BUCS champions Rebecca Moore and Michael Painter among athletes competing at 150th edition of the Oxford v Cambridge event this weekend
With much media coverage having focused on the 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s first ever sub-four-minute mile in recent weeks, this weekend the Iffley Road track in Oxford will once again be in the spotlight, but for a different milestone.
On the same ground that Bannister achieved his barrier-breaking feat, athletes from the UK’s two oldest and most prestigious universities will be battling it out for glory at the 150th Oxford versus Cambridge varsity athletics match.
Chariots of Fire protagonist Harold Abrahams, 1928 Olympic 400m hurdles champion Lord Burghley, Bannister, London Marathon founder Chris Brasher, 1960 Olympic 1500m champion Herb Elliott, 1968 Olympic 400m hurdles champion David Hemery, 1987 world 110m hurdles silver medallist Jon Ridgeon and current GB international Andy Baddeley are just some of the famous names which add a touch of class to the list of past varsity winners.
Cambridge appear favourites to win this year’s event, with BUCS 10,000m champion Rebecca Moore (pictured) leading the way in the 5000m, while former English Schools’ champion and Cambridge University athletics club president Helen Broadbridge will renew her rivalry in the hammer with teammate and last year’s champion Georgina Howe.
On the men’s side, Cambridge boast BUCS hammer champion Michael Painter, who will also contest the shot and discus, as well as Frenchman Quentin Gouil who boasts a pole vault PB of 4.90m and Matt Houlden, who will be looking to repeat his long and triple jump victories from last year.
Third in BUCS Indoors for both events, Houlden will face a strong challenge from Oxford’s Sam Trigg in the triple jump, who was 6th in BUCS.
Cambridge’s men look particularly strong in the distance events, with GB junior cross country international Lewis Lloyd in the 800m and BUCS 5000m bronze medallist Matt Leach favourite in the longest event on the track.
However, Cambridge will not have it all their own way. As well as Trigg, Oxford’s one lap men are particularly strong, as proved by their BUCS 4x400m silver. George Gundle and Ralph Eliot along with Adam McBraida and Craig Morten will be going for a one-two in their respective 400m and 400m hurdles events.
Former England international cross country runner Tom Frith goes in the 800m, while GB junior international javelin thrower Aidan Reynolds starts as favourite in the javelin.
On the women’s side, former BUCS 800m medallist Emily Moss will go back to the event of her junior days in the 400m hurdles, Montana Jackson will be hoping to win her specialist event the triple jump, Christine Nick is the top shot putter, while former Stanford runner Kate Niehaus starts in the 5000m.
» See next week’s AW for coverage from the 150th Oxford versus Cambridge varsity athletics match