International action is getting back on track at Tooting Bec

Top track action returns to south London next month, with international distance runners potentially taking one of their last chances to chase down qualifying times for the World Championships in Budapest in August.

Mile moment: American duo Hobbs Kessler and Eric Avila cracking the four-minute mile barrier at last year’s BMC meeting at Tooting Bec

Tooting Bec Athletics Track is staging a special British Milers’ Club meeting on Wednesday, July 26, with organisers Herne Hill Harriers having secured a sponsorship deal for the event which enables them to offer thousands of pounds in prize money and bonuses.

Recently resurfaced, Tooting Bec carries a UK Athletics Level 2 licence – which ensures that electronically timed performances achieved there can count for qualifying times for major championships.

And the generous backing of leading financial technology firm MarketAxess means the event will have one of the biggest-ever prize pots in the history of the BMC, an organisation whose members have included Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Kelly Holmes and current 1,500metres world champion Jake Wightman.

At the Tooting BMC night, the prizes for each of the 800, 1,500 and 5,000m races, men and women, are:

  • £600, £300, £100 for the fastest three times
  • £50 for the fastest under-20
  • £100 for the fastest British finisher.
  • A shared £1,100 pot for the lead performance in each event/gender that achieves UK target times

The sponsorship deal follows last year’s hugely successful BMC meeting in Tooting, which saw sub-four-minute miles by Americans Hobbs Kessler and Eric Avila and a sub-two-minute women’s 800m by another American, Taryn Rawlings.

The organisers are hopeful of similarly high calibre racing for an event where spectators are welcome, free of charge.

Keith Newton, Herne Hill Harriers’ meeting organiser, said: “High-quality athletics has long been a feature of Herne Hill Harriers and our track at Tooting.

“Last year’s BMC meeting saw an influx of elite athletes from around the world, which added a touch of glamour to our newly resurfaced track. The mix of grassroots sports, community participation and the aspirational – both in terms of the elite athletes Herne Hill Harriers produces and those who attend our events – is the perfect reflection of what the club stands for.

“We hope that this year’s BMC event, its major championships qualifying status and the generous support of our sponsors will help to attract a top-class field.”

Toby West, from MarketAxess, said: “We’re delighted to be able to help raise the profile of this Tooting BMC event, and of the Herne Hill Harriers and their community impact. We hope our sponsorship will help to encourage participation in both the event and in athletics more broadly, and we’re looking forward to a great night of athletic competition in south London.”

For more information or to enter the Tooting BMC meeting, click here.

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