A perfect evening at Watford for the third of the BMC Grand Prix meets saw BTC athletes Kurt Taylor and Jack Millar competing over 5000m and Callum Jones over 1500m.
Callum started the season confidently with an 8.11 clocking over 3000m at Birmingham University but faltered on two occasions with dissappointing results over 5000m in Norway and Paris. He approached the 1500m in Watford, his first outing over this distance since a 3.49 clocking on the indoor circuit, not knowing what to expect after the mixed start to the summer. A swift start saw the front of the field go through the first 800m in around 2.01 with Callum a few seconds off the lead group. As the pace slowed a marginally coming into the final lap Jones moved up the field and settled into second place behind a strong looking Scott Halstead of Bracknell AC. A close finish saw Jones finish in 4th place in a much more promising time of 3.48, his fastest ever opening 1500m race.
Jack Millar went off in a very strong and closely packed B 5000m race. In-form Finn McNally set the early pace behind the pacer who had been tasked with 67/68 seconds per lap, a tall order for even the fastest runners in this race. Millar sensibly sat off the early pace and finished well in a time of 14.24, only a few seconds off his personal best of 14.20.
As the sun set behind the trees surrounding the Woodford Green Stadium and the high temperatures began to drop nicely the stage was set for Kurt Taylor in the final race of the evening, the Men's 5000m A race. Taylor had already proven early form with a 14.13 clocking at Birmingham University at the first BMC GP and followed his performance with some extremely high quality sessions at Whitehall Track over the months following. Another personal best was surely on the cards, but it was the whispers about the possibility of a sub-14 performance echoing among teammates that had us watching with bated breath.
Pacers in the A race were scheduled to take the field through in 65 seconds per lap which Taylor sensibly identified as too fast. Jones, now suitably recovered after his earlier 1500m race, stepped into help his teammate, by setting a more reasonable early pace of 68's, a pace that if continued would result in a 14.10 clocking. Jones did his job until 2.6km at which point Kurt was left in small pack of 4 or 5 other runners who were all looking ready to push the pace. Kurt stayed steady at 68's for another kilometre and looked certain to run under 14.10. Teammates Moody, Jones and Millar watched nervously on the home straight.
With 800m to go Taylor increased the pace significantly and went to the front of the second group. With one lap to go Taylor increased the pace once again and closed in an impressive 62 second final lap rewarding him with a new personal best and BTC record of 14.02.
The race for sub 14 is still on!
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