2019 Award Winners

Male athlete of the year: Jake Wightman.

Nominated: Elliot Giles and Callum Hawkins

Great Britain international Wightman and his coach/father Geoff have not only been big supporters of the BMC for many years but they are also are keen students of the history of the organisation and the sport.

So it was no surprise that the Watford Grand Prix Wightman had the BMC record of 1mins 45.10secs, set by Richard Hill 15 years ago, in his mind as one of the strongest fields of the summer lined up.

In a cracking race Wightman led the top three under 1mins 46secs as he clocked 1:45.55 to dip inside the Word Championships qualifying standard of 1:45.8.

He may have just missed out on that record but it was arguably the highlight of the Grand Prix victories of the summer and for Wightman was an important stepping stone towards the Worlds, in which he finished a fine fifth in a lifetime best 3:31.87.


Female athlete: Laura Muir.

Nominated: Ciarra Mageean and Sarah McDonald.

Laura Muir got the new year off to an explosive start when she lined up for the BMC 5000m at the Emirates Arena in January and scorched to a superb time of 14mins 52.02secs, not far off her British indoor record of 14:49.12 set two years earlier at the same venue.

The win proved a launchpad for Muir’s marvelous golden double at 1500m and 3000m, also in Glasgow, a few months later before going on to enjoy a big summer as she finished fifth in the Worlds over 1500m and won the Diamond League Anniversary Games 1500m in London. She also finished 2019 as the UK No1 at both 800m and 1500m and third over 5000m.

On the evidence of her first indoor meeting this year, when she just missed her PB by 0.02secs with 1:58.44 in Glasgow on February 1st, the signs were encouraging for Muir ahead of Olympic year. Sadly, we will now never know.


Male young athlete: Max Burgin.

Nominated: Alex Botterill and Oliver Dustin.

Max Burgin delivered one of the best moments of the Grand Prix season to earn him this award as the 17-year-old produced a fearless front-running performance to win the A 800m at Loughborough in a then personal best time of 1:46.80.

It was a performance that got everyone talking and, as the statistics subsequently proved, with good reason. Burgin’s time eclipsed British legend and Olympic champion Steve Ovett’s UK Age 17 record of 1:47.35 set 46 years ago, lifted him to seventh in the UK All-Time U20 Rankings and broke Markhim Lonsdale’s British Milers’ Club junior men’s members record of 1:46.97 set in 2017.

Burgin went on to better that time with 1:45.36 to win the England Athletics U20s title but sadly injury then derailed his season.


Female young athlete: Isabelle Boffey.

Nominated: Keely Hodgkinson.

In contrast the European Under 20 Championships in Sweden proved to be the highlight of Isabella Boffey’s season. Running a tactically astute race Boffey took control of the race in the closing stages to clinch a superb victory in a personal best time of 2:02.92, which ensured she ended 2019 top of the UK Rankings for under 20 women.

Coached by Luke Gunn, who was nominated for the coach of the year award, Enfield and Haringey athlete Boffey also ran a PB of 4:20.67 in the 1500m at the Loughborough International.


Coach of the year: Andrew Henderson.

Nominated: Luke Gunn.

Open to all coaches who are members of the BMC Leeds Carnegie’s Henderson proved to be a popular winner.

“What I like about Andy is that he is a coach with a group of athletes incorporating a wide range of abilities, from international level to club level,” said BMC chairman Tim Brennan.

“He is also a coach who takes club athletes and makes them better and brings them through the sport; he is not just a coach who inherits top athletes.

“He also works closely with the BMC in organising races and helping with coaching conferences and has become a valuable member of our community. He is a very worthy winner.”


Lifetime services to coaching award: Phil O’Dell.

Nominated: Andy Carter, Bill Foster and Peter Thompson.

Phil O’Dell is one of those selfless coaches whose satisfaction comes from improving his athletes and fulfilling their potential – and not seeking any headlines for doing so.

“I have known Phil for a long time and he is one of those guys who gets things done,” said Brennan.

“He works with many different groups of athletes at Bedford, Cambridge University and Battersea and is one of those guys who never seeks the limelight or goes around telling people how good he is.

“He just gets on with the job of coaching, takes on athletes of all abilities and has a proven history of bringing through to a higher level.

“His contribution to our sport has been huge and he is a worthy winner of this award.”


Frank Horwill award for outstanding services to the BMC: Paul Hayes.

While all the above awards are voted upon this one is reserved as the BMC chairman’s choice as a tribute to Frank Horwill, the organisation’s founder and driving force for so many years.

“Paul is one of the most willing people to have around at the Grand Prix meetings during the summer,” explained Brennan.

“I think he has done every role at those meetings; from announcing to manning the gate and taking the money.

“In recent years he has also taken on the responsibility of putting up all the banners and flags, which takes a lot of time well ahead of the start of the meeting.

“Away from the Grand Prix circuit Paul is heavily involved in putting on BMC races at Tipton and Birmingham University. Over the years he has been a huge servant to the BMC and made a massive contribution to its success.”