Competing on the track at Batersea Park on a warm Wednesday evening, Phil Norman began his quest to gain selection for the steeplechase at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics by showing fine form over 5000m and setting a “domestic” Woodford Green Club record in the process.
Phil, the current British 3000m steeplechase champion competed on the track over 5000m for the first time ever and came away with both a victory and a decent time. The race opened at a relatively modest pace as the leaders went through 3000m in 8mins 24 secs (14m 5k pace) but picked up in the final stages with Phil running his final 600m in 1m28sesc and the final 400m in 57 secs as he finished strongly to ensure victory by over 2 seconds in 13m46.80 secs ahead of Aldershot’s Adam Clarke (who boasts p.b’s of 13m39 and 3m38) in 13m48.97. Certainly the pace of the latter part of the race would suggest that Phil is in great shape and capable of going a fair bit quicker. His time was a “domestic” (set by a UK qualified athlete) Club record, and compares with the absolute best of 13m38.41 set by Australian, Youcef Abdi who was a Commonwealth Games bronze medalist over 1500m and placed 6th in the Beijing Olympics in the steeplechase with his best of 8m16.36 secs, a mark which might well be on Phil’s radar for this season.