THE British Milers’ Club was set-up in the 1960s to improve the standards of British middle distance running.
And through its racing programme and training courses, its mission now embraces all corners of the UK.
Throughout the summer months they stage four regional races at Maiden Castle over 800m and 1500m.
Athletes from under-13 to veterans can compete in series of paced graded races, according to their ability.
They are organized by Durham- based coach Dave Lowes, a former Gateshead Harrier and international 5000m runner (PB13.43.99) in 1975 and now a BMC officer.
On Monday evening, athletes and coaches gathered at Maiden Castle for a series of nine 800m races. Conditions were perfect for fast times and hopes of personal bests were on the agenda for most of those taking part.
The A race, scheduled for 8.00pm, saw Sunderland Harrier Michael Wilson, 18, among the entries. The North East junior 800m champion’s main rivals were 15-year-old Markim Lonsdale, the the sensational Crook athlete, who tops the British under-17 ranking lists in both the 800m and 1500m. His best 800m time is 1.52. Morpeth’s Richard Morrell, who has recorded 3.45.76 for 1500m this year, was Wilson’s other considered rival.
The pacemaker was Birtley athlete Adrian Bailes, the North East 1500m under-20 champion, who was asked to take the field through the first lap in 53.5. But he could only manage 54.7 before dropping out. Wilson, who passed the bell in 55 seconds, was left out on his own and powered on to open a useful gap over Morrell and Lonsdale. He was now effectively the pacemaker and a target to be shot at. But he held on to cross the finish line in 1.52.6, just outside his best of 1.52.01. Morrell was second (1.53.0) and Lonsdale third (1.53.1).
Wilson now heads to the English Schools’ Championships, a week on Friday, where he contests the senior boys’ 800m and Lonsdale is also in the Durham team and he competes in the Intermediates 1500m, where his best stands at 3.52.9.
Wilson’s clubmate Nathan Reed showed grit and determination to improve his PB in his race. He won in 1.56.1 to slice two tenths of a second off his previous best. There was also a win for Mark Smith in the final race of the night in his debut over the distance. The Fulwell 16-year-old scorched round the last lap in 60 seconds to finish in a well deserved 2.04.8. Ben Craig finished second in his race to improve his quickest time over the distance to 2.03.3.
Houghton Harriers were also well represented and all their young athletes travelled home delighted after clocking their fastest ever times.
Their biggest improver was tiny under-13 Henry Johnson who chopped nearly seven seconds off his PB with his run of 2.25.8. Also clocking a big PB was under-15 Jamie Reed improving from 2.19.9 to 2.14.3. Under-17 Eleanor Daglish recorded 2.20.4 and under-13 Eva Hardie 2.33.7 in their respective races to continue their improvement.
Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett (Birtley) added to the parade with her fastest run of 2.13.9 in winning her race.
The slick and efficient milers’ club meeting was all over well before 9.00pm, a credit to Lowes and his team, who put on a meeting which was both entertaining and beneficial to the those athletes and supporters in attendance.
H The Hamsterley Forest multi-terrain race on Sunday starts at10.30am. Late entries are available.