Mansfield Harriers’ duo show why they are among best in UK

Archie Rayner, who is now ranked number one U20 in the UK for 3000m.
Archie Rayner, who is now ranked number one U20 in the UK for 3000m.

Two of Mansfield Harriers’ young track stars enhanced their reputations among the best in the country after sensational performances in their latest outings.

Archie Rayner and Luke Duffy travelled to compete in the Watford Open and British Milers Club (BMC) meeting, which is one of the premier endurance fixtures in the south.

Both had to race in cold and windy conditions, with Rayner not even taking to the track until after 10 pm. But both recorded sparkling victories to suggest a prolific season lies ahead.

Fresh from his first attempt at 3000m, Rayner chose to tackle the distance again and recorded a phenomenal time of 8.15.83 minutes, improving his previous best time by a huge 14 seconds. Splits for 1500m of 4.08 and 4.07 show how well he paced the race in a display that ranks him the number one U20 runner in the UK for 3000m.

Duffy contested the BMC 800m race and continued his superb early-season form by racing to a new personal-best time of 1.54.9 to knock 2.4 seconds off his previous record. Duffy is now ranked the fourth best U17 athlete at 800m in the UK, alongside the number one ranking he already holds for his preferred distance of 1500m.

Meanwhile one of the club’s new recruits, Dylan George, showed what an asset he will be by winning the Awsworth 5K in a time of 17.42 minutes, an improvement of more than a minute from last year’s time.

Competing in the Chatsworth Trail 10K, Michelle Baxter recorded 61.19 and Claire Booth 61.42, while the last of the series of Dark And White Trail races over 16K saw Maddy Collinge clock 1.54.10, Ester Sinclair 1.55.32 and Jess Brieder 1.57.07. Earlier in the week, Collinge had covered the Totley AC Fell Race in 57 minutes.

Several Harriers also tackled the Welbeck 10K around the Welbeck Estate on Sunday, with Sarah Bradbury running a new best time of 49.02. Gary Towle was first home for the club in 44.42, followed by Pete Copcutt in 50.46, Heather Shone in 55.28, Julie Winter in 56.00, Clare Brizzolara in 56.00, Therese Copcutt (who is returning from injury) in 72.51 and Pete Weldon.