straw of a race towards the beginning of the meeting, when the rain was still coming down heavily, Connors sat in the lead pack for much of the early race but was gapped with three laps to go, ending some 100 metres behind the eventual winner with a time of 9:04.47. That was good enough for his 5th best 3000 ever, strong running in horrendous conditions.
Women's 1500 C
In the women's 1500 C, alumna Emma Howsham was part of a large pack of athletes distanced by tearaway youngster Keira Brady-Jones, of Wirral. Towards the end of the race Howsham unfortunately lost contact with the pack, crossing the line in 4:55.89.
Men's 1500 D
Charnwood athlete, and new BUAC recruit Ethan O'Shea went in the men's 1500 D race. Sat in second for much of the race, behind a fast-starting Kilbarchan athlete, O'Shea just missed out on securing the position at the line, finishing in a time of 4:01.34 for 3rd.
Women's 800 B
In the Tenuous BUAC Connection of the Day category, Tamsin McGraw, coached by brother and recent alum Jethro McGraw, took the win in the women's 800 B race. A strong final lap gave her an eventual clocking of 2:10.38.
Men's 800 A
After startlists were somewhat abbreviated with rain-related withdrawals, including that of our own Oliver Dustin, Josh Allen was the sole BUAC representative in a combined men's 800 A/B. Up and into his running early, Allen was in a tight front three when the pacer stepped off with 350m to go, but the 1:49 man was overtaken by some very strong kicks from behind, giving 5th and a season's best of 1:56.42 when all was said and done.
Women's 800 A
European Indoor finalist and alumna Mari Smith was due to run in the A race of the 800, but unfortunately did not start. Instead she was replaced by the familiar sight of Eilish McColgan, running a distance very unfamiliar to her only two days after her appearance in the Stockholm Diamond League. Her 2:08.11 placed her at the back of the women's A field, but the time was a personal best, taking less than three tenths off of the first two laps of her 1500 metre run at the Rabat Diamond League last year.
Women's 3000 A
Kate Palfreeman-Watt was down to start in the women's 3000 A race, but instead left BUAC race duties to Emily Thompson and Lucy Jones, in Banbury and Charnwood colours respectively. In no great shock to anyone, the distinctive, loping stride of Jess Judd was at the front of the pack from gun to tape, winning by over 40 seconds. Unfortunately for those following from afar, this meant that also for much of the race the coverage featured one athlete and one athlete only.
Thompson ran well early on as the best of the rest, a strong gap to a pack of three chasing athletes through 2000 metres. Unfortunately, after six laps of strong, solo running, and a very strong 1500 metre best in Bromley 4 days prior, Thompson's tiring legs were reeled in by her pursuers, ending in fifth. She did leave, however, with a new personal best of 9:57.14, in only her second time over the distance (the last such race coming in 2016). Jones finished a place behind Thompson, her 10:06.93 only two days after a strong run over 1500 metres at Nuneaton.
Men's 3000 B
In the men's 3000 B race, Tom Drabble dipped into the shorter end of his range, his first time over the distance since an 8:30.19 at the same venue in April of last year. Bunched, tactical racing happened early on, with Drabble and three others detaching themselves from the rest through two kilometres. The group splintered as the pace wound up over the final two laps, and a strong kick brought him to an 8:34.02 in the first appearance of the night for Birmingham Track Elite.
Men's 1500 B
The fastest 1500s were reserved for the end of the meeting, with BTE member and recent alum Patrick Taylor joined by associate member Jay Rossiter in the men's B race. Taylor improved over three seconds from his time at the Bromley Twilight Invitational the week prior with 3:55.34, while reigning Irish 'chase champion Rossiter clocked 3:55.53 for a good season opener over the distance.
Men's 1500 A
The A race of the 1500 was a bunched affair. Alum Mark Pearce led the pack through two laps, behind a largely ignored pacer, and Mike Ward moved up the outside of the pack as Pearce hit the bell, in order to contest the finish. Pearce duelled with '08 Olympian Tom Lancashire for much of the last 150m, as Ward charged hard down the home straight. The BTE members took 2nd and 4th respectively.
After narrowly missing a sub-8 clocking over 3000 at Bromley, a new personal best of 3:45.76 was just reward for a hard-working Pearce. Ward's 3:46.77 run was close to his 3:44.33 personal best, no doubt set in better conditions out in the US, and the British Indoor bronze medallist looked to be in great, controlled form down the home straight as he brought the time home.
Women's 1500 A
The final race of any note for those in red and gold was the women's 1500 A race, featuring Saskia Millard and Cesca Brint. Millard finished fast after sitting off the leaders for much of the race, and despite strong form in coming off a 3000 metre personal best in Bromley, her 4:24.67 appeared to be to her dissatisfaction as she crossed the line, a shake of the head telling you all you needed to know. Brint was slightly further back, having suffered in the conditions. Her 4:29.77 was 7 seconds slower than that at Bromley the previous Friday, the run not doing justice to her stellar ability, seen in her silver medal-winning performance at BUCS Indoors back in February.
Full results can be found here.
Coverage of all races can be found on Vinco.