This weekend I had the privilege of watching the 800m final at the England National Champs in Bedford for the under 20 and under 23 men and women. The 800m race was also for a selection for European Champs with selectors for the Great Britain team avidly watching.

Max Burgin – Breaking Records

2018

Max Burgin first really made an entrance in 2018 when he set a new world age record for the 800m running 1:47.50 at a BMC race in Sportcity, Manchester shortly before his 16th birthday. Almost 2 months later he ran 1:47.36 at the age of 16 comfortably winning the European Athletics U18 Championships and running a new world age record.

2019

Max had a late debut in the 800m at the Loughborough BMC Grand Prix on the 15th June winning the race in 1:46.80 stunning everyone watching yet again. A week later, he ran in the 1st heat of the England Athletics U20 800m Championships winning comfortably in 1:52.10 after going through the first 400m in 54 seconds. The next day he was due to run in the 800m final.

800m Final Startlist

After 3 heats of 800m on Saturday, the 800m final of the under 20 men was going to be stacked with high-quality competition. Those in the race included:

  1. Ben Pattison (PB – 1:48.73)*
  2. Yusuf Bizimana (PB – 1:50.17)*
  3. Max Burgin – (PB – 1:46.80)*
  4. Oliver Dustin (PB – 1:48.01)
  5. Finley Mclear (PB – 1:48.91)*
  6. Alex Botterill (PB – 1:47.95)
  7. Ben Lee – (PB – 1:51.37)*
  8. Oliver Carvell (PB – 1:50.03)*

* PB before the 800m final

800m Final Race

The gun went off and all the runners got out steadily. Nothing particularly outstanding happening yet, but I was expecting Max Burgin to go off and do his ‘thing’ which is running to the front of the pack and not letting anyone get ahead. After all, why would he if he knows he’s fastest in the field and believes no one can catch him? It’s how he’s won many of his 800m races.

From 100m to 200m it starts to get separated. Max Burgin starts increasing his stride and brings himself to the front, Oliver Dustin and Ben Pattison are following closely trying to stick with the pace, with Yusuf Bizimana in 4th.

From 200m to 400m the positions remain similar with Max Burgin being followed by Oliver Dustin in 2nd. Alex Botteril and Ben Lee are closing in on Yusuf Bizimana and Ben Pattison.

Max Burgin goes through 400m in 52.01 seconds. I could not believe how fast they were going through 400m. For most (I’d probably say all except Max), this was new territory. They’d never run the first 400m of an 800m so fast.

From 400m, Max Burgin continued to string out his 5-metre lead with Oliver Dustin in hot pursuit. Ben Pattison in 3rd and Alex Botteril is overtaking Yusuf Bizimana to take 4th position.

From 500m at around the 550m mark, Max Burgin begins to extend his lead even further. Ben Pattison and Finley Mclear surge past Oliver Dustin and suddenly with 200m, everyone is going past him.

Max Burgin extends his lead further, Ben Pattison looks securely in second. Finley Mclear (who was in 7th at the end of the first lap) is starting to kick, fighting with Alex Botterill for 3rd place.

Finley Mclear pushes past Alex Botterill who can’t quite hold the pace.

Max Burgin crosses the line and there’s a short silence as we wait for the time to flash on the clock.

Max Burgin 800m final lap - photo by lissgphotography
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Max Burgin 800m final lap – photo by lissgphotography

1:45.36

Everyone goes wild. I could not believe I was seeing such a phenomenal performance in front of my eyes. I’m pretty sure that’s another world age record for a 17 year old in the 800m (although I may be wrong). One of the people involved in the GB team selection is going crazy close by saying “this is ridiculous, do you know how fast that is?! For a 17 year old boy!?”

It was absolutely amazing to watch and well done to everyone who ran in the 800m final. That’s some serious competition there and it was such a great race to watch.

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800m Final Results And Race Footage

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Thanks to @lissgphotography for the photos! And well done to everyone who competed at nationals this weekend!