Ian Kennedy reports
On a beautiful evening in the Polish city of Bydogoszcz, Wimborne AC’s Piers Copeland smashed the UK U23 ‘All Time’ 2000m record by more than four seconds when he clocked a time of 4:57.61. This outstanding performance comes against a backdrop of the most extraordinary track season. Due to the pandemic, with restrictions on training and widespread cancellation of events, this was Piers’ first track race of the season. It was worth the wait! His 2000m time is the fastest recorded by a Brit for more than 14 years. It was achieved in the now familiar Copeland style, where he recorded a blistering final lap (around 55 seconds). Piers finished one-hundredth of a second behind Filip Sasinek of the Czech Republic in third place.
The race was won by Matthew Ramsden, and in doing so he recorded the second fastest time ever by an Aussie over 2000m, with second-placed Marcin Lewandowski claiming the Polish national record which had stood for almost 30 years. Third placed Filip Sasinek took a Czech national record that had stood for 55 years (set even before the days of the Prague Spring in communist Czechoslovakia)!
Many of the times on the UK ‘All time’ 2000m list date from a golden age of British middle distance running in the 1980s. Top of the pile remains Steve Cram, but Piers slots into sixth place with this performance, and that puts him one place ahead of Steve Ovett (7th), with Sebastian Coe, Mo Farah, Dave Moorcroft, Brendan Foster and Dave Bedford all further back. Illustrious company indeed.
It’s to Piers’ huge credit that he has managed to stay focussed with his training through these difficult times. Next stop for Piers is Gothenburg, Sweden on 29 August where he is competing over 800m and then onto Marseilles on 5 September for a 1500m (Covid restrictions permitting). Later in September he’s heading off to central Europe once more to race in the Czech Republic.
You can watch Piers’ 2000m race here https://www.facebook.com/runnerstribe/videos/391389418515413/UzpfSTUzODQ5MDI3NDpWSzozMjAyMTMyNDA5ODU2MTIx/