Nick Goolab became the first man ever to retain the British men’s one-mile road race title at the Vitality Westminster Mile in central London on Sunday as 5,980 finishers crossed the Finish Line in front of Buckingham Palace.
Goolab claimed the Roger Bannister Trophy for the second year in a row with a time of 4:04 (three seconds outside his 2016 course record), but now believes a sub-four-minute mile is possible on the iconic C-shaped loop around St James’s Park.
Adelle Tracey turned bronze into gold as she beat defending champion Sarah McDonald to win the Diane Leather Trophy as British women’s road mile champion, after placing third last year. Tracey tracked McDonald through the first half of the women’s race before Steph Twell made a bid for victory along Birdcage Walk alongside Rosie Clarke. McDonald attacked again in the final stretch but Tracey’s superior finishing speed took her to the line in 4:34.
It was a gratifying win for the Guildford and Godalming runner who raced over 800m in Belgium less than 24 hours earlier.
The six-hour running festival also included junior wheelchair events for men and women, plus six British Athletics age group contests for boys and girls aged from 11 to 17 – a batch of races no doubt containing a few future Olympic hopefuls.
Past Olympians were out in force too, led by Lord Sebastian Coe who couldn’t quite turn back the clock to his middle-distance glory days of the 1980s.
The former mile world record breaker and double Olympic 1500m champion finished in six minutes exactly in the Olympians wave, upstaged on his return to racing by Rio Olympic rowing champion Constantine Louloudis who broke clear to clock 5:05, well inside Steve Cram’s ‘Olympians record’ from 2015.
“That was brilliant, and it was my first ever running event,” said the 25-year-old who won gold in the men’s eight in Rio last summer. “It was really fun to meet so many Olympians of different ages and sports. This is such a great event; I’m going to get my whole family to do it next year.”
The first record of the day fell to Ellie Awford and Mike Kotosky who crossed the line hand-in-hand to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest mile while holding hands.
The couple from south London sprinted across the line together in 6:22 before receiving their world record certificate from GWR adjudicator Lucia Sinigagliesi.
“The GWR certificate is definitely going on the wall when we get home,” said Ellie.
“I’m not ruling out coming back next year to try to set an even faster record,” added Mike. “It was really fun.”