08/04/2010: Recent weeks in retrospect

The Scribe has been rather involved with the doings of a certain small blue engine in the last fortnight or so; however, he and his spies have been around and the collective results of his gleanings are assembled below:-

WHAT THE HARRIERS HAVE BEEN UP TO

James Wilkinson duly earned his first Senior international in the World Cross-Country Championships at Bydgoszcz in Poland on the 28th, and finished well down the field in 107th place – which is what might be expected of a first-timer in such a high level of competition.  Of more significance was the fact that he was only about three minutes down on national champion Mo Farah, and four down on the Kenyan winner, which isn’t indicative of a poor performance.  The Scribe begs leave to wonder, though, how much better he (and the other British representatives) might have gone if there’s been a full team aiming to finish as high as possible.

It was a slightly lower representative level, but every bit as satisfactory a run, as Gordon Benson became the latest Club member to run in the Schools’ Home International on the previous day (March 27th), and made a proper job of it; having ‘only’ finished 7th in the English Schools’ Intermediate Boys’ race, he duly placed 5th at the higher level, as England placed the first six finishers.  It was definitely worth going to Truro for.

The five Club members who took part in the Wilmslow Half-Marathon finished second to Tipton in the U.K. Half-Marathon Championship with three to count, but would have beaten everybody out of sight with four; however, their performances were a bit up and down.  After his excellent National Alan Buckleyappeared to have had an off-day, but  his 68.37 in 17th was done as a ‘tempo run’ in preparation for a future Marathon.  Chris Birchall (20th, 69.09) probably ran fairly close to recent form, but the other two were more satisfied with their runs; Mike Burrett (22nd, 69.22) was only eight seconds slower than his Best, and Paul Marchant (23rd, 69.49) took half a minute or so off his Bridlington time of a few months back.  Fifth finisher was a long way back, but anything but disappointed; Chris Corcoran, 272nd overall, was fifth in the Over-55 category in 89.57, half a minute faster than earlier in the year.

An unfamiliar name made a first appearance in Club colours on the same day at the Lightwater Valley 10k, run as part of the Help for Heroes Campaign;Fergus Meade, who recently joined the Club from Down South, marked his opening effort with third place behind Morpeth’s Terry Wall.  And where has he moved from?  No less a club than Aldershot, Farnham & District!  (The Scribe forbears to repeat the version of the Club’s name bandied about some years ago by Colin Lancaster – who was originally from Brighton!)

Very nearly a new name – he made his first appearance the previous week – Ali Mauizbin made a bit of a mark in the Wakefield City Centre 10k, placing 7th in 34.19.  He had a couple for company; John Wood placed 37th in 37.55, while one behind him Trevor Clough (38.01) was the third over-50 over the line.

Jennie Guard tried something a bit different – she went for the long stuff and ran the Baildon Boundary Way Race, which covers somewhere around 13 miles and the odd climb (as anyone who’s been to Baildon will know!)  She was actually fifth female finisher in 51st place (1.40.47), but picked up second Ladies’ award; three of those in front of her were Over-35 Vets.  Significantly, there were twenty Senior Lady finishers, but fifty-nine Over-35s.

A name that hasn’t been seen around much in results in the last twelve months is Martin Sanders, but in recent surfings The Scribe unearthed a recent effort in a slightly unlikely setting (or has he moved?) of British West Hartlepool (where of course they ….)   He placed 9th of a field of over 300 in 28.15 in theHartlepool Marina 5-Mile Race on the 28th, behind some of New Marske’s young fliers.

Togetherness is a wonderful thing ….. Rachael Dyson had a recent win in the Ladies’ section of the Alexandra Park 5k Series in spite of being misrecorded as a man.  To show there were no hard feelings, she not only went again – and won again in 15th place overall (19.05) – but took husband Ben along for the trip.  He finished 4th in 17.03.

WHAT THE TRACKERS HAE BEEN UP TO

In the last issue of Clubnews The Scribe recorded Steve Linsell’s thirtieth almost-consecutive season of clearing 1.80 or better – and he’s pleased to record that it’s got better to the extent of a new British Over-45 Indoor Record of 1.85, achieved at the British M****rs’ Championships at Lee Valley on the 28th.  The Old Leaper was 20cm clear of his contemporaries in taking the title, one of five to come the Club’s way, and 10cm higher than anyone else of any age at the Championships.  There was another title, also in Steve’s age-group, for the Club’s other remarkable antediluvian leaper, Julien Gittens; he’d hoped for twelve metres, and missed it by a centimetre, but 11.99 was a metre and a half further than any of his contemporaries were able to raise.  The other three titles fell toHazel Barker, in the Over-50 Ladies’ Hurdles (10.18), High Jump (1.35) and Shot (10.07), with a Silver in the Long Jump (3.74) for good measure.  There were also three medals for the returning-to-action Tony Bowman, not far short of his 74th birthday, with Silver in the 200 (31.20) and Bronze in 60 (9.18) and 400 (78.21); and in case some people don’t think the Old Codgers can get competitive, the two who beat Tony over 60 were given the same time.

28th March wasn’t a bad day for Club records, either, in spite of members scattering to three Open Meetings across the North; two went down at separate venues.  Biggest bang at the Ivan Stringer Open at Cleckheaton came from Alice Simpson, who inched (or centimetred, if you want to be pernickety) nearer to the 50-metre mark with the Hammer opening her season with 49.25; she also slung a handy 34.18 Discus, and sister Carrie added to the family’s good day with 29.43.  There were some more quite fair openers among throwers; Connor Morley threw a decent first 700-gram Javelin (23.72) as well as long-jumping 4.91, but was a bit upstaged by the first competitive appearance of his elder brother Chris, who reached 27.52 with the 800 g Spear and also chucked an 18.71 Discus – Vets’ League, Chris???  Louie Hurley (6.98) and Haris Hameed (6.84) didn’t go quite as well in the Under-13 Shot with the roof off as a fortnight before, but among the Under-15 Girls Nicola Sawyer put out a decent 7.02 and Grace Coburn (more often seen running) launched a handy 6.70.  The two were among a number who tried a bit of all sorts; Nicola ran 2.43.9 for 800 and 31.2 for 200, Grace ran 1500 in 5.50.8 and gave the High Jump a go as well, and Sian Gilmartin-Green combined 3.89 Long, 6.19 Shot and 14.4 100.  More pentathletes in the offing, perhaps?

Most of the other turners-out here were in the sprints and jumps, in several cases doing both.  Under-13 Girl Jessica Barker, clearly recovered from her close encounter with the High-Jump equipment at South Leeds, ran 11.7 for 75 metres and cleared 1.20, while among the Under-15 Lads Elliot Hurley had a very sound opening treble of 12.3 100, 25.3 200 and 5.09 Long Jump (Brother Louie also recorded 4.00). Both Liam Braithwaite (26.6 and 60.2) and India Wilson (28.0 and 66.7) had a bash at the longer sprints, and it was good to see Joanne Westerman back in competition again (30.8 and 73.9).

The other Club record went down at the Scunthorpe Open, where Gemma Keir went east and had a mixed sort of a day.  The record came over 1000 metres, admittedly a less-often contested distance, but as she took about 15 seconds off her under-13 time with 3.13.1 in her first race at the older level it was clearly a sound run.  She then went on to make the Ranking Lists with the javelin, throwing 15.21 with the heavier implement at first time of asking, but had, according to Dad Brad,  a pretty traumatic Discus competition – one that “fell out of her hand” and “two really good ones which they said were on the line.”  There were apparently complaints from several competitors that the line rule was being misinterpreted.  (For the benefit of everybody who takes part in, or helps officiate, long throws, the rule is that the inside of the white line marking the sector is the boundary; and The Scribe was once in his officialling career told off for getting it wrong!)

There was also a small Expeditionary Force – four of them, in fact – who headed across the hills to the Land of the Pier and the Mintballs and competed in theWigan Spring Open – to some considerable effect.  The only one of the quartet who didn’t win an event was Melissa Fletcher, and as she set a P.B. of 13.8 in the Under-15 100 and posted a very useful opening mark of 13.2 in the 75m Hurdles she wasn’t an unhappy bunny.  Alyssia Carr was somewhat happier with a couple of wins – another inaugural effort of 11.9 in the Hurdles, ninth on the All-time List, and a P.B. 4.92 in the Long Jump, while Caoimhe Crampton, who’s still under 13, came close to two P.B.s in winning 100m (14.3) and Shot (6.79).  The only male participant was Matt Campleman, and he also launched his outdoor hurdling season in style with 12.7 – a full second faster than he did last year.  (Mind you, the hurdles look a lot smaller this year!)  He then took almost as much off his 100m time with 12.8, and in the Shot, done to “see if he could do it outdoors as well as in,” he proved the point with 8.91, just 14 centimetres short of his undercover best.

Having broken the Club Hammer record on one weekend, Alice Simpson did rather better on the next; at the Wakefield Spring Open on April 3rd she broke a barrier by becoming the first Leeds City female Hammer-chucker to exceed fifty metres, and quite handsomely too with 51.42.  She also added a few centimetres (34.73) to her season’s best Discus, a thing which sister Carrie (28.88) couldn’t quite manage, but it was a fair family day out nonetheless.  There were a couple of others; the Hurleys had a good day, with Elliot setting a P.B. Over 100m (12.13) plus a decent Long Jump (5.21) and Louie extended his Shot best to 7.46 behind Haris Hameed’s 7.60, while Khalil Abdelaziz put his name on the Under-11 Lists at 80m (13.42) and Long Jump (3.07) to show big sister Amena (who cracked 14 seconds for 100m for the first time – 13.94) she wasn’t the only one in the family who could do something.  Jessica Barkermade another mark on the Under-13 Lists – 100m in 15.15 – and little sister Rebecca – who’s only just old enough to turn out – nearly did the same among the Under-11s.

There was quite a little crop of P.B.s all around the ages.  Gemma Keir brought her 800 mark down with a thump from around 2.34 to 2.27.73, Liam Braithwaite got under 60 for the 400 for the first time,
Caoimhe Crampton lowered her 100m time for the second week (14.14) and Tom Harrison made a major stride in the Under-13 100 by doing 13.76 – last year he struggled to break 14, and he’s still a good bit of growing to do. 
There were also some intriguing debuts; Tom Roberts came home from the Flatlands and turned in a very promising 61.0 for the 400 Hurdles, and India Wilson and Georgia Yearby both essayed 300 metres now they’re old ladies of fifteen or so!  India’s 45.18 was a very fair first effort – but Georgia’s 42.23 was something else entirely!  The Scribe thought anyone with a range like 26.8 for 200 and 5.20 for 1500 might have potential over 300/400 – and he may yet be proved right.

There were plenty of other good efforts.  Alyssia Carr (13.47 100 and 12.43 Hurdles) and Melissa Fletcher (14.01 and 13.22) didn’t set bests for once, but nobody can do it week after week; Nicola Sawyer did set a Best over 800 (2.40.33) but was a bit down with the Shot (6.29); Grace Coburn (2.49.96 and 5.96) also had a bash at both.  Others out in several events among the youngsters were Sian Gilmartin-Green and Esther Anaman, who performed capably but below recent Bests, and Luke Cooper, who showed quite a startling range with 800 (2.12.97), High Jump (1.40) and Shot..  The slightly older Fran Coldwell settled for one, her ‘summer special’ the 300m Hurdles, and opened with a promising 48.7.  Apart from Tom, the only Senior in evidence was Matt Barton – and he was playing at hammer-throwing (22.94).

One The Scribe missed was the British Students’ Indoor Championships at Sheffield on the 13th/14th weekend, and he’s grateful to Kevin Gardiner for sending information on it.  There was only one medal among the Club members who turned out, and it was Alice Simpson who brought it home in the Shot with a near-Best of 12.93.  There were a couple of close calls; Umar Hameed, after a couple of good runs in the 60 on the Saturday (7.17 and 7.09) weren’t quiet enough to make the Final, did so in the 200 and finished 4th with a pair of consistent efforts – 21.96 in the heat and a hundredth faster in the Final, while Dan Gardiner set an indoor Best of 7.17 and was lying third for the first five rounds, only to be sneaked past on the last one.  He also did the Vault, clearing 4.20 and just missing out on 4.40, and he had company in both events; Anthony Timms jumped 6.79 for 6th, while Tom Wagner cleared 3.60.  Also in action wereSpike Williams, who didn’t get through the 3000 heats with 9.08.06 (not a bad effort for one who’s not done much indoors), and Jenny Lumley, running a 200m relay leg for Leeds Met.