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UK 800m - state of play

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  • The issue for Laura is that both of the top 2 probably have enough turn of speed to deal with her tactics, whatever they might have been. I suspect in a normal year (I.e. not three champs!) she’d have gone for it, as nothing to lose doubling up

    I wonder her plans for Euros, because we are currently 1,2,3 and she might fancy another double to get a medal, and may be fresher than normal given she’s had a late start to the season anyway, despite it being the third champs - the schedule for both CWG and Euros isn’t as demanding as it could be


    • A word about the men’s 800 …

      I started the year with a euphoric hangover from 2021, when we had 8 runners under 1:45. Moreover, I’d got carried away and thought the likes of Burgin, Dustin and Rowden would rule the world! [ I don’t think I was the only one J ] As we now know, none of these made any finals for various reasons; some didn’t even show their face in this busiest of seasons with three championships in short order.

      I hope Burgin is recovering well. A fit, injury/illness free Burgin is a genuinely exciting prospect. Rowden didn’t seem to have the kick he had demonstrated in previous seasons, but I am still hopeful that eventually he will run regular sub 1:44. The mystery of Dustin’s lost form might yet be solved. The emergence of Pattison was a small compensation, though his race craft will certainly need honing if he is to contend.

      The best result for the men came from Wightman in, it is fair to say, his secondary event. Indeed the 1500 lads will continue to dabble over two laps and ‘cause selection headaches; Gourley is surprisingly 4th on Po10 this season.

      Conversely Giles may find the 1500 just a little too hot, and selection opportunities very limited, so out of necessity return his focus to 800, but is he likely to ever rediscover the blistering form of his 2021 indoor campaign.

      A slightly rejuvenated Kyle Langford and a late call up to the CGs for Jamie Webb, didn’t give either any real opportunity to stake claims to be included in next year’s funding list. One lad who was funded hardly showed at all, Thomas Randolph [injury, illness? Though he did run recently] while another young pretender, Archie Davis didn’t replicate his 2021 form.

      Someone who I’ve tracked for a few years was Thomas Staines, and after a promising start to the season, didn’t seem to ‘kick-on’ from there, and I know a few forum users rate Sam Reardon highly as one for the future. No doubt next season will have someone emerge.

      Men’s 800m is in a good place, but it could have been epic…
      Last edited by carterhatch; 24-08-22, 16:02.


      • Ethan Hussey got the World Junior bronze too.

        The thing that is most important to me is that having this sort of depth forces the top to be good, in order to survive. It's like the US with sprints - if you have enough darts, you'll get a bullseye or two.

        E.g. on the men's side, in 2012 to be ranked top 10 you had to run 1:47.80 and 22 men broke 1:49. In 2017 you needed 1:47.29 for top 10 and 32 men broke 1:49. Now, 10th place is 1:45.56 and 39 men are under 1:49, with 18 men under 1:47 (so ~ the same number of men under 1:47 as under 1:49 in 2012). That means, in order to even make a Uk Champs Final you're looking at needing to be a 1:46 runner at worst, which forces the standards high.


        • Spot on analysis there MysteryBrick

          And if it's true for the men's 800m, it's almost more so in the women's event. Being a promising junior like Isabelle Boffey, who won all the European age group gold medals, from U18s, U20s and U23s over the distance, would have seen her among the very top contenders for a spot on at least a European Championships GB squad, just a decade or so ago. But peppering the 2:01/2:02 region is just not cutting it in the age of Hodgkinson, Reekie, Bell and a host of others.

          Including Adelle Tracey's times and Katy Ann McDonald's (before the former's change of allegiance and the latter's injury), 8 women have run under 2:01 this year, and another 4 have gone sub 2:03 - which includes U20 Abigail Ives. Just to make any GB team at the UK Olympic Trials, you might need to run under 2 minutes to get in the top 2!

          Higher standards lead to better performances and a greater base of athletes to build from as a result.
          Last edited by RunUnlimited; 25-08-22, 10:46.


          • Well put RunUnlimited - The 800 ladies don't get the appreciation they deserve, and ranks look set to strengthen. Abigail Ives looks a very stylish runner, and I was scrolling Pof10 when I spotted a recent 4.14 from Phoebe Gill to go with her front running 2.03. She'll still be an U20 in 2026 (!!!).

            Speaking of U20s - There can't be many countries with better NRs than Britains junior records (1.55/3.59) in womens middle distance events? USA, Kenya, Netherlands, China* and Russia* are the only ones off the top of my head. Must be a few others, but not too many.


            • Netherlands? Which athlete(s) are you thinking of? I’d have thought Ethiopia more likely.

              Edit: Scrap that - realised you meant national senior records! Romania, probably up there?
              Last edited by jjimbojames; 24-08-22, 22:34.


              • MysteryBrick
                MysteryBrick commented
                Editing a comment
                Over 800m, the only nations faster than Keely's 1:55.88 are:
                South Africa

                And over 1500m, the Burundian, Cuban, Czech, Mozambican, Slovenian and South African records are slower than Zola Budd's junior time.

                So you answer is, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Kenya, Netherlands, Romania, Russia and the USA.

              • Christy93
                Christy93 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hassan & van Langen were who I had in mind for the Dutch. I had Ivan and Melinte for Romania - Not sure why I omitted them.
                Last edited by Christy93; 25-08-22, 02:44.

            • BTW, a point that I forgot to mention when Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m gold in Munich.

              It was a particularly poignant victory, both because of the precociousness of Keely's talent and also the place it occurred at.

              The last talent that the UK had over the middle distances of such a young age and achieved so much, was Lillian Board. Olympic silver medallist over 400m in 1968 aged 19 (not only matching the achievement of Ann Packer in the Tokyo games 4 years earlier, but improving on the 800m gold medallist's 400m British record too), then a double European gold medal winner, over 800m and the 4x400m relay, in the Athens European Championships a year later.

              She could have gone on to be the first women to break the 2 minute barrier, a feat not achieved until the 1972 Olympic Games, in the very same stadium that Hodgkinson would make her place in history.

              But alas, as we all know too well, Lillian Board would never get the opportunity to compete for the Olympic gold medal her boundless talent seemed to be aiming at. She would die from bowel cancer only diagnosed properly a few months earlier, and with cruel irony, in a Munich hospital just 13 days after her 22nd birthday, in 1970.

              Such was the impact that Board had on women's international athletics during her tragically cut short life, that not long after her funeral, an avenue leading up to the Munich Olympic Stadium would bare her name: Lillian Board Weg (Lillian Board Way).

              So it was most fitting that Keely would win here in the venue that honoured Board's passing so.


              • Originally posted by Christy93
                Well put RunUnlimited - The 800 ladies don't get the appreciation they deserve, and ranks look set to strengthen.
                I think one reason for that is that there has been a fairly solid pecking order of 800 specialists* on the women's side over the last couple of season's - Hodgkinson, Reekie, Bell, Baker etc. Those below these haven't been making teams and people perhaps haven't noticed that is often only because there are others taking all the spots, not that they weren't qualified themselves.

                *I did that because i wasn't sure where to put Laura Muir!


                • Whilst it is true that we as fans tend to benefit from more athletes at the top level, meaning stronger GB teams, I can also see from an athlete's POV, if you aren't already at the very top level, you have to ensure you have the right people around you to make sure that you don't get disallusioned with the sport and lose out on the chance of making that breakthrough at a later stage in your career.

                  Means that we have to ensure we have the right coaches out there, the right governing body set up and enough quality events to help encourage athletes to keep at it rather than drifting off elsewhere. Lots of work for all involved to do!


                  • Do we know if Shelyna Oskan Clarke has retired? Shame if she has but a career with some great moments she can look back on.


                    • Originally posted by MysteryBrick
                      Ethan Hussey got the World Junior bronze too.

                      The thing that is most important to me is that having this sort of depth forces the top to be good, in order to survive. It's like the US with sprints - if you have enough darts, you'll get a bullseye or two.

                      E.g. on the men's side, in 2012 to be ranked top 10 you had to run 1:47.80 and 22 men broke 1:49. In 2017 you needed 1:47.29 for top 10 and 32 men broke 1:49. Now, 10th place is 1:45.56 and 39 men are under 1:49, with 18 men under 1:47 (so ~ the same number of men under 1:47 as under 1:49 in 2012). That means, in order to even make a Uk Champs Final you're looking at needing to be a 1:46 runner at worst, which forces the standards high.
                      And in 2012 we had a finalist in the OG final at 800m who ran rather quickly, but in 2021 with all the stats about the wonders of our 800m athletes we had none and this year at the WC, I forget how many 800m finalists at the worlds. I regard Mysterys statistical stuff as rather meaningless. Standards up.,but winners and medalists at globals , none, I believe. The shoes help the numbers and that's for sure.
                      worry not , keep talking our mid distance guys up.


                      • The criteria of having no world finalists this year or Olympic finalists last year is baffling. It is not the only mark of progress or success within the event. Really strikes as clutching at straws.

                        Look at the mens 1500m, a greater strength in depth will see greater success at the top end.

                        The shoes are a mute point when comparing the UK guys against the rest of the world. Apart from Kenya perhaps no one else is seeing the strength in depth in the event as in the UK


                        • jjimbojames
                          jjimbojames commented
                          Editing a comment
                          It’s an inconsistent measure - finalists by nature have to take into account the strength of people outside of any sample (I.e if the UK had finalists, it could be UK strength, other countries’ weaker or both).

                          Also - if we’re saying no 800m finalists = poor, then by inference, 1500m = super strong, as lots of finalists over the OG and WC

                      • Fair enough if Marilyn wants to temper any enthusiasm he may have about our male 800m runners until they win medals. But looking for potential and getting excited about it has always been part of what sports fans do. That doesn't make you naive or unrealistic. And we have more strength in depth now than we've ever had.

                        Any objective observer has to see that if Burgin can front run a 1:43, he has the ability to run 1:42. I think he's every bit as exciting as Ovett was when he emerged in 74 and Coe in 78. On the women's side, Abigail Ives looks like the real deal.


                        • RunUnlimited
                          RunUnlimited commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Add Phoebe Gill (with all the usual caveats about such a young athlete) to that "real deal" list too.

                          And but for Burgin's horrible luck with injury this year, it's very possible he could have won gold in Eugene, Birmingham or Munich, such is his talent. As you say, you don't front run 1:43, while holding off some of the world's best 800m runners, without it.

                      • Someone noted on the forum recently that Max Burgin had posted encouraging social media from overseas training and Ben Pattison has emerged with a 1500 at BUCS Outdoors so thought it time to dust off the event’s ‘state of play’.

                        If all the main protagonists are fit and healthy [unlikely] this event will continue to be a highlight.

                        The ‘1500’ guys will surely continue to dabble. My male British athlete of the indoor season, Gourley, might well rewrite his 800 PB. Jake Wightman has the luxury of only one main event this season and might try to ‘double-up’ as his 1.43 makes him part of the podium conversation. Getting through trials will be a challenge though as skipping 1500s and leaving it up to the ‘discretion’ of the selectors will prove problematic I suspect.

                        Daniel Rowden hasn’t kicked on from a couple of seasons back when he looked to be on the cusp of ‘world class’ and I know many on this forum rate Samuel Reardon but I think it better he is one who works his way through age groups.

                        Will Kyle Langford continue to confound? Has he not gone to the US with a new training setup? A PB last season suggests a good winter and he might yet have an impact on top 3 at trials, which given the right conditions, [no guarantee in sunny Manchester] could demand a minimum of 1.45 be needed to just make the final.

                        Does anyone have any ‘intel’ on Elliot Giles. He did not run his usual indoor season and approaching the later part of his career he might not be the influence of previous years. One or two others of the older guard wil certainly be staking their claim, Jamie Webb and Learmonth, but I suspect they will struggle to make it through the heats at trials. Where I anticipate at least one more young name to emerge, talking of which … Any update on Oliver Dustin, or is he firmly in the ‘what could have been’ discussion.

                        2022 ‘only’ had ten 1.45 or better runners, down on the mighty impressive 14 in the previous season… any guesses what this season might produce?


                        • CAML
                          CAML commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Dustin is the interesting one. For a few weeks in 2021, he looked like a world class athlete. Since then, nada.

                      • Kyle Langford is portrayed as being erratic and no-one knows what quite to expect from him each season (eg which Kyle Langford will show up today) but in one sense Kyle has displayed a nice progression through the years. His PB has improved since 2012 every year bar 2 years, namely 2016 & 2021 (probably pandemic inluence at work). His year by year improvement has gone 2012 - 1:51:31, 2013 - 1:48:32, 2014 - 1:47:41, 2015 - 1:45:78, 2017 - 1:45:25, 2018 - 1:45:16, 2019 - 1:44:97, 2020 - 1:44:83, 2022 - 1:44:49 One thing I look for in assesing the potential majors success is whether they can produce their absolute fastest time of the year when it matters & Kyle has managed this twice so far in his career Coming 2nd in the Commonwealth Games 2017 & 4th in the World Champs 2018. His 400M PB has improved to 47.10. A big ask given the strength in depth in this country but Kyle should be trageting sub 1:44 at the worlds in the final & then who knows. I do believe Kyle has got a major medal in him injuries permitting.


                        • carterhatch
                          carterhatch commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I don't disagree that he could run a sub 1:44 and has a major medal in him... but first he has to negotiate 'trials'! Plus a strategy of leaving it to a 'mad dash' down the final straight from way back wont work...

                        • Runner88
                          Runner88 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          He would already have a major medal had the Kenyan that pipped him to a medal in 2017 been done for doping at the right time. Must still sting to be classed as 4th behind a now convicted cheat

                        • Loop-guru
                          Loop-guru commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I do actually think that is the approach thiat his set-up has arrived at as the best bet for his abilities. When he has tried running from the front or sit & kick this has tended to end badly. If he went with 1:42 / 1:43 runners who will probably set off at 1:40 pace it will only end with him running in treacle. It's his only chance at doing something at the world level. When he was 4th at the Worlds, he ran 1:45, the sport has moved on & he may not even make the british team with that sort of time now.