The Birmingham DL is always a highlight of the British season. Some years, it is a bit early, and sometimes, it is a bit late. Truth is, Birmingham is a hotbed of athletics in England. Great places to run, some fine events, indoors and outdoors, plus cross country and on the roads. Stuart Weir provides some highlights of the day of athletics on 18 August 2018.
Stuart Weir has been away much of the summer, covering our sport for RunBlogRun. He has done a yeoman’s job of covering for yours truly, and his view of events has given our readers a different view of the season. We thank Stuart Weir for his patience and his diligence.
Four Birmingham highlights
The Muller Grand Prix could have started better. In the first four races we had 3 false starts and 3 DQs. The meet did get better.
The stand-out event was the men’s 100m, which comprised two rounds. In heat 1 it was Akani Simbine from Zharnel Hughes from Noah Lyles. In heat 2 Christian Coleman from Yohan Blake from Reece Prescod, with Coleman fastest in 10.01, to set up an intriguing final.
Coleman won in 9.94 (.938 to be precise) from Prescod (9.939) with Lyles third and Blake fourth – all four under 10 seconds. Hughes was fifth and Simbine sixth. The first three commented afterwards
Coleman: “I felt pretty good. It was a sigh of relief because you never know what to expect when you come back from injury and I got my rhythm back and I came out with the win in a good time. It’s been a test for me to continually prove myself but I’ll use this as a learning experience, now it’s about winning the Diamond League finals”.
Prescod: “It was tight again and I’ve just missed out again. I can’t complain because I’ve come away and got another PB”.
Lyles: “That was one of my most challenging races to date. During my fourth step I had a really big stumble. Competition either way gets me excited and drives me to run faster. Sometimes a loss is what you need the most to get you back into a psychological place that you’re not the best of all time and that you need to keep digging”.
And remember they were just practicing for the Diamond League final in two weeks!
The Women’s 200m: Best field of the year, Shaunae Mille-Uibo, Dina Asher-Smith,
Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the 200m from Dina Asher-Smith and Dafne Schippers. Miller-Uibo said of her race: “I feel really good. Everything went really well, just as we planned. The main thing for me was just to have a great curve race and once I put myself into the race off the curve I used my 400 strength to power home. It was a really competitive race and everybody brought their A-game”. Having won every race she had entered this year, 200m or 400m, I suppose Miller-Uibo will try the shot put next. Oh, sorry, she already has, winning the high jump and the shot put in the Bahamian championships in June. But she is not the complete athlete, I have heard that her race-walking technique is a little suspect.
Laura Muir was performing in the 1000m, attempting to beat Kelly Holmes’ British record of 2:32.82 but came short with a finish in 2:33.92.
Many of the crowd were wearing “Thank you Greg” t-shirts or waving cards with the slogan as Greg Rutherford performed for the last time. Sadly the body which helped him win Commonwealth, European, Olympic and World titles is – literally – creaking at the joints so he could only 7.43 as Luvo Manyonga won with 8.53.
Rutherford said afterwards: “It is one of those things, I am coming into these competitions and it’s so frustrating to not be competitive anymore because I am not and I can’t do what the other guys can do because I don’t train anymore and that’s down to the fact I am just too injured. But what I am getting which I think I am incredibly lucky to have is an opportunity to come out in the stadiums one last time to wave to the crowds, sign lots of autographs and meet lots of people because that’s part of what I think as an athlete you should do. You should give back when you can and that is what I am using this time to do.”
“I would love just to be able to jump a bit further still but I am no longer ‘Greg the long jumper’ I am more of the guy who waves a bit and tries to have a bit of fun. I wanted to turn this into my farewell tour and I just want to have a chance to go one more time in the big British meets and try and enjoy it and actually see it from a different sort of standing point.
“Even if I came here a year ago, as much as I was injured the year before, I would be coming here to try and win it. Whereas, now I turn up I warm up, I laugh, I have a smile with everybody, I’m not here to win it anymore because I physically can’t do it anymore. I have to accept that and actually when you start taking away a bit of the pressure of it and try to enjoy it. What I am loving is seeing the guys jumping long. Jumpers like Luvo (Manyonga) who produced another fantastic performance and actually I am enjoying that”.
RunBlogRun echoes the sentiment “Thank you Greg”.