Erme Valley’s Battershill smashes his PB to take steeplechase victory in Vienna

ERME Valley Harriers’ Will Battershill smashed his 3,000m steeplechase personal best on Saturday night to claim his first major win on the European circuit.

Battershill clocked 8:23.31 to win over the barriers at Track Night Vienna – a meeting streamed live by European Athletics.

It was his second PB in the space of eight days, having clocked 8:26.72 to finish sixth at the Meeting Iberoamericano de Huelva in Spain the previous week, which was his first 3,000m steeplechase since last September.

His run on Saturday night has moved him up to 16th on the British all-time list and he is currently second in the UK 2023 rankings, just behind Olympian Zak Seddon.

Battershill has knocked more than four seconds off his PB this season and 10 seconds off in the last two years and he now has his eyes on the upcoming British Championships in Manchester.

“The plan is to have three weeks of solid training off this race to get ready for the UK Champs on July 8,” he said. “I will get back to base, re-set and recover and hopefully go into the UK Champs even fitter.”

Germany’s Frederic Ruppert had stormed off on Saturday night hoping to run the World Championship qualifying time of 8.15, but Battershill ran his own race and gradually clawed him back and overtook him with about 600m to go.

“I knew the pace would be 8.15 and, although my eventual goal is to run that, I felt tonight that might be a step too far,” Battershill said afterwards. “Kudos to the guys that went with that as it is the Olympic time for reason and it is super tough to run. I planned to be a tiny bit off that pace and just keep those guys in touch and I was able to claw them back in the last 1k.”

He added: “The atmosphere was crazy but it really dragged me around those last few laps that were really tough.”

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