British record at Penn Relays as athletes impress both home and away

Women’s British 4x800m record smashed in Philadelphia as Brit hammer throwers dominant in Stanford and Dave Norman puts on a gritty home defence at the Manchester Marathon

McCorory edges Shakes-Drayton to win 4x400 relay at Penn Relays (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Britain’s golden European Indoor Championships relay quartet continued to impress at the weekend, finishing a close second behind winners USA in the women’s 4x400m at the Penn Relays, on a day that also saw a British record set in the women’s 4x800m.

Lynsey Sharp, Marilyn Okoro, Tara Bird and Jemma Simpson smashed the previous record of 8:19.9 set back in 1992 when they crossed the line in Philadelphia in 8:13.46 for fourth place in a race won by the USA in a time of 8:04.31, which also broke the American record (8:17.91) for the distance.

Shortly afterwards, Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Christine Ohuruogu and Perri Shakes-Drayton lined up in the women’s 4x400m and demonstrated similar fine form to that that secured them gold in Gothenburg in March.

Shakes-Drayton (pictured above) was narrowly pipped into second by America’s Olympic 400m finalist Francena McCorory on the anchor leg. She crossed the line in 3:22.58, a time that equals Britain’s third-fastest time ever to secure a podium finish for a GB & NI team for the first time at the event.

Men’s 4x100m action saw GB finish fourth behind Jamaica and two USA teams as James Ellington, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Danny Talbot and Andrew Robertson ran 38.99, but that was to be the only result recorded for the GB men at the event, as teams for the distance medley relay and 4x400m failed to complete.

Martyn Rooney took a tumble in the 400m second leg of the distance medley relay, while Michael Bingham also fell in the 4x400m.

Victory for the US women in the 4x800m and 4x400m was just the beginning, as the Americans won four out of the six USA vs The World events, also coming out on top in the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m.

In Des Moines, Drake Relays action saw Cuba’s Yarisley Silva see off London 2012 pole vault Olympic champion Jenn Suhr of USA. Clearing 4.85m, Silva moved up to equal fourth place on the all-time list at an event that saw many world-leading results recorded, including USA’s Jenny Simpson, the 2011 world champion, who returned to form with a world-leading 4:03.35 in the 1500m.

GB’s Steve Lewis finished third in the men’s pole vault event with 5.50m while in a top quality 100m hurdles race Tiffany Porter finished sixth with 12.94.

Over at Stanford and British hammer record holder Sophie Hitchon followed up a throw of 69.67 in Berkeley the day before with a UK-leading throw of 70.53m at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Stanford. Sarah Holt was second with 67.70m.

Mark Dry also came out on top in Stanford to make it a GB hammer double as he claimed victory in the men’s competition with 73.75m.

In the 10,000m Chris Thompson ran 27:40.81 for fourth, while Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee crossed the line in 28:32.48 to finish second in the ‘B’ 10,000m event.

Zak Seddon’s 8:34.42 for 11th place in the 3000m steeplechase rankings was just over two seconds outside the Moscow ‘B’ standard, but was over half a minute inside the European junior standard, while Luke Caldwell took over 10 seconds off his 5000m PB to finish 15th in 13:29.94, his result well inside the European under-23 standard.

At the IPC Grand Prix in Sao Paulo Paralympic T12 100m silver medallist Libby Clegg won both the 100m and 200m, clocking 12.53 in the 100m and 25.97 in the 200m.

Back on home soil and the Greater Manchester Marathon offered a sense of deja vu as a gritty home defence from Dave Norman saw him pip Andi Jones in the closing stages, as he did in 2012, to take the win, despite his blog post explaining he had missed training earlier in the year due to frostbite.

The Altrincham and District athlete crossed the line in 2:20:19, ahead of Jones in 2:22:29 and Michael Glowacki in 2:26:45, and commented: “It’s a real shock. I didn’t expect to win.

“Andi has a much faster PB than me and I knew he was coming here to try and lower it. Hopefully, I’ll be back to try and make it three out of three next year. But I would like to break my PB of 2:18.34.”

Edinburgh AC’s Issy Menzies finished 22nd overall with 2:42:24, a massive improvement on 2012 winner Rebecca Johnson’s time of 3:05.26. Liz Cocks was second in the women’s race with 2:43.30 with Jocelyn Payne third in 2:45.58.

Jake Harrison of Leicester Tri Club took the win at the Marathon of the North, crossing the line in 2:42:24. Stephen Tilford of Wakefield and District followed him home in 2:45:34 as Paul Attley of Gateshead Harriers finished third in 2:46:09.

First woman home was Jess Riches in 3:20:55, followed by Marie Sly in 3:21:46 and Sarah Black of Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers in 3:22:15.

The inaugural Half Marathon of the North was won by Mark Hood of Sunderland Harriers in 1:11:07, while in the women’s event, Stacey Rogers of Wallsend Harriers was first in 1:22:24.

The Sunderland City 10km event was won by Eritrean Weynay Ghebresilasie of Sunderland Harriers in 32:51 as Aly Dixon of Sunderland Strollers won the women’s event in 36:58.

» For more in-depth results and coverage from this weekend’s action be sure to grab this week’s AW, out Thursday

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