For Jake Wightman, being an athlete wasn’t so much the best option but the only option. “I didn’t have any choice to be honest!” he says. With international-class marathon runners for parents, Jake grew up in and around the sport and by the time he was eight years old, he was already competing against boys several years older than him.
As an underclassman, Jake won the 2011 Scottish Schools Championships over 1500m. Two years later, Jake won his first international gold medal, taking the title at 1500m at the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy. The following year, Jake was among the best milers in Britain, and represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Improving year-by-year, in 2016, Jake was named to Team GB’s squad for the European Championships in Amsterdam, where he qualified for his first senior-level international final, placing seventh.
With the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London in mind, Jake’s current season has gotten off to an excellent start, with an indoor personal best of 3:57.24 for the mile run at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, as well as a stunning win over 1500m at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway in early June. That result, among other key performances, earned Jake a spot on the British squad for the IAAF World Championships in London.
His first major championships as a senior athlete, Jake finished one spot short of qualifying for the 1500m final. Disappointed but determined, he bounced back the following year to have a phenomenal season of results, including sixth at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships 1500m final, fourth in the final of the 800m at the Commonwealth Games, and bronze medal-winning runs over 1500m at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.
Jake's 2019 season got off to a slower start as he dealt with an injury, but by summer he was back in full swing, running a new lifetime mile best of 3:52.02 and qualifying for his second World Athletics Championships. At the World Championships, Jake finished an impressive fifth in the final of the 1500m, in a time of 3:31.87, a new Scottish Record.
Showing he picked up exactly where he left off, Jake's first and only race of the 2020 indoor season saw him run 2:17.51 for 1000m, breaking the British record which had stood since 1992. In the truncated 2020 outdoor season, Wightman was nothing short of brilliant, setting new lifetime bests at 800m and 1500m, the latter of which in 3:29.47, smashing his own Scottish record and becoming the second-fastest Briton of all-time.