Neptune Miles meeting, 13 July 2019.

A select few of our athletes made the short trip into Oxford on Saturday for the annual Iffley Miles meeting, organised by the university cross country club (OUCCC) with support from the British Milers Club (BMC). A small range of middle distance events is on offer, notably including the chance to race over the classic one-mile distance at this most iconic of venues.

OUCCC did a great job in providing pacemakers, and Evey Powell was the first of our athletes to make the most of them with a fine 1 min 48.7 over 600m. It also worked out well for Izzy Martin who clocked an excellent 5 min 15.2 over the mile after a race-long dust up with an athlete around 10 years her senior. The guy pacing Kie Francis in the 3000m was somewhat overly enthusiastic, possibly having watched too many Diamond League events on TV, but after a tough 7.5 laps, Kie came back an hour or so later to dip under 5 mins for the mile.

On to the BMC part of the meeting and two even laps from Owen Stepney gave him 2 min 1.2 sec over 800m. After a first lap of 57.5 sec, Josh Beech burst clear in the final straight to win his 800m in a big personal best of 1 min 56.05 – stirring stuff.
I have to say that support for this meeting from local clubs was disappointing compared with previous years, and the number of no-shows for the BMC events led to races being combined and the women's mile A race having only 3 competitors. The men's A race (the Bannister mile) was however well-populated, classy and fiercely competitive and produced a winning time of just a couple of seconds outside 4 minutes.

It’s all too easy these days to dismiss anything outside 4 minutes as “ordinary” but this last race of the day showed that even getting close to it is no ordinary feat. To give some context, more people have stood on the summit of Everest than have run sub-4.