EUGENE, Ore. – For Oregon Track Club Elite’s Neil Gourley, it was mission accomplished last weekend.
The 24-year-old native of Glasgow, Scotland captured the 1,500 meters title at the British Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England on Sunday (Feb. 10). He ran an indoor personal best of 3 minutes, 44.76 seconds.
With the victory, Gourley secured a berth in the European Athletics Indoor Championships, March 1-3, in his hometown.
“I’m pleased with that,” Gourley told Athletics Weekly after the race. “I can’t get complacent now because the big challenge comes in a few weeks in my home city at the Europeans. I’m beyond motivated to do well there … I’m shooting for a medal in Glasgow. I’ll make no secret about that.”
Gourley, a former standout at Virginia Tech, won Saturday’s qualifying heat with a time of 3:48.37. In the 1,500m final, after a slow, tactical start, he moved into second place behind Elliot Giles on the bell lap. Gourley surged into the lead over the last 50 meters and held on for the narrow victory. Giles settled for second at 3:44.93.
“Job accomplished (for Neil) in winning the trial,” OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland said. “Now, he can look forward to representing his home nation in his hometown of Glasgow, and that will be a special occasion.”
Gourley, in his first season with OTC Elite, is scheduled to compete in the 1,500m at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix meeting in Birmingham on Feb. 16 as a final tune-up before the European Indoor Championships.