By Owen Morgan
Welsh middle distance runners roared back into action on the track after lockdown with impressive returns at the British Milers Club event at Trafford on Saturday.
The trial meeting near Manchester, which featured a series of 800m races, saw just three athletes per heat competing in alternate lanes.
Unlike traditional 800m races, the athletes had to keep to their lanes throughout the race in line with social distancing guidelines.
But the unusual conditions and large staggers created by the lane restrictions didn’t stop the likes of Osian Perrin, Lizzie Harris and other young Welsh athletes producing some outstanding performances.
Menai Track and Field athlete Perrin, better known for his exploits over 3,000m and cross country, slashed more than 35 seconds off his previous best 800m time.
Running the two lap discipline for the first time since May 2014, the Welsh under-17 3000m record holder clocked a hugely impressive 1:57.65 to race away over the last 100m to win his heat in style.
The teenager has been showing excellent form during lockdown, posting impressive times in virtual races, and transferred that form onto the track on Saturday.
Cardiff AC’s Lizzie Harris, who won bronze over 800m at the Welsh Indoor Athletics Championships at the start of the year, impressed again as she took her bow outdoors this season.
Last season’s Welsh outdoor 800m bronze medallist, clocked her second fastest time over the distance as she finished second in her heat, just missing out on her PB of 2:09.70 set last year.
Harris led going into the final bend, but Scottish athlete Katy Brown, running in the inside lane, eventually overhauled the Cardiff athlete on the final straight.
Deeside AC’s under-17 athlete Tyler Cartlidge hacked four seconds off his personal best to win his race in 2:00.41.
Running on the inside lane, the youngster wound in the unusually large stagger in this races to overcame his opponents with a perfectly timed run over the second lap of the race.
Another Deeside AC under-17 product, Roman Hodgson ducked under two minutes for the first times as he also clocked a new PB in 1:59.78.
Like his team mate, Hodgson won from the inside lane, starting to rein in the large stagger on the back straight in order to lead going into the last 200m and hold on to win despite tiring in the closing stages.
Cardiff Archer Katrina Simpson, who competes for England, won her heat by clocking her fastest 800m time since 2017.