A look ahead to Sunday’s Bupa Westminster Mile, with Hannah England, Andrew Heyes and Lee Emanuel also among those in action
Around 7000 people will take part in a series of 30 one-mile races on Sunday (May 24) as Bupa Westminster Mile action returns to the roads around St James’s Park.
Incorporating the national age-group championships, the event will see the likes of Hannah England, Charlene Thomas, Andrew Heyes and Lee Emanuel among those in action.
England, who won world 1500m silver in 2011, will be favourite to regain the senior women’s title she won two years ago, but she goes up against a field including the likes of last year’s third-placer Thomas and Glasgow Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist Jemma Simpson.
The senior men’s race will see European indoor 3000m silver medallist Emanuel take on the likes of last year’s bronze medallist Heyes, plus Anthony Whiteman, James Brewer and Chris Warburton.
The winner of the elite men’s race will be awarded the Bannister Trophy, while the equivalent trophy for women is named after Diane Leather, the first woman to run a sub-five-minute mile.
David Weir is set to renew his rivalry with Marcel Hug in the elite wheelchair race, with the pair hoping to challenge each other to the first ever sub-three-minute mile.
Six-time Paralympic gold medallist Weir, who won four of those titles at London 2012, goes for a Bupa Westminster Mile hat-trick. In order to break three minutes, the 35-year-old would need to shave seven seconds off the course record he set 12 months ago. He also cruised to victory in 2013 in 3:09.
“It will be a huge challenge but I think, given the right conditions, a sub-three-minute mile is possible, especially with myself and Marcel going head-to-head,” said Weir.
“In the last two years I haven’t really had anyone to push me to the limit, but Marcel is my biggest rival and I know he will be doing everything he can to beat me. With both of us going for victory, the three-minute barrier may well be within reach.”
Hug out-sprinted Weir to win the Virgin Money London Marathon title in 2014 but had to pull out half-way through this year’s race with a puncture as Weir missed out on a record seventh victory by just one second, losing to USA’s Joshua George.
“I was bitterly disappointed not to be able to defend my London Marathon title in fitting style last month,” said Hug. “This race gives me a chance to bounce back and show the British public what I can do at my best.”
More than 90 British Olympians will also line-up in a special mile field on Sunday. Steve Cram, Denise Lewis and Basil Heatley are set to be among them, with this year’s event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Cram’s world mile record of 3:46.32 which he set in Oslo in July 1985. That mark still stands as the British and European record.
The Bupa Westminster Mile races begin at 9.45am on Sunday and continue throughout the day until the final event, the junior British Athletics One-Mile Road Championships, at 2.40pm. The senior championships are scheduled for 1.20pm.