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'Project sub 3' - A proposal for men's 4 x400 relay

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  • 'Project sub 3' - A proposal for men's 4 x400 relay

    'Project sub 3' - Well actually, as pointed out elsewhere, it should be more like ’sub - 2.58’, but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it... But it's about getting a British men's 4 x 400 well under 3 mins and into the Paris 2024 final.

    There is an encouraging cohort of U23 and U20 400 specialists who have run 45-and bits this season, so despite the poor performance at Tokyo of the men’s 4x400relay, all is not doom and gloom.
    MHS might still fulfil his potential, and as jimbojames pointed out to me, Chalmers ran a 44.7 [relay] leg.

    Various chatter on the forum suggests we might encourage one or two of the 200m runners to take up the challenge, Zarnel Hughes and NMB for starters, and I wondered if for the long lead-off leg, we might go Gary Cook style and consider Kyle Langford, or one of the emerging 800 young guns. Ben Pattison was mentioned by RunUnlimited.

    I have quoted JimboJames in its entirety as it’s a good summary:

    ‘We’re really not that far away from 3mins, if you look across the season/Champs:

    Dobson - 45.51 from blocks in April, so assume would have been quicker by the peak of the season
    Chalmers (Tokyo) - 44.7
    Faulds (Tallin) - 44.9
    Ohioze (Poland) - 45.35

    Nothing amazing, but it’s there. They really need to be targeting sub-2.59. A 43.x leg would help, but low 44s plus a 45.low lead off would work.

    I think it’s also worth a conversation with the likes of Hughes (45.5 split mid-Feb 2019) about doing a Felix and doing both relays.’

    What is needed is a concerted effort, a dedicated project with resources ring-fenced to turn around the run of disappointing performances in what many might consider a marquee event, holding a special place as the event that always closes a major championships, where historically we have been strong, and in many ways represents a litmus test of the true wider health of the sport,

    A focus on a group of 9 -10 athletes to improve the relay performance will also have positive knock-on effect for their own individual performances and hopefully raising the standards beyond. A lead manager, our own stew-coach need only to apply, will draw on every marginal gain possible, much like the Sky team did when they set out to have the first British rider win the Tour de France. Funding should be separate to Olympic podium/potential, and triggered by achieving personal and team milestones. No relay opportunity will be too small to participate, batons will be held onto for dear life, and the Tokyo 1991 performance is required viewing (or if you want something a little more contemporary, to remind you how good it feels to win a relay, watch Team GB swimmers in the 4 x 200 freestyle at Tokyo.)

    Of course no one is going to listen to me unless someone knows someone in the higher echelons of UK Athletics or judicious use of social media ...

    Anyway, discuss

  • #2
    Originally posted by carterhatch View Post

    What many might consider a marquee event.
    Whisper it quietly but I do actually quite enjoy a relay. But where I differ from the rest of the world is that I consider them to be a bit of fun at the end of the program rather than an integral part of it.

    Having uttered that sacrilegious thought. I will now step out the back of the circle and leave this thread to those who know what they’re talking about.


    • #3
      Matt Elias coaches 3 of the top 13, as well as Chalmers A (400H). A few hubs / training groups would help - bit of competition in training.

      Many of our top 400m guys need to sort out their 200 times, if they’re to really progress - Alex H-W seems to get this and looks to be working on it. The likes of Toby Harries (45.7 leg in Doha, still only 24-ish) are in the background.

      A bold move, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see our DL put a 4x400m on the programme and get some teams out - an opportunity to see what some of the 200m/800m/4H can do, and a bit of exposure for some of our ‘national level’ athletes against the top guns. Each team gets a specialist, plus one each of the other events listed

      For starters, some names I’d like to see in the race: Gemili, Hughes, M Francis, Talbot, Dustin, Langford, Knibbs, Okoro, Paul, McAllister


      • #4
        I think rather than just go to the powers that be where it's likely to be met with little or no interest and perhaps some condescending words thanking us for our interest but at this time etc we should just take ownership of project sub 3 (but really sub2.58) and make it our own. Why does British Athletics have to have all the fun. It could be a bit like those guys who ran a non league football team. We already have the ultimate objective, why not flesh it out a bit further. Perhaps a bit of crowdfunding to raise the requisite initial capital and reach out to the athletes to see if a they would be up for it and b what it is that they require to make it happen.


        • #5
          Loop-guru your reply gladdens my heart, and I agree any proposal sent to UKA will only be met with polite platitudes. I'm not really in a position to bank-roll the lads, but certainly a dialogue with the potential cohort through some judicious use of social media (of which I have very limited knowledge, no twitter account et al) to plant a seed of an idea would be a start. Hence my appeal to those forum users who know people, who know people.


          • #6
            For me personally: A lot of our male 400 runners train solely for the 400! And they do need more of a focus on the 200m to raise the ceiling in general (And I am glad that Alex is ending his season in doing this)(and so Is Toby H btw) but again this perhaps is a coaching issue.

            Then comes the current relay programme which is invite based and structured around the long list potential.

            There are few ways to widen the pool, and the main is to give more chance for people to "have a go" and make it fun, and for this I am in discussion to hold a small mini relays competition at our track, qualifying events on the Saturday with finals on the Sunday (to include age groups u and V) to a: give chance for people to be involved as a team but also create a ranking award system for splits in the competition etc


            • #7
              Most of the athletes are contactable on social media. What about sending a draft proposal and see what comes back. In terms of funding there is that guy who funded Keeley Hodgkinson and i'm sure there are others out there who might be interested if the project was executed correctly. It could be like the lottery funding but without the financial wastage.


              • #8
                There is a website called Justgiving which is a not for profit websitre for crowd funding purposes. It has a sports section and has raised monies in the past. The amounts seem very small though, biggest I saw was £2,665 was raised to get Charlotte Evans and Kelly Gallagher to the Sochi Paralympics 2014, where they earned Great Britain their first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics. I think that to get anything off the ground a not for profit organisation called Project sub 3 for have to be set up which would make the thing tangible as opposed to just a forum chatroom idea. If succesful it could be developed for other events where we are currently in the doldrums.


                • #9
                  @ Stew-coach, a great idea with the 'small mini relays' competition, please keep us informed.

                  Loop-guru , Some good ideas - am aware of 'justgiving' and I've worked with many not-for-profit organisations ( a good vehicle but perhaps a little premature to set one up)... First what we do need is to test the interest from a 'long list' of potential runners, and thanks to the marvels of modern social media that can be done relatively easily, (though as I have said I have never 'opted-in' to most social media), so some kind of tweet or whatever platform is thought best (I really am not familiar), but simply saying

                  'Project sub 3' - The aim to get a British men's 4 x 400 well under 3 mins and into the Paris 2024 final. We think you might have the potential to be part of this exciting ambition, are you interested in being involved?'

                  From the repsonses (or not) we can judge the level of enthusiasm and take it from there (quite possible Stew-coach will have his event organised by then, and that might provide an oopportune step 2, or, a direct appeal to Christian Malcolm, if any forum user is on familiar terms)

                  The list? A few names have already been mentioned on this thread, who would people include?


                  • Loop-guru
                    Loop-guru commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Everyone down to 48 for 400, 24.5 for 200, 1.50 for 800, 52 for 400mh for the last two years as taken from power of 10.

                  • carterhatch
                    carterhatch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    hmmm... love your enthusiasm but that would be a very long 'long list'. Bearing in mind Paris is in three years time, I think we'd agree that some of those under 48 secs for 400, for example, have given good service but time to move on (Rabah Yousif), and a tight group of 9-10 athletes is probably optimal to manage (with maybe some fluidity as talent emerges) so, we need to focus on contacting 20/30 odd in the first instance including the current incumbents like MHS, Chalmers, Metzger, Ohioze, the young guns mentioned by JimboJames, potential 200 runners such as Hughes, NMB, Ojie (a couple more?), then 800 runners like Kyle Langford, Pattison, et al plus the hurdlers like Okoro, Knibbs and see what respone is elicited.

                    Loop-guru - I sent you a message via this forum system
                    Last edited by carterhatch; 11-08-21, 21:50.

                • #10
                  All this effort for what? We will never beat the US, you have the Jamaicans if they put their best team out - and 4 teams were sub 2.58 in the final l -Botswana and the Dutch also got medals. Rather than manufacturing medals we need 4-6 good 400m specialists not a mix and match from 200 to 800. I think it is wishful thinking until we get som quality 400m runners


                  • #11
                    I think the point is that the two go hand in hand. If you have a chance of a WC/OG final in the relay, you have a chance of funding - something our individual M400m runners don’t have a sniff at. Getting them to focus on that will improve their individual times, so serves both purposes. Bringing together from different events opens the talent pool and maybe some might find this is their better event along the way.

                    It’s also not just about medals but improvement in the event and people being positive about what could be done, rather than just moaning about the state of the event.


                    • #12
                      I have quoted Christy93 from the August results thread (or as I call it, the Ian Hodge appreciation ) as it is in keeping with the purpose of Project Sub3.

                      Seven men under 46s for GBR this year, three of whon are U23s and one is an U20, and most of them weren't in Tokyo. MHS is the oldest of them (26). I know it was disappointing this year, but there is lot of talent there - We just need to develop it.

                      MHS is hugely talented, but we need to get him fit and stable - If we can manage that, we have a proven 44mid runner. Dobson is next on the team sheet for me - I love a 200 man with endurance on that second leg, I think he could put down a really tasty split, and I expect him to be in the 44s before long. Throw in Chalmers, Faulds, Haydock-Wilson, perhaps Brier or Metzger if they continue to progress, and things look quite positive. The ingredients are there to get well under 3mins.

                      Tokyo has been the nadir for the men's 4x400 relay - with the emergence of some shoots of recovery I have drawn up a 'long list' of runners ( around 50 specialists, hurdlers, potential runners from 200/800) but this is where my limited social media becomes an obstacle - in this day and age what is the best platform to contact multiple people with a brief explanation of Project Sub3 and in invite to learn more?

                      I look forward to a reply


                      • Sprintfan
                        Sprintfan commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Include Prescod big lanky guy with good sprint potential across the board......21/23 split for 400?

                    • #13
                      Howzabout publishing the long list and then members on the forum can provide any social media info where known. I also think it would be a good idea to include their coaches.


                      • carterhatch
                        carterhatch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks, Loop-guru, i didn't think to link the coaches, but its a very good idea, so will return when I have added that to the list. I thought there must be one stand out social media platform that might facilitate contact - Twitter, Insta, Whatsapps et al, as I said, I have no idea. ( ps... I did send you a message using AW's forum message centre.)

                    • #14
                      Learmonth must be reading the thread / forum - he’s run the 400m today. 48.06 in the heats, final tomorrow.


                      • carterhatch
                        carterhatch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I do wonder if any active 'elite' athletes read this forum ... but the cut off point for my 'long list' when it came to 800 runners was a 400 of 47 ish, so a little work for him to do until he makes the Project Sub3, but he could be reminding Scotland's selectors of his worth on their CG relay squad... [of course I have tried to post that long list and it has fallen foul of the forum's approval...]
                        Last edited by carterhatch; 15-08-21, 06:55.

                    • #15
                      I have drafted a 'long list' of invitees to 'Project Sub3'. It is not definitive and would welcome comments. i need help to identify the best 'social media' platform to contact each list member, we can then send a message exploring the idea of their involvement. The next stage will depend on the level of interest we elicit.

                      Invitees (just over 40 names in total....)

                      Season’s Best sub 47 (Po10 1 -20) (only one omission - Rabah)

                      Matthew Hudson Smith (no listed coach)
                      Charlie Dobson, U23 (Benke Blomkvist)
                      Edward Faulds, U20 (James Wright)
                      Joseph Brier, U23 (Matt Elias)
                      Cameron Chalmers, (Matt Elias)
                      Alex Haydock-Smith U23 (Michael Baker)
                      Kevin Metxger former TJ (Stephen Ball)
                      Niclas Baker (Piotr Spas)
                      Lee Thomson (John Henson)
                      Michael Ohioze (Dan Tomlin)
                      Efekemo Okoro H (Tony Hadley)
                      Owen Smith (Matt Elias)
                      Jamal Rhoden-Stevens (Donovan Reid)
                      James Williams (Paul Waters)
                      Ben Jefferies U23 (no listed coach)
                      Ethan Brown U23 (listed as Lloyd Cowan)
                      Charlie Cavell U20 (Stuart Hamilton)
                      Lewis Davey U23 listed as (listed as Lloyd Cowan)
                      Toby Harries – (David Sadkin)
                      Brodie Young U20 (James McMenemy)

                      Season Best – 47 and bits (Po10 21 -27) mostly included as age-group athletes and room for development...

                      Rio Mitcham U23 (Leon Baptiste)
                      Samuel Reardon U20 (Nigel Stickings)
                      Thomas Somers (listed as Lloyd Cowan) included as wasn't he once the fastest teenager over 200 ever
                      Alex Knibbs U23 H (Nick Dakin)
                      Aidan Leeson U23 (Glyn Hawkes)
                      Alex Cooper U20 (Grant Barker)

                      200m - based purely on Intuition (given the current situation with CJ Ujah, I am not sure whether Hughes and NMB are in the right place for ideas about relays)

                      Zarnel Hughes (Glen Mills)
                      Nethaneel Mitchell Blake (no coach listed)
                      Miguel Francis (Glen Mills)
                      Andrew Morgan-Harrison (Alex O'Gorman)
                      Ojie Edoburun (Steve fudge)
                      Chad Miller (no coach listed)
                      Danny Talbot (Benke Blomkvist)

                      Hurdlers - in addition to those in the 400 flat Top 30
                      (I looked at the top 10 Hurdlers with a stated 400 of 48 low-ish)

                      Ben Higgins U23 (Michael Baker), training partner of AH-S, ran a fast 400 in 46.xx a day after i started to draft the provisional list!
                      Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong)
                      Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong)
                      Alistair Chalmers (Matt Elias)
                      Adam Booth U20 (Graeme Gourlay)

                      800 ‘converts’ – wasn’t such a fertile search.
                      (I skipped the top 20 or so as there were many coming down from 1500 and others perhaps best left to focus on the 800. Then looked at Po10 from 23 – 43 (sub 1.48) for any stand out 400 times (47ish) - a very crude approach but no one stood out.)

                      Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg)
                      Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan)- mentioned by another forum user
                      Thomas Staines (unknown) - though don’t know where he is at the moment
                      Daniel Rowden (none listed) - I bet he might do a decent opening (long) leg
                      Last edited by carterhatch; 15-08-21, 12:02.


                      • carterhatch
                        carterhatch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thanks AW, for approving on Sunday morning! Didn't think that would happen. I have also sent an email to AW to explain the project and try to get them on board.