It is estimated that around 7.1 million people run at least twice a month in England. But today, we are looking a little further afield, and celebrating the 621.16 million people that run around the world. Running is one of the most popular sports, not least because of the huge mental and physical benefits it can bring. And with the sun shining and the bank holidays fast approaching, not to mention the fact that today is Global Running Day, what better time to lace up your trainers and join the millions across the world on a run?
To celebrate Global Running Day, we thought we would look back at some of the standout running performances by our English athletes across the world in the past year.
First stop is the Monaco Diamond League where Elizabeth Bird ran a new British Record of 9:22.80 in the 3000m steeplechase. The American-based athlete lowered this time even further in Tokyo to be the first British female athlete to break 9:20 over the barriers.
It wouldn’t be right to do an event round-up without mentioning the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Keely Hodgkinson produced an outstanding performance to secure a silver medal and set a new British Record of 1:55.88 for the 800m. Meanwhile, in the relays, the women’s 4x100m team claimed a bronze medal and set a new British Record in the process.
The Paralympics in Tokyo saw an exceptional medal haul for English athletes. Hannah Cockroft added two more gold medals to her collection in the T34 100m and 800m. She also set new World Records in both distances last year. Sophie Hahn also took gold in the T38 100m. Further joy came in the men’s T38 100m through Thomas Young and in the T33 100m through Andre Small as both athletes won their respective categories. Moving up the distances, Daniel Pembroke won the T13 800m.
Let’s fast forward to December where we headed back to Europe for the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin, Ireland. There was individual success in the men’s U23 race where Charles Hicks stormed to victory. As a team, Great Britain and Northern Ireland topped the medal table taking team golds in the senior women, U20 men and mixed relay events.
Heading out onto the roads, where English athletes claimed successes across the globe. Jess Judd headed state side for her incredible half marathon debut of 67:52. This effort made her just the third woman in history to break 2:00 for 800m and 68 minutes in the half marathon. Only Sifan Hassan and Genzebe Dibaba have achieved this accolade. Not bad company for the popular English athlete!
Serbia, Scotland and Spain
Another female distance athlete who put down some spectacular performances at the start of the year was Jess Piasecki. Setting Personal Best times in both the half marathon (67:20) and marathon (2:22.25) in Spain, Jess has moved up to 2nd on the British all-time list for the marathon. She is only surpassed by former World Record holder Paula Radcliffe. Success was also seen in Spain for Emile Cairess whose 10k time of 27:43 put him 2nd on the British all-time list behind Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nick Rose.
Meanwhile, back on the track, Serbia took centre stage as it hosted the World Indoor Championships. Marc Scott was in an extremely strong position heading into the Champs having set a new British Indoor Record in the 5,000m running 12:57.08 in Boston, USA. Marc took on 15 laps of the indoor track at the Championships and was rewarded with a bronze medal in the 3000m.
The start of the year also saw English success on the country. Team England headed to Elgoibar, Spain for an international cross-country event and put down strong performances in both the senior and junior races. Athletes then headed to Belgium for the Belgium Cross Cup where England athletes took three wins and a second-place finish.
Staying in Europe, further success was seen by English athletes in Spain and Scotland. England’s half marathon runners put in some extremely strong performances whilst it was podium success for the English mountain runners; Team England regained both the men’s and women’s mountain titles. Victory was even sweeter this year having lost both titles the year before.
Just last weekend, success came for English athlete Matthew Hudson-Smith who broke the long-standing British 400m Record in the Eugene Diamond League. Things are certainly looking bright for the English athlete as we head towards championship season.
It’s been quite a year for England’s athletes, but the action is only just getting started. With a home Commonwealth Games on the horizon, as well as the European and World Championships, there’s plenty to look forward to as we head into the summer of 2022. Feeling inspired? What better day to start, or return to, the sport of athletics and running than Global Running Day? Who knows, it might be you setting the next PB.