Home > Runs & Races

British champ sets world U20 indoor 800m record with 1:59.03 run in Austria

Keely Hodgkinson broke two minutes for the first time, smashing the 17-year-old world record by two seconds

Photo by: Instagram/keely.hodgkinson

Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson ran to the world U20 indoor 800m record at a meet in Vienna on Saturday, taking the win in 1:59.03. The previous world record was 2:01.03, which Ethiopia’s Meskerem Legesse set in 2004, making Hodgkinson, who turns 19 in March, the first U20 runner in history to break two minutes in the indoor 800m.


A record-breaking run 

After the opening two laps of the race, Hodgkinson sat in fourth place, but shortly after passing through halfway in 57.67, she powered to the front of the pack. With 200m to go, she had a healthy lead over second place, but she wasn’t ready to settle for the win, instead focusing on the U20 world record. She closed the last lap in a little more than 30 seconds to break the tape faster than any other U20 athlete in history, beating the previous record by exactly two seconds. 

RELATED: PBs and world bests at 2021 World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meet in Karlsruhe

The run in Vienna marked the first time in Hodgkinson’s career that she ran under two minutes in the 800m, indoors or outdoors. Saturday’s result also gives her the world lead so far in 2021, it puts her at fourth all-time in the senior British indoor 800m rankings and it is well under the Olympic standard of 1:59.50. 


Just the beginning 

Hodgkinson has accomplished so much in her young career. At the same event in Vienna last year, she set the European U20 record, running 2:01.16. She shattered that PB on Saturday, adding to her already impressive resume. In addition to her two British senior titles, she has a bronze medal from the 2019 European U20 Championships and a gold from the European U18 Championships in 2018. She also owns many national junior medals from previous British championship events. 

RELATED: Andrea Seccafien runs to PB, third-place finish at Australian 10,000m championships