British 800m runner sets UK indoor championship record in Birmingham and is excited about performing on home soil in a fortnight

It wasn’t a bad day at the oval office for Jemma Reekie. After her 800m heat on Saturday (Feb 17) she was struggling to find tickets for friends and family to watch her at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow. Yet by the end of Sunday she had secured selection and found some tickets too.

“I’ve got some tickets now so I’m really excited,” she said after running a championship record of 1:58.24 in Birmingham to win. “Glasgow has sold out so quickly so it shows how great the championships is going to be.”

The 25-year-old is developing a habit of bringing the house down. She won her race at the Diamond League in London last summer at the end of the programme and here she won again in the last event of a busy two-day schedule.

“I think I do well in that kind of environment,” she said. “London had a big crowd and Birmingham’s crowd was amazing here and I think I’ll thrive off that in Glasgow and I’m ready for that so I’m excited.”

Erin Wallace, Jemma Reekie, Issy Boffey (Getty)

Issy Boffey was runner-up on Sunday in 2:00.27 with Erin Wallace third in 2:01.35. After studying at the University of Birmingham, Boffey enjoyed some loud cheers from friends in the stands at the sold-out Utilita Arena. Reekie will hope for the same in Glasgow in a fortnight with her name poised to be part of a GB team named on Monday morning.

“I want to win so badly in front of Glasgow and it’s been so long coming,” she said.

Laura Muir is another Scottish middle-distance runner in brilliant form. After her European two miles record at the Millrose Games seven days earlier, she won a much slower 3000m race here in 8:58.80.

Following a slow 84sec first 400m, her last 400m was closer to 60sec as she beat Hannah Nuttall (9:01.94) and Kate Axford (9:08.03).

Laura Muir (Getty)

Muir said: “I am very excited to have booked my ticket now. I still needed to go through the official qualification process and it is very special for me to be there at the first global champs Scotland has hosted.

“I am very excited to see what I can do in Glasgow and it is a big stepping stone on the road to Paris. I take the pressure as an indicator of my success and try and use it to my advantage. I am very privileged to be in this position.”

Georgia Bell (Getty)

Whereas Muir is well established, Georgia Bell is a relatively new face on the indoor scene after making a big breakthrough in recent weeks. The former duathlete puts her good form down to doing lots of cycling to complement her running (a mere 25 miles per week) and teaming up with her old coach Trevor Painter, who also coaches Keely Hodgkinson among others.

She is undefeated this year and here she beat in-form Revee Walcott-Nolan and Sarah McDonald with a time of 4:09.66.

In Glasgow she will hope to improve her recent PB of 4:03.22 to make an impact. Beyond that, the Olympics are her goal but she also fancies doing some more duathlons as well if they fit in with her athletics plans.

Piers Copeland won possibly the most exciting race of the weekend, although his winning time of 3:48.54 was almost schoolboy standard. A slow tactical affair culminated with Adam Fogg making a long run for home, but Fogg was passed by Callum Elson in the home straight and then, dramatically, by Copeland on the inside as the South Wales-based athlete snatched victory.

Fogg ran a 3:49 mile at the Millrose Games seven days earlier but said he didn’t feel great here. Still, he was keen not to make excuses and credited Copeland and Elson for beating him when it mattered.

Copeland said: “I had a few race plans depending how the race went and it went off slowly, so I just wanted to stay with it but out of trouble. You can really lose the race if you go too early but, if you’re patient, you can win it.”

Piers Copeland beats Callum Elson and Adam Fogg (Getty)

The men’s 800m was also a corker with Guy Learmonth pushing the pace relentlessly until he was caught on the line by Jack Higgins. Both men were given the same time of 1:47.91 but Higgins of Tonbridge got the verdict.

Learmonth has been in fine form this year so far but was left underpar by a hamstring niggle and head cold and it looks like he will miss out on a championships on home soil in Glasgow next month.

Higgins said: “I knew Guy would take it out hard so I thought I’d just try and stick with him and give it my all. Luckily it worked and I felt strong so took it on from the final bend. I was surprised how comfortable I felt after two laps but once I knew second was secured I thought let’s just go for it but when I crossed the line I did think I’d fallen just short.”

James West (Getty)

James West won the 3000m in more clear-cut style as he clocked 7:51.09 to see off the challenge of Charlie Wheeler and Zak Seddon.

Full results here.

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