Olympic 800m silver medallist breaks Kotlyarova’s long-standing mark and becomes third British record-breaker in the space of 24 hours
After a fabulous Friday night of indoor athletics that saw British records fall to Dina Asher-Smith in Karlsruhe and Sam Atkin in Boston, the third national mark in 24 hours was broken as Keely Hodgkinson clocked 1:23.41 for 600m at the Bryggen Sports event in Manchester.
Only this time the performance was also a world record – or ‘world best’ as statistical sticklers insist – as Hodgkinson beat recognised No.1 indoor mark in history of 1:23.44 set by Olga Kotlyarova of Russia in Moscow in 2004.
Pacemaker Issy Boffey, who had earlier won the women’s 800m, went through 200m in 26.5 with Hodgkinson close behind. The Olympic silver medallist then went through 400m in 54.59 before finishing strongly in the last lap.
“It feels pretty good,” said Hodgkinson, who lives near the meeting venue. “I didn’t publicise it but I was going for the world record.
“My family is here, I train here all the time but I don’t like running on my home track because I associate it with training and it just feels weird but today it was fun.
“I came here to execute. I’ve been training so hard. This winter has been tough so I’m just happy to come out and start the season with a bang.”
The UK record of 1:25.81, meanwhile, stood to Jenny Meadows, who is part of Hodgkinson’s coaching team with husband Trevor Painter and who was commentating on the action at the SportCity venue.
“In a 600m it’s a case of ‘too fast and you’ll die’ but ‘too slow and you can’t make up the ground’, so myself and my coach (Painter) planned to run 54 through 400m and then try to hang on.”
Notably, Athing Mu has a best of 1:23.57 from 2019 and the American, who beat Hodgkinson to the Olympic and world 800m titles in the past two years, is due to race 600m at the Millrose Games in New York on February 11.
Hodgkinson is not due to race at Millrose. Instead she has a few races lined up in Europe before a possible defence of her European indoor title in Istanbul in early March.
If she does race in Istanbul, she will turn 21 during the championships and, judging by her 600m in Manchester, her lifetime bests of 1:57.20 (indoors) and 1:55.88 (outdoors) appear to be living on borrowed time.
This was only her first race of the year after a spell of warm-weather training in South Africa.
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