MORE consistent training and the rarefied air of altitude training high in the Pyrenees mountains has helped Ben Coldray enjoy a great start to the new season.
The 22-year-old former King’s School student from Hucclecote followed up his superb personal best of three minutes, 43.97 seconds for 1500m with a fine fifth place in the British Championship men's road mile in London.
The race, which was held over a fast circuit from the Mall to Buckingham Palace, was staged to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister becoming the first man to break the four-minute mile and Diane Leather becoming the first woman to run a mile in under five minutes.
With Bannister and double Olympic champion Mo Farah watching on a strong British field lined up, and Coldray mixed it with the best – including eventual winner and 2013 World Championships finalist Chris O’Hare – until a frantic sprint to the line as he clocked 4.08.
“I think this is probably my favourite race,” said Coldray.
“It is a nice break from the track and to race down the Mall in front of a big crowd on such a big occasion is brilliant.
“There was also a really strong field, the atmosphere was brilliant and it was a cracking race. I think everyone enjoyed it – I certainly did.”
Amazingly it is 10 years since Coldray last ran a road mile.
Back in 2004, when he was a fledgling member of Gloucester AC before later switching to Stroud and District AC, Coldray finished second in the British Milers Club road mile in Bristol in 5.22.
“It definitely seems like I have been running a long time now but at least I am still improving,” added Coldray.
“I have been training consistently and also recently had a really good spell at the Font Romeu base in the Pyrenees. I did a lot of hard work there and that is now paying off.”
Training with Olympic finalists Andrew Osagie (800m) and Ross Murray (1500m) at St Mary’s University in West London has also helped in Coldray’s development as he can see at first hand what it takes to reach the top.
That recent time of 3:43.97 carved 1.52 seconds off his previous best – set last year – and put him not only top of the county rankings but is also third fastest in the south west.
“Hopefully that means I can go even quicker this summer and I would really like to get close to breaking that 3.40 barrier,” said Coldray.
This weekend Coldray will switch to the 800m for the second British Milers Club Grand Prix in Manchester and is hoping to get close to 1.48, which will smash his current best of 1:51.23.
Also in action in Manchester will be Cheltenham-based Ireland international Rose-Anne Galligan, who runs the 800m, while the George brothers Alex and Thomas of Gloucester AC are also entered.