Congratulations are due to Daniel Rowden who made a significant breakthrough over 800m in Oordegem, Belgium on Saturday. Daniel, whose lead coach is Richard Thurston, and who won silver over 800m at the European U/23 Championships last season, raced at the same venue in Belgium the prior weekend where, after a comfortable victory at the Loughborough International in 1m47.01 secs, he had hoped to secure a UKA European Championship qualifying mark of 1m46.50 sec. But in a “messy” race he placed 4th in 1m47.32 secs. This week Daniel made no mistake and, after the pacemaker dropped out at the bell with Daniel having covered the first 400mm in around 52 secs, he took on the pace himself and led for all but the last few metres. Although just pipped for the victory, Daniel recorded a significant personal best of 1m45.87 secs, well inside that European qualifying mark, but also after sixty-one years bettering the Woodford Green Club record. That record had stood to Derek Johnson who won Commonwealth gold over 880 yards as well as 4x440 gold and silver, and just lost out on an individual Olympic title when placing 2nd in the 800m in Melbourne in 1956, in addition to a 4x400m bronze. Derek’s club record of 1m46.6 secs was set on a cinder track in Oslo in 1957, and in recent years Matt Shone with 1m 46.72 secs had gone close, and last season Daniel himself went even closer with 1m46.64 secs, but his run on Saturday has now significantly improved upon the mark.
Hopefully Daniel will soon be making further improvements and this Club record will not last for another 61 years.