'Elite' is becoming very overused. Someone I know described his football coaching as the 'Brentford elite Under 9s' and he wasn't being ironic. Another running coach who should have known better described the 'elite' marathoners he had supported. When I asked him about this, the entry point to elitism, for his own promotion at least, was sub 2.45, the UK Athletics Marathon Championship entry standard. Strangely, none of the guys I have coached who have run somewhat quicker than this, would pitch elite as sub 2.45. About one minute a mile faster, maybe.
So, it was very pleasing last week to see Jake Shelley break 8.00 for 3k indoors, just being outsprinted by an Irish runner as he clocked 7.59.5, a big PB and further evidence of the benefits of altitude (Alberquerque) and the University of New Mexico set up. Oh, and his own great work ethic to maximise his undoubted natural ability. 8.00 is the European Federation's qualifying time for the continent's indoor championships in March although UK Athletics sets its own even more standards.
Jake has a degree in Biochemistry from Somerville College, Oxford, bizarrely the same academic pathway as a certain Margaret Thatcher followed, though his ambitions for power don't extend beyond the world of distance running. Though he is carving out a special relationship with the USA.