Saturday, 29 April 2017


Niclas Baker capped the best start to the season of his life with a huge personal best 400m run in the Tom Jones Memorial meeting, in Gainesville, Florida.
Niclas Baker (2272) heads for hime in the 400m Stateside
Despite windy conditions he swept round the University of Florida track to win his heat in 47.05 seconds - almost half a second faster than the lifetime's fastest mark set last year of 47.41s.

It came a fortnight after a very impressive, albeit very windy, 20.89s (+5.9m/s) 200m sprint in Clermont, and sets him up for a great summer season that will see him competing both at home and on European soil.

It was another very solid day at the office for Trackspeed1-UK athletes, most of whom sent existing lifetime best marks into the history books.  Cameron Starr showed the form that has promised on the training track with two of the fastest sprints of his life.
Cameron Starr (2277) on his way to his fastest ever 100m sprint
in Gainesville, Florida
In the 100m, a breeze slightly over the legal limit at 2.7m/s saw him cross the line in 10.69 seconds - his fastest ever recorded time for the event.  Better was to come in the 200m though, when he dismissed his 22.08s best mark for 200m with a 21.87 wind-legal run with the breeze measured at +1.4m/s.

"Cameron's 200m best time was a farce, and will undoubtedly be lowered still further this year," commented coach John Powell, "and his 100m performances will improve as we increasingly shake hands with speed work in training.

"Niclas's performance was little surprise as we have known for some time that he is a serious talent over 400m, and the various components of his race are gradually coming together.

"Athletes always seek instant success at these meetings, and when it doesn't always materialise they panic, but it's only April, and their training programme is not designed to see them peak the minute they hit the track.  There are far more important meetings further own the line in June and July.

"That said, it was very pleasing to see how most of the squad executed their races, with most shaving a little bit off their best times.  Solid runs at this stage are always good for confidence as we return to the UK in a week, and engage with the busy domestic programme as well as some meetings on the continent."

Further lifetime best marks were set by Blackheath and Bromley athlete Ishmael Smith-John, who clocked 22.12s over 200m - his second improvement this year already, while Chaka Maillet shaved a tiny fraction off his 22.56s best with a 22.53s run. Suffering from a sporadic achilles tendon complaint, and having missed much of the pre-camp training, this was a significant performance for him.

Elsewhere, Rhys Francis came to within the thickness of his vest of setting a 100m PB, timing 11.15s against his 11.14 best with a legal wind of +1.8m/s, while Brandon Murray underlined his dramatic improvement 2 weeks earlier with another 10.71s 100m dash, albeit helped by a slightly over-the-limit 2.7m/s breeze.  His previous 10.71 effort had been just legal with a reading off +2.0.
Rhys Francis en route to one of his fastest ever 100m
Finally, David Bolarinwa was far from satisfied with his wind legal 10.57s 100m performance, but as a former multiple Euro-Juniors medalist and with a wealth of international experience behind him, that mark is unlikely to remain in the record books for very long.

"It was a very good day at the office," concluded John Powell, " and as long as the UK weather doesn't misbehave this summer, its looking like a really good season ahead."

Talking tactics!  John Powell discusses race planning  in the hugely
impressive air-conditioned indoor football pitch used on this occasion
as the athlete warm-up area at the University of Florida!

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