16th – 17th June 2018
I went to watch the track and field national champs since they were at Bedford, so it would be a short journey for me. Here, the level of competition is at the very top. The best in Great Britain compete to see who is the best of the best, and to see if they can get selected to compete for GB in Europe or against the world. I came primarily to watch Yusuf Bizimana, a 1500m runner I train with occasionally who has been very supportive of me since I began training with him to build up my speed.
Saturday – 1500m Heats
There were enough people for there to be two heats in the 1500m. 8 people in each heat with the four fastest in each heat going through to the finals plus the four fastest loser’s (the people who didn’t come top four with the four quickest times).
The race was run at a steady quick pace, to begin with going through the first lap in around 63 seconds and 800m in 2:06, leading to an evenly run race with the four quickest times ranging from 3:59.12 to 3:59.74.
Yusuf was running in this race. Since there were 8 people in each heat and the four fastest loser’s would qualify for the finals, everyone knew that if they ran an even race at sub 4 minute pace, they would qualify. This was totally feasible considering the qualifying standard to enter was 3:58 and many could run quite a bit under that standard.
The race went very differently though with the first lap being run in 69 seconds and everyone going through 800m in 2:16. This lead to a blisteringly quick last lap as everyone fought to qualify for a spot in the finals. The last lap was run in 56 seconds with the four quickest times ranging from 4:00.57 to 4:01.08. Yusuf managed to come 4th, securing himself a place in the finals.
Sunday – 1500m Finals
The race was going to be intense. Running, were top contenders like Jake Heyward, Luke Duffy, Thomas Keen, Joshua Lay, Benjamin Davies and Yusuf Bizimana. All with 1500m pb’s below 3:51. Jake Heyward was the big dog in the race with a pb of 3:39, at least 8 seconds quicker than that of anyone else in the race having run at the Diamond League in Oslo a few weeks prior.
The race went off at a similar pace to that of heat 2 yesterday, the first lap in 68 seconds and 800m in 2:15. It was exciting to watch everyone run and see their faces of determination. It was going to be a big long sprint on the last lap. At the bell, everyone took off. Yusuf was in 6th place up to around the last 150m where everyone was really feeling the burn. Then he took off and went into 4th coming down the home straight, taking 3rd place after overtaking Joshua Lay in the last 100m.
Race Reflection (not from me though!)
From a spectator’s point of few, the race was very exciting to watch and I was thrilled to see Yusuf take 3rd place even though it wasn’t the first he wanted (and everyone else wanted), but here’s a little post-race interview from him! Hopefully, I’ll meet the standard required to race at nationals next year and gain some invaluable experience by competing at such a high level of competition!