The Muller Anniversary Games at the London Olympic Stadium produced two days of the highest quality athletics, with Mo Farah bringing the curtain down with a sub-13 minute 5000m victory. However, for runABC reporter Alan Newman, the standout performance was a gutsy British record for Laura Muir in the 1500m – erasing Dame Kelly Holmes’ 12-year-old mark in the process.
Muir’s moment came late on Friday night as anticipation was building towards the appearance of Usain Bolt in the 200m. The crowd was still buzzing after witnessing an astonishing world record by American athlete Kendra Harrison in the 100m hurdles (12.20) and a less focussed athlete could have been forgiven for getting distracted but Muir was immediately up with the pacemaker, then front-ran to victory in 3:57.49, almost half a second quicker than Kelly Holmes’ 2004 Athens Olympics gold medal time.
Mo Farah made his intentions clear on the start line as he issued his instructions to the pacemakers. Soon after the start he was lapping in 62-63 seconds and moving away from the field. After 3000m he was on his own and that is where he showed the world he is ready to defend his Olympic 5000m and 10,000m titles. To rapturous applause he increased pace over the final laps to finish in a world leading 12:59.29. Almost missed in all the excitement was a brilliant final lap by Scottish record holder Andrew Butchart, who came through the world class field for second place (13:14.85).
Butchart was delighted with his performance: “I have never experienced a crowd like this in my life - if I can experience that again in my lifetime I’ll be delighted. I have been at altitude for the last four weeks and know I am in shape; it gives you something of a boost and you feel like you can breathe easier. I want to make the final [in Rio] and I think the race could be something similar to that.”
Earlier on Friday the British quartet comprising Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita set a British record in the 4x100m relay and on Saturday the British men’s teams encouragingly finished first and second in their 4x100m relays, with the 'A' team setting a world leading time (37.78).
In the IPC Grand Prix Final on Saturday there were more world records for Britain’s leading Paralympic athletes prior to Rio. The muscular 40-year-old Richard Whitehead took his own T42 200m mark down to 23.03 and Libby Clegg, with guide runner Chris Clarke, sprinted 200m in 24.44 for a world best.
Full results are on Power of 10
The IPC Paralympic details are here