British athletics will aim to kick their summer Olympic hangover when the UK’s showpiece indoor event takes place on Saturday in Birmingham.
The Indoor Grand Prix will see stars of Britain’s track and field team take on the world in the curtain-raiser for what is a huge year for the sport.
This outdoor season will include the World Championships in July and both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in August.
The most significant aspect of this weekend could be the middle-distance programme on Saturday, where Peter Elliott’s 1500m British record is under threat.
Five men who featured in the final at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics appear in this race too, including Briton Jake Wightman.
There is a strong contingent of Brits – six in total – led by Wightman who will be pushing for Elliott’s record.
He holds the Scottish record at three minutes and 34.48 seconds, and needs less than three tenths of a second to achieve the British record of 3:34.20.
British middle-distance running is strong at the moment and those competing on Saturday have had good preparation across the indoor season.
“After running 3000m indoors, I’m looking forward to dropping back down to 1500m and hopefully challenging my Scottish record,” Wightman told Athletics Weekly.
“This is a special time for British endurance running and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to compete against these guys in Birmingham.
“We’ve seen what’s possible by our athletes on the global stage and that provides us with inspiration every day to do better.
“I hope we can deliver some fast times, possibly even a British record, and a great race for the home crowd.”
The current indoor British record would only have been enough for ninth in the Tokyo 2020 final but the differences between indoor and outdoor running are stark.
Firstly, the track is a 200m loop rather than the outdoor 400m, which also means that it is banked like a cycling velodrome.
Furthermore, indoor conditions indoors negate much of the head or tail winds that can cause major fluctuations in timing.
It wouldn’t be a surprise, however, if a record fell tomorrow as the Birmingham track has been home to eight world records already this century – all of which have been on the track and over a distance of at least 1000m – and multiple other national milestones.
There will be a combined 160 Olympic and World medals in the field tomorrow, but Britain’s Laura Muir will not be there.
The Scottish middle-distance runner injured herself this month and will miss the entire indoor season, though she hopes to be back for the Commonwealth Games.
Among the star names competing, however, will be Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and Tokyo 200m bronze medalist Noah Lyles.
The duo are the star names in a pair of strong line-ups for the 60m, the sprint distance usually covered on the indoor circuit.
Elsewhere, the astronomical rise of pole vaulter Armand Duplantis has captured the track and field community worldwide.
The 22-year-old Swede’s indoor world record of 6.18m is one of the other notable marks under threat in the Midlands.