Thompson sets lifetime best to step up and take the title

The Birmingham University gold medal winners; left to right: Kate Seary, Emily Thompson, James Gormley, Victoria Weir and Issy Boffey. Photo: George Biggs
The Birmingham University gold medal winners; left to right: Kate Seary, Emily Thompson, James Gormley, Victoria Weir and Issy Boffey. Photo: George Biggs

Emily Thompson captured the 1500m title at the British Universities & Colleges Indoor Athletics Championships.

The Banbury Harriers ran a lifetime best to take the title at the last weekend.

The BUCS Championships brought together 1,100 athletes from more than 60 different universities at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for three days of top-level competition. Running for Birmingham University, Thompson moved up to the 1500m distance from her usual 800m and claimed gold with a masterful display of tactical running and sprint finishing.

Having won her heat on Saturday with ease in a time of four minutes 41 seconds, Thompson progressed to Sunday’s final to face a talented line-up that included previous medallists and GB cross-country athletes.

Dani Chattenton, the leader for much of the race, had earlier won the 3000m and was now aiming to take the endurance double. As Chattenton pushed on the pace with 600m to go, Thompson had to work hard to stay in contention, tussling with Loughbrough’s Rosemary Johnson to run on the shoulder of the leader.

As Thompson approached the bell with 200m to run, she accelerated past Johnson and Chattenton to take the lead and strike out on her own. Showing the sustained sprint finish that she has honed over 800m, Thompson gained and held a crucial advantage over her rivals who could do nothing to rein her back in.

Her winning time of four minute 25 seconds knocked three seconds off her lifetime best and puts her top of the under-20 national rankings for the 1500m this winter season.

Full story in this week’s Banbury Guardian.