Jake Heyward will run in the 1500m final at the European Athletics Championship. Pic: Stellar Athletics.

Middle-Distance Ace Jake Heyward Obliterates 31-Year-Old Welsh 1500m Record In Olympic Qualifying Time

By Owen Morgan

Jake Heyward has smashed Neil Horsfield’s 31-year old Welsh 1500m record in America.

The Cardiff athlete clocked a brilliant 3:33.99 at the Portland Track Festival in the early hours of Sunday UK time to obliterate Horsfield’s existing Welsh best of 3:35.08, set in Brussels way back in 1990.

Heyward’s third place finish behind American Craig Engels and fellow British athlete Charlie Grice also earned him a qualifying standard for the Games in Tokyo.

The Oregon Track Elite Club star has enjoyed a spectacular return to racing this month.

Two weeks ago in California, he clocked a new personal best of 3:36.24 in only his fourth race since August 2019.

That time was Heyward’s fastest since leaving his home-city of Cardiff in 2019 to base himself in America with the world-famous Oregon Track Club Elite.

Now the 22-year-old has smashed Horsfield’s 1500m record – much coveted by Welsh middle distance runners since it was set by the Newport Harrier in August of 1990.

Jake Heyward training in Oregon with Olympic 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos and Canadian 1500m champion Will Paulson. Photo by Jake Willard TrackTown USA.

Heyward’s race opportunities have been limited over the past two years by injury and the restricted athletics calendar in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his junior career, Heyward won 1500m gold at the 2016 European Youth Championships and European Junior Championships the following year, where he beat Norwegian sensation Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

The 2019 Welsh Athletics men’s junior athlete of the year’s run in Portland is the second fastest achieved by a British athlete over 1500m this year – behind only Grice, who finished just 0.18 seconds ahead of him on Saturday night.

This sets up a mouth-watering 1500m at the forthcoming British Athletics Championships and Olympic Trials at the Manchester Regional Arena on the weekend of June 25, 26 and 27.

Already invited to the trials alongside Grice and Heyward are the likes of 2019 World Championships 1500m finalists Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr and Neil Gourley in what will be a stellar field.

Heyward will have plenty of Welsh company in Manchester with Cardiff duo Piers Copeland and James Heneghan, along with Newport’s Remi Adebiyi also invited for the 1500m.

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