British Grand Prix of Race Walking provides international opportunities at Roundhay Park
Tom Bosworth and training partner Callum Wilkinson will be looking to secure their spots on the British team bound for the IAAF World Championships when they line up for the British Grand Prix of Race Walking which takes place in Leeds’ Roundhay Park on June 30, writes Ian Richards.
The race, which incorporates the British, English, Welsh, RWA and Irish 20km Championships, is also the trial event for Doha 2019 qualification.
In what promises to be a hotly contested men’s race, Bosworth will start as favourite, having won the event for the past three years, but Wilkinson is also likely to be battling for the top position after winning the Slovakian 10km championships earlier this month in 39:31, taking the British record from the Commonwealth silver medallist.
Cameron Corbishley will also be in the mix for a medal after his impressive start to the season. This included a standout debut 50km performance in Dudince, in which he clocked 3:53:20 – a British U23 record, the second-fastest ever and enough to secure selection for the World Championships. On this occasion, Corbishley will be looking to target the Doha 20km qualifying time of 82:30.
Bosworth, Wilkinson and Corbishley will also be looking to build on their recent success at the European Race Walking Cup in Alytus, Lithuania where they took team silver. The medal was the first won by a British team since 1967. In the same race, Bosworth finished fourth while both Wilkinson and Corbishley set 20km PBs of 81:34 and 85:40 respectively.
Former Leeds resident and Leeds Beckett graduate Brendan Boyce, who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after finishing fifth in a PB of 3:48:13 over 50km in Alytus, is favourite for the Irish title and is also in with a chance for taking an overall podium position. He set a 20km personal best of 84:31 in Podebrady in April. Cian McManamon will be his main rival for Irish honours, having finished 21st in the European Cup in 84:59 and will be targeting his personal best of 84:03.
Italian Teodorico Caporaso finished fourth in the 50km at the 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome in 3:48:29 and has a 20km personal best of 83:41, set in 2016. Other athletes to look out for include Lukáš Gdula (Czech Republic) and Aleksi Ojala (Finland), who have 20km PBs of 85:50, and 83:16 respectively.
In the women’s race, Welsh athlete Heather Lewis will start as favourite after her strong start to the season, in which she set a 20km PB of 95:04 at the European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Podebrady.
Lewis’ compatriot Bethan Davies is also likely to be her main contender. She is currently No.2 on the UK all-time list after clocking 91:53 in 2018 and is reigning British champion. Davies will be looking to improve on her season’s best performance of 99:02 in this race. Both will be targeting the Doha qualifying mark of 93:30. The Isle of Man athlete Erika Kelly is also likely to be battling for a podium position after setting a 10km PB of 47:17 in March. Kelly achieved her first GB vest last month in Alytus and will be looking to improve her PB of 99:36 set in Lugano last year.
International athletes entered include Portugal’s Edna Barros, who has a personal best of 95:03, and Ireland’s Kate Veal who set her personal best of 97:54 in 2018.
The event is free for spectators and the course is a 500 metres out and back loop on the Carriage Drive alongside Waterloo Lake. The action gets underway at 9.30am.
For more details visit the event website at nationalendurancecentre.co.uk/grand-prix or follow @Leedswalk on Twitter for live updates and link to live streaming of the event on the UK Race Walk News Facebook page.