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British runner Jemma Reekie had a breakout race Sunday, July 23 during the London Diamond League meet in her specialty, the 800-metre distance.

Many of the 50,000 spectators who filled the stadium were there to see fellow Brit, Keely Hodgkinson race the 800m. She is the Tokyo Olympic, Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Eugene World silver medallist and the reigning European champion. The 21-year-old’s best of 1:55.77 is the national record set one month ago. Reekie has been on the cusp of that level but typically has finished 1-2 seconds back, which is close, yet so far in the realm of an 800m athlete.

Not this time, having run one of her fastest 800m races clocking a 1:57.30. The time was one thing; however, the way she did it was another. Sitting in the pocket of the leaders for much of the race, she appeared boxed in after the 600m point, but on the final turn saw an opening and pulled into lane 2 to push for the lead and finished with a gap between her and Jamaican Natoya Goule-Toppin and Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi. The two finished second and third in 1:57.61 and 1:57.62, respectively.

Reekie’s performance is a meet record and a season-best result. She has been very close to glory, taking bronze during the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she established her current personal best of 1:56.90. In that final, the now 25-year-old finished behind American Athing Mu, Hodgkinson and American Raevyn Rogers.

Hodgkinson was out due to illness. London was the final Diamond League meet before the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships. Reekie is now positioned well for the meet. Currently, she is ranked 11th in the world and on any given day in an 800m race, anything can and surely does happen.


Women’s 800m

1REEKIE JemmaGBR1:57.30 MR SB
3NAKAAYI HalimahUGA1:57.62 NR PB
4BISSET CatrionaAUS1:57.78 AR PB
5SNOWDEN KatieGBR1:58.00 PB
6LAMOTE RénelleFRA1:58.64 SB
7ROGERS RaevynUSA1:58.98 SB

Top-12 rankings

1Mary MORAA15 JUN 2000KENKEN1436800m
2Keely HODGKINSON03 MAR 2002GBRGBR1419800m [800m ind.]
3Natoya GOULE-TOPPIN30 MAR 1991JAMJAM1394800m
4Ajee WILSON08 MAY 1994USAUSA1360800m [600m ind.]
5Sage HURTA-KLECKER23 JUN 1998USAUSA1349800m
6Anita HORVAT07 SEP 1996SLOSLO1335800m [800m ind.]
7Halimah NAKAAYI16 OCT 1994UGAUGA1327800m [800m ind.]
8Catriona BISSET01 MAR 1994AUSAUS1315800m [800m ind.]
9Allie WILSON31 MAR 1996USAUSA1314800m
10Rénelle LAMOTE26 DEC 1993FRAFRA1307800m
11Jemma REEKIE06 MAR 1998GBRGBR1304800m
12Raevyn ROGERS07 SEP 1996USAUSA1290800m