Live scoreboard HERE (For on the day start lists, results and running clock)
ON many occasions in the past the SportCity Grand Prix has launched an exciting summer of racing for the British Milers’ Club and this weekend looks like it will be no different for the eagerly-anticipated 2023 campaign.
“Entries have been going crazy and we have had so much interest which is really good for the opening Grand Prix,” said Steve Green, who is jointly organising the event with club President Norman Poole and help from Dave Norman.
“We have close to a total entries of 500 over 33 races which I believe maybe a BMC record. We are all really looking forward to Saturday.”
Quite often one event stands out for the quality of its field and again this year is no different with a top class international field lining up for the women’s 800m A race, a fitting reflection of the Grand Prix’s status as part of the 2023 World Athletics Continental Tour.
From Australia Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell will be joined on the startline by Ireland’s Ciara Mageean, the reigning European 1500m silver medallist who opened her outdoor season with 2:00.36 in Belfast earlier this month.
The last time Lynsey Sharp raced the Grand Prix at SportCity was in 2019 and she won the race in 2:06.56 at the start of a season which led to the World Championships in Doha.
A lot has happened in Sharp’s life since then including becoming a mother so it is great to see her back racing again having returned to BMC action with second place (2:04.71) in the Gold Standard meeting at Trafford on May 16th.
That sort of time may not concern either Caldwell or Mageean but Sharp is a fierce competitor and she’ll be keen to get in the mix and continue her comeback with a fast time.
Add in rising teenage star Phoebe Gill, who clocked 2:03.10 at Watford recently, Khahisa Mhlanga, junior Ella Greenway and Erin Wallace and no wonder Green is excited.
“The women’s 800m A race is a real stellar event and it should be fascinating to see how it develops,” added Green.
“It is good to have a race with so many proven recent medallists as they will be racing to win.”
The men’s A race also has an international flavour with Brazil’s Leandro Alves Prates heading the field as he targets a time of 1min 45secs.
He’ll be given the pace to attack that and can expect a strong British contingent, boasting David Locke, Daniel Howells, Alex Botterill, who ran a big PB of 3:42.04 over 1500m to win at Trafford recently and Rocco Zaman-Browne, to be right on his heels.
Norman has been working hard with Green and Poole to pull together a strong entry for the 5000m races and he should be happy with the athletes heading to Manchester on Saturday.
The presence of Emile Cairess in the A race provides star quality as the Leeds City international returns to the track for the first time after his scorching debut of 2:08.07 for sixth place in the TCS London Marathon last month.
The GB international boasts a lifetime best of 13:26.40 from last year and has stated he is looking to run around 13:30 on Saturday.
“It is great to have Emile at the meeting and it will be really interesting to see how that race develops,” added Green.
There will be three good quality men’s 5000m races and two women’s races, which is another welcome development for the organising team.
One of the top entries in the women’s race is Calli Thackery, who won at Watford, Trafford and Loughborough last year. Her rivals know exactly what they will get from Thackery in the field but whether they can do anything to stop her remains to be seen.
Regarded as one of the most iconic events in athletics and boasting a list of winners that reads like a who’s who of middle-distance running greats it is a welcome return to the BMC for the prestigious Emsley Carr mile.
The move has arisen due to the support from the British Athletics Supporters Club with Marc Hope, Marketing and Stakeholder Engagement Lead, explaining the decision.
“With the current crop of talented athletes, emerging stars and a great heritage, Britain has a lot to be proud of in middle distance racing,” said Hope.
“British Athletics Supporters Club is delighted to partner with BMC to further support British athletes by sponsoring the Emsley Carr Mile and 1500m Grand Prix races.”
Won by Gordon Pirie when it was first held in 1953 the reigning champion is Matt Stonier, who won in 3:54.89 in London last May but he is not defending his title.
A strong British field incorporating the likes of William Battershill, Piers Copeland, Adam Fogg and Ben MacMillan should ensure an honest battle in the bid to join the list of illustrious champions while Austrian Kevin Kamenschak, who was eighth at the World Junior Championships, can’t be discounted either.
Spaces to come along and watch the non-stop programme are limited due to venue capacity so to ensure a ticket book ahead via the BMC website at: www.britishmilersclub.com
Also, on the website you will find a complete list of all the entries and the timetable for the meeting, which starts earlier than previously at 15:20 with the men’s 3000m steeplechase and ending with the men’s 5000m B race at 21:27.
Start Lists, Timetable, Stream Details and how to follow results can all be found HERE