The third SOAR Summer mile was held on Friday 27th July at the London Marathon Community Track, in the shadows of the Olympic Stadium. 12 races and over 200 runners took to the start line, each in pursuit of their own 4 lap goal and cheered on by a raucous, ever growing trackside crowd as the night went on.
An early evening thunderstorm of epic proportions had brought the British heat-wave to an end just an hour before the start, threatening to wipe out the chance of fast times. Thankfully for both runners and spectators the rain passed, and the night played out in dry, if blustery conditions - little was going to dampen the trackside atmosphere, or the gutsy racing on show.
From 6:45pm - 9:15pm the races came thick and fast. Track racing first timers received their first taste of the unique, exhilarating intensity of racing on the tartan oval; cheered on by friends and club mates alike. Whilst some of the UK's finest masters athletes chased the age-graded prizes on offer, recording times that were the envy of many younger competitors.
SOAR playlists on the sound system kept the trackside party going, whilst ice cold beers kept spirits high and gave racers that added incentive to cross the line as fast as they could. As the races ticked by the lane 3 crowd grew and grew, by the final, fastest races of the night, the home straight became a wall of noise, the crowd urging on competitors to PBs and fast times.
The elite women took to the start line in race 10, a strong, committed run from Hannah Viner saw her take the £150 1st prize in 4:47. Hannah was hotly pursued by fast finishing Rebecca Johnson a further 3 seconds back, with Yasmin Goater taking 3rd place and securing a Highgate Harriers 1, 2, 3.
As darkness descended and floodlights lit-up the former World Championship warm-up track 15 men took to the line for the men's elite race, chasing cash prizes and the iconic sub-4 minute mile. SOAR Pacer Robel Bahelbi led the field through 809m in 2:03 and as he peeled off Gateshead's Lewis Moses, a former UK Champion over 1500m indoors, took up the running. Moses held the lead until the bell, when defending champion and sub-4 man Dale King-Clutterbuck unleashed his kick. A 58 second lap saw Dale secure his 2nd SOAR Summer Mile title in 4:05:37, Moses hung on for 2nd in 4:07:39 with Andrew Heyes taking the 3rd and final podium spot in 4:09:76.
A night to remember under the lights at the Olympic Park.
SOAR Mile photo story by Sam Todd.