Stuart Weir wrote this on the pre-program for the 2023 London Diamond League, which was held on July 23, 2023. This is Stuart’s second of three pieces on the London Diamond League meeting, which attracted 50,000 fans.
The Diamond League is a 2-hour slick program with some field events starting outside the 2-hour TV window. There is also a pre-event program to “warm up” the crowd. London used the two hours before the main event, as spectators drifted in, to showcase the range and diversity of track and field.
The Couch to 5k, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
The program started with youth relays with athletes competing for club prize money. Track and field in the UK is built on a club structure, with elite athletes in the British Championship often competing in their club vests. When the GB team for Budapest is announced, it will be in the format of “athlete name, club, and coach name.”
Sophie Hahn takes 100m Paralympics, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
Among the winners were Hercules Wimbledon (Dwayne Cowan’s old club) and Harrow AC, whose club record list includes Laura Turner, Mara Yamauchi, and Alison Wyeth. Zharnel Hughes set a British record last Sunday and a Shaftsbury and Barnet club record!
The Couch to 5k, London DL Pre Program., photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
There was also a “Couch to 5K” race exclusively for women aiming “to inspire and encourage more women to take up running.” The race consisted of one lap around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finished in the London Stadium.
With the world Para-athletics championships having just finished, there was a range of para events in the pre-program.
Max Burgin takes Pre-Program 800m, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
There were also relay races and a cracking men’s 800. In the British Champs, you may recall that Max Burgin had won the 799m race but had fallen over the line in the last meter to finish third. Burgin won the race on Sunday and should have secured a place in the GB team for Budapest.