After a fantastic night in LA, what would On Track Nights London bring?
The Glastonbury of Track
Take one part music festival, add in a pinch of family fun day and cover with a generous helping of incredible athletes and you end up with On Track Night’s London. As the crowds rise and the sun sets the paces on the track rocket. Among many personal bests from athletes in each of the heats, British Champions were also crowned.
Specs: the Adidas Boston 12 is lighter and lower
At 286g in my size US11 / EU45, the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is much lighter than the Boston 10. Note that I did not test the Boston 11 (and that was on purpose as I didn’t see much changes compared to the 10). My Boston 10 came in at 333g which added to the clunkiness of the shoe.
The Boston 12 also gets closer to the ground with a 2mm reduction of stack in the heel. It moves from the 39mm heel in the Boston 10 and 11 to 37mm and changing the 8mm drop for a 6.5mm one instead. This remains quite far from the Boston “standards” but it definitely helps on the weight side of things.
The Women’s 10,00m Final
With crowds lining both sides of the track, the co-main event of On Track Nights London was set to begin. Slightly cooler temperatures that we had during the day were sure to help performances on the track. Jess Warner-Judd was looking to retain her British Championship in a strong field with Samantha Harrison and Amy-Eloise Markovc all vying for honours after making the top 3 last year.
From the gun, the pacer and lead racers stuck with the WaveLight which was set at 30:40, well under the track record of 31:08 set by Steph Twell in 2019. The front pack had a real international flavour with multiple time European cross country chapion Nadia Battocletti, NCAA 10,000m and cross country champion Weini Kelati and Mizan Alem leading the pack. Markovc stuck with the pack as the lead British athlete until the 3,200m mark when the pace started to take its toll. This was also the point when Alem began to push past the WaveLight. Would On Track Nights London see something special?
With 10 laps down, Alem began to really drop the hammer, 70 to 71 second laps to build a sizeable gap on the chasing pack. The crowd, amazing as ever, boosted the athletes coming through the wall of noise which is the Lactic Tunnel of Love. From the 3k mark, the effortless stride of Alem pushed her clear of the field, constantly increasing the pace and gap to those behind. Markovc, Harrison and Warner-Judd were battling for the British Championship places and hopeful qualification for Budapest.
What was On Track Nights London about to witness?
By this stage, Alem had left the WaveLight along with her competitors in the distance. Could she hold the pace for the final 3k? Metronomic lap followed lap, eating the distance with smooth, controlled strides Alem dominated the race. On Track Nights London was set to deliver something special. The battle for British supremacy was looking like a shootout between Harrison and Warner-Judd. Coming into the final lap, the crowd roared Alem around, pulling her to an incredible 29:59.03 a British soil record, course record and the 11th fastest woman in the world over 10,000m. Kelati and Battocletti rounded out the top 3 in 31:04.16 and 31:06.42 respectively.
In the British Championships, Warner-Judd retained her crown in a season’s best 31:09.28
The Men’s 10,000m Final
After the incredible performance in the women’s race, the On Track Nights London crowd were ready to end their night with a bang. The star of the field was Paul Chelimo with two Olympic and one World Championships medal to his name. Could he be as dominant as Alem? The WaveLight were set for the World Athletics qualifying time of 27:10. Again, the British Championships were to be settled with Andrew Butchart the favourite and Scottish record holder.
From the gun Butchart elbowed his way to the front of the pack as the field soon spread the length of the home straight. The opening lap of 65 seconds put them inside the qualifying time. Chelimo started conservatively, sitting with the lead pack but not showing much interest in taking the lead yet. Behind the pacers, Butchart, Ren Tazawa and Tedesse Getahon led the way.
Around the 3,200m mark, Chelimo began to move through the field. Abrha pushed past the pacers to raise the tempo and shoot for an Ethiopian double for the evening. The lead pack at this point were running consistent 65 second laps, keeping pace with the WaveLight and possible qualification. Butchart was still hanging on to the main pack and the lead in the British Championship.
Would we get the qualifying time?
Coming through the 5,000m mark in 13:36.34, Chelimo pressed into the lead, determined to attack the time and push his way into contention for an American team place. The crowd, DJs and entertainers were all adding to the On Track Nights London atmosphere which pushes the athletes beyond their limits. This spurred Chelimo on, leaving the pack behind and hanging on to the WaveLight.
From the 7,000m mark, it was all Chelimo. The WaveLight adding to the drama, who would reach the finish first? The American or the rapidly advancing red lights? Each lap, the crowd noise grew. Pushing Chelimo on as he lapped the back markers. Coming into the last 800, the grimace etched on his face, Chelimo needed a 55 second lap to beat the 27:10 mark. Sadly, the final lap was not enough to push under 27:10 but a 27:12.73 was an On Track Nights London course record and a personal best.
Vincent Mutai and Getahon filled the podium in 27:31.31 and 27:33.99. The finish of the evening went to Butchart who acquired a beer on his final trip through the Tunnel of Love and downed it across the line to claim the British championship in a season’s best 27:47.43.
What’s next for On Track Nights?
An excellent night of racing was drawn to a close, the On Track Nights series continues in Paris, then Vienna before concluding in Melbourne. If you get the chance, pop along and experience some amazing athletics in a unique atmosphere.
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