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Watford Wonders leading the UK Rankings.

It’s been a brilliant week for the in-form Harriers Middle Distance Squad following on from some extraordinary performances which saw two Harriers go 2nd & 3rd in the UK rankings for their age groups (Jemima Davey 3rd U11 600m & Jacob Asher-Relf 2nd U13 800m) there were more brilliant performances all coming in the Watford Wednesday open meeting from the squad "A Team".

The Watford Harriers open meeting which seems to have the uncanny knack of ensuring consistently fast times for the Harriers who venture down, again produced the goods with all 5 athletes who were competing in the 1500m producing performances of extraordinary quality on a night perfect for middle distance running.

U20 Emily Williams fresh from her third consecutive English Schools title just over a week earlier produced a hugely significant performance to head to number 1 in the UK rankings for U20 Women, a position she held for the majority of 2018 as an U17. Williams was in a race packed with U15-U20 men and set about her task to just run a fast time. Sitting in the pack and slightly below target pace at 800m, Williams continued to chase the only other female in the race, Senior Woman Amelia Quirk, and when she passed through the bell on 3:09 she knew her chance to break 4:20 for the first time was definitely on. Producing a final lap of 67 sec Williams was closing down Quirk all the way to the bell to finish in 4:16.89. This is a significant time which ranks her top 8 all-time as a 1st year U20, and also ranks her number 1 U18 in Europe, and number 4 in the U18 world rankings!

The performance was one Williams had been promising for the past two seasons and she certainly made a statement following the unfortunate decision not to take her to the U20 European Championships despite her proven medal winning pedigree and only being off the Qualification mark by 0.07 sec.

The "A Team" Alice Bates, Alice Bennett, Tony James, Emily Williams, Dylan Bowley

U15 Alice Bates fresh from her impressive new 3000m PB a week earlier was keen to prove her credentials over 1500m following her unfortunate omission from the Northants English Schools team despite having the qualification mark. Bates was first off from the Harriers contingent and she produced a brilliantly paced race, full of running over the last 600m and producing a storming finish over the final 200m to smash her PB by over 5 seconds and storm to 19th in the UK with 4:41.07, a time which would have seen her easily qualify for English Schools final.

Club colleague, bottom year U15 Alice Bennet went in the next race and she sliced another 4 seconds from her PB with a magnificent race full of maturity which belies her age. Bennett kept herself in the right place throughout and showed plenty of her battling characteristics to move to 8th in UK (UK 2nd as a bottom year) with a super-fast National standard time of 4:37.58 which would rank her in the top 10 UK all-time for bottom year athletes! Bennett also ranked top 10 in the UK over 800m will have a difficult decision in deciding if she wants to compete over two laps or the metric mile if she maintains this performance level going forward.

800m specialist Tony James on a rare outing over 1500m showed this is not just a kids game to run his fastest time as a vet to brilliantly to smash his PB by over 11 seconds and move to 14th in the V45 UK rankings with 4:29.10. James now looks to sharpen up before he competes in the Britsh Masters championships on 10-11th August over the classic two lap distance.

Last but by no means least Dylan Bowley fresh from a week’s holiday where the intensity of training would have been difficult to maintain, set a new PB to finally break the 1993 U17 Men’s club record with a superb time of 4:04.39 Bowley was prominent throughout, and pushing hard on the bell lap he just ran out of legs 30m out but held on the slice 0.1 sec from the club record.
At a venue which has seen some brilliant squad performances over the years It was an exceptional evening for the squad and one that will go down as one of the most successful ever.

With most athletes looking to finalise their season shortly, one or two will venture down to Watford in 2 weeks to see if they can post a quick 800m time as a season finale.