Jemma Reekie won double gold at the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships last summer and this afternoon (1) in Glasgow she came of age with the most sensational run to break the British 800m indoor record in 1:57.91.
And in the process her astonishing time – as Reekie beat the multiple senior European champion and training partner Laura Muir – was not only a world lead, it was the fastest time indoors in the world since Russia’s Olga Kotlyarova clocked 1:57.51 in February 2006.
Reekie, whose previous lifetime best stood at 2:01.45, tweeted afterwards: “I don’t even know what happened. Thank you for all the lovely messages. I need to process this.” Reekie also moves to eleventh on the world all-time time and her time is also the fastest ever indoors by a European U23 athlete.
Double European U23 champion @JemmaReekie smashed the British indoor 800m record with 1:57.91 in Glasgow this afternoon.
This was the fastest time in the world indoors since 2006 and moves her to eleventh on the world all-time list.pic.twitter.com/rvQzAReGZT
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) February 1, 2020
Reekie smashed Jenny Meadows’s time of 1:58.43 from 2010 and became only the fifth British woman - indoors or outdoors - to go under the 1:58 barrier.
Muir by no means underperformed on her season’s debut. Her time of 1:58.44 only missed the now-beaten British indoor record by 0.01 and it marked a one second-plus improvement on her previous indoor lifetime best of 1:59.50. She was only 0.02 shy of her outright lifetime best as well.
Reekie has emerged as one of Europe’s leading middle distance prospects, winning the 800m and 1500m titles on back-to-back days at the European U23 Championships last summer. She also won the 1500m title at the European U20 Championships two years prior.
But she could hardly believe this time today, with Muir hugging her in celebration. At the bell, Muir was in front with a healthy lead and nobody could have predicted what would happen next with Reekie making her move from fourth.
Wow wow wow! @JemmaReekie so proud of you!
Super happy to run an indoor 800m PB of 1.58.44 for this amazing lady to go smash the British Record!!
Photo cred @Bobby_ThatOneMo pic.twitter.com/tso95f8ftZ
— Laura Muir (@lauramuiruns) February 1, 2020
She challenged, and then passed, Muir along the back straight before breaking away in the last 120 metres, her arms pumping at full pelt and the reward a moment of British athletics history.
By dipping under 1:58, she now joins 2004 Olympic 800m champion Kelly Holmes (1:56.21), Kirsty Wade (1:57.42), Lynsey Sharp (1:57.69) and Meadows (1:57.93) as the five British women to have broken the 1:58 barrier.
Reekie is the first to do it indoors, just one of so many achievements from this one amazing performance.
World indoor all-time 800m list
1:55.82 Jolanda Ceplak (SLO) 3 March 2002
1:55.85 Stephanie Graf (AUT) 3 March 2002
1:56.40 Christine Wachtel (GER) 13 February 1988
1:56.90 Ludmila Formanova (CZE) 7 March 1999
1:57.06 Maria Mutola (MOZ) 21 February 1999
1:57.23 Inna Yevseyeva (UKR) 1 February 1992
1:57.47 Natalya Tsyganova (RUS) 7 March 1999
1:57.51 Olga Kotlyarova (RUS) 18 February 2006
1:57.53 Larisa Chzhao (RUS) 23 January 2005
1:57.67 Sigrun Wodars (GER) 13 February 1988
1:57.91 Jemma Reekie (GBR) 1 February 2020
1:58.10 Mariya Savinova (RUS) 8 March 2009
1:58.14 Yuliya Stepanova (RUS) 17 February 2011