11/05/2010: At last! A new ClubNews!

Having taken one of the busiest periods of the Club calendar for his Spring break, The Scribe has been struggling a bit to catch up; he apologises for the delay, and for anything he’s missed.  So herewith the promised ‘Jumbo Edition,’ covering the opening meetings in three Leagues, the London Marathon, two West Yorkshire Leagues, the British Students’ Championships, numerous road races and a partridge in a pear tree!  Please let him know of any omissions in the usual manner!

DOUBLE CONTINENTAL STRIKE FROM A DISTANCE

The major news to break on the Club front during The Scribe’s absence was the double selection of Dave Webb and Susan Partridge to represent Great Britain in their respective Marathons at the European Championships in Barcelona at the end of July.  Susan, who’s had representative honours for Scotland before, will be making her GB debut in the event, having earned the place with her excellent performance in the London Marathon (see below); but if anything Dave’s is the more striking selection, being gained by his first-ever tilt at the event in Seville in February.  Clubnews is delighted to pass on the Club’s congratulations to both of them, and wish them a cool morning or evening to set PBs in.

BRIGHT START WITH OVERCAST PATCHES FOR LEAGUE SEASON

To say that the start of the 2010 Track & Field Leagues’ season has been a bit hectic is putting it mildly!  In retrospect new T. & F. C-ordinator Martin Horbury is probably regretting having accepted an opening home meeting in all three major regional competitions, as it involved three matches at South Leeds in eight days, which proved logistically challenging; in particular new Officials’ Co-ordinator Elaine Benson had a singularly torrid opening to her stewardship, and it was in The Scribe’s view a credit to her that although there were hiccups getting some officials there was nothing that caused a serious hold-up to any meeting.  A mixture of experience and new blood among Team Managers did pretty well to raise teams around two Bank Holidays with large numbers of people away, and at Senior level the British Students’ event taking a lot of likely athletes elsewhere.  There were two wins and a pretty good second place out of three starts; but in certain areas there were a lot of significant gaps in teams, and just how well the Club’s teams go over the season will as usual depend on how committed to team efforts the athletes – especially those with high-level calls on their time – are willing to be.  We shall see!

Each match, as usual, gets as full a report as The Scribe can manage – and he takes this opportunity to make a point.  He won’t, as he’s already said, be around quite as much this year; so it would be much appreciated if Team Managers could arrange for him to get results from meetings quickly (or in the case of the Young Athletes’ league, as quickly as Simon Fennell’s ****** computer programme will permit – to give some idea, Pat Schofield finally got the results sorted out at 1.a.m. on the Monday morning!), and if at all possible put in a brief report.  The quality of The Scribe’s efforts will depend on the information he’s fed; if you don’t get as good a service from Clubnews as in the past, it’s down to the sources!  Also as in previous years, details of Club members’ performances and placings appear on the Results’ Page of the website

25th April – National Junior League, Pennine Division, South Leeds

REASONABLE START AT THREE-QUARTER THROTTLE

The story of this match is reflected in the final score.  City of York, clearly a growing force, put out a more or less full team, and won easily; Leeds City, Trafford and Spenborough put out about three-quarters of a team each, and fought a fairly close match for second which the Club won; and the other three ‘teams’ failed to beat fourth place with their combined score.  The result was a meeting which, frankly like so many others in this League, failed to fire the spirit; this is not to denigrate the efforts of the athletes that turned out, who gave of their best and in some cases more so, but there’s an ingredient missing in this competition, which could be supplied if the Powers That be had a bit of  imagination.

The main weakness in the Leeds squad was a lack of jumpers in both genders.  On the Women’s side only Fran Coldwell and Laura Smith scored points, Laura essaying the Triple Jump as well as turning out in the Javelin, and Fran’s effort in the Long Jump was way below her best, mainly due to the event taking place immediately after she’d set a PB running solo in the 400m Hurdles – which in any case is over-distance for an Under-17.  The Throws were in the capable hands of Stacey Evenden and second-claim member Adanna Okeahialam (which The Scribe hopes he’s got right – if she’s annoyed she’s big enough to do damage!), who picked up points steadily all afternoon, with Adanna  (a member of Bingley, who appear to have given up on this League) producing a particularly impressive hammer.  The Male field events saw Mark Fuszard jumping alone and scoring well (there was no Vault due to the new equipment not being ready for use), and the Throws principally contested  and scored heavily in by Tom Connor and Karl Evenden – except when Jake Armstrong popped in to sling the bigger Discus to some effect , getting a metre closer to his Dad’s record.

The Men’s track team was badly affected by several absentees taking part in the Kid’s London Marathon, so a lot fell on a few.  Best effort of the day was Dale Worton’s 3000, a notable PB which with Alex Hart’s support clocked up the points.  Danny Davis took on the 800/1500 double, and was distinctly more pleased about the later than the former; Alex supported again in the 1500, while over 800 Robert Torch had a first track outing since his winter injuries, running soundly but clearly needing a bit of recuperative work as yet.  He also jogged a 100 for a point or two, with the returning Daniel Ibbitson as the ‘other half.’  There was a contrast in the longer sprints, where Dan Brownbill had a pretty good day, but Jack Mosley, clearly ‘off colour,’ had one to forget.

Such fireworks as there were came in the Women’s track events – and there were a few good squibs from a small number of girls; in fact picking the best effort is quite a challenge.  Does one go for the debut effort of another second-claimer, Rebecca Lambson, whose 10.11.2 3000 run with little opposition was striking to say the least?  (Rebecca, incidentally, is a member of Skipton, who don’t run track teams, so she may be turning out in Northern League matches later this season.)  Or does one select Kadena Cox running what appeared to a spectating scribe to be a ‘tactical’ 400, but which turned out to be four seconds faster than she’d ever run before?  Or were both overshadowed by 15-year-old Georgia Yearby, who on the basis of a couple of quick 300s ran her first 400 (a much tougher prospect), blasted into the Senior rankings, and then went on to win the 1500?  The reader can take his or her pick; to The Scribe they’re all meritorious.  There was also some good sprinting, especially over 200, from India Wilson, and some solid middle-distance support from Chloe Harley; and then Kadena, Georgia and Chloe made up three-quarters of a couple of sound relay teams, India and Fran respectively providing the other bits.

1st May – Northern Senior League, Div. 3 East, South Leeds

WIN MANAGED DESPITE SHORTAGE OF FIELDING LADIES

The story of last year was the weakness in depth of the ladies section, with all human resources being concentrated on the U.K. Women’s League and the men finding themselves short of female company in the Northern League.  While the Student Championships had an effect on things, it was worrying to see a similar imbalance in the first match of this year, with the field events in the hands of a couple of veterans; although on this occasion the track events were well filled; and with an almost complete Men’s team enough was done to win the first match in this Division, albeit narrowly.

Certainly nobody can disparage the efforts of the two Older Ladies in question.  Claire Ginn, making a return to competition  after illness (good to see you back, Claire), made a decent fist of hammer and Shot after a long gap; and everything else done was done by Hazel Barker, who did her ration of five field events and found enough for a relay leg as well, despite being only about six years younger than the rest of the team put together.  In fact, the match was won by only slightly less than the number of points this pair accrued.  There were two other returns to the Ladies’ team – Joanne Westerman, coming back after premature retirement and going a bit quicker than her fist outing in the West Yorkshire League a fortnight earlier, and Rachel Sidebottom, now fit again after a lengthy recovery from injury and starting to sho9w a bit of sharpness.  The other sprinter on view was Sheryl Punter, whose two runs consolidated her last year’s improvement and look promising for a good summer.  Three ladies covered the middle distances and scored solidly; Rachael Dyson turned in a solid double over 800 and 1500, while the 3000-metre pairing of Sarah Whitley and Julie Barley scored a near-maximum and then contributed a B-string run each, Julie’s 800 adding another to her collection of Over-45 Club Records

Apart from a lack of hurdlers the men’s team was pretty full, and with the exception of Tom Waiting and Mark Gilmer in the 100 (and that was a particularly strong event in depth) everybody finished in the first three in their events, with 13 winners out of a possible 36.  Mark made an additional contribution as part of a maximum-point 400 with Dan Brownbill, and all three contributed to winning relay teams, while the 200 saw the pairing of Mosley and Mosley (Tom A-string, Jack B) doing pretty well in another fiery one.  The Middle-distances were heavy points contributors throughout; Dale Worton gave another assured performance over 800, while Danny Davis was a full four seconds faster and considerably happier in the B race.  Geoff Belcher, giving the BUCS a miss, turned in a better-looking 1500, and needed to as he was pursued by the Bridgend Blockbuster, Elliot Cole; while James Smith took another step back towards his last year’s form (though he admits a few more are needed) in the 500, partnered by Ben Dyson, who won the B race on his track debut.  (There’s no truth in the rumour that Rachael threatened him with three day’s washing-up jankers if he didn’t!)  The most interesting debut, though, was Ali Mauizbin’s first Steeplechase, which as he’s still getting back into racing was an assured performance against a couple of North-Eastern big guns; James Lavin, who also picked up the odd point or two over 400 Hurdles, looked in good nick taking the B event.

The Field events saw a massive contribution from Tim Miller, who took on four events and scored a win and three seconds, including advancing his javelin PB by about half a metre; his win was part of the only Field maximum-pointer, as he took the B High-Jump, and it’s almost unnecessary to state who his partner was – Steve Linsell, in his thirty-sixth competitive season and over 1.80 yet again!  The somewhat younger Matt Allison (who’s contributed a mere 24 seasons to the sport!) left the Javelin alone to spare that dodgy shoulder, but was over forty metres with the Discus for the umpteenth year, and put put a decent Shot; his partner was the Refugee Triple-Jumper, Matt Barton, who beat two of his recent Isle of Wight PBs.  He left the Spear in the capable hands of Sam Allan, who duly won it after partnering David Milnes (who edged his PB up by a shade) in the Hammer.  Mark Fuszard put in a couple of good Jumps, including the first Leeds City clearance – close to his Best – on the new vaulting equipment, while the Triple Jump featured Julien Gittens, though he might not be too happy to be reminded of it; he was way behind his recent Over-45 record marks, and the Scribe suspects he had one of those days with finding the board.

It couldn’t really be called a vintage performance, though it was undoubtedly a gutsy one; and Martin Horbury and Mark Harrison know there’s plenty to be done before early June, not least in persuading people to travel to the Frozen North-East for the next three matches.   On the other hand, the fact that none of the other five clubs were able to raise a full team either indicates that it might not be too hard, with a bit of commitment, to stay well up in this Division, and push for a promotion for next year.

2nd May – National Young Athletes’ League, Northern Premier Division East, South Leeds

SOUND START TO THE NEW DISPENSATION

The perpetual problem of fitting a quart into a pint pot as for as events go in this League has finally brought about a massive restructure which means that the meetings this year will look very different.  There appear to the Scribe to be some positives – he particularly likes the idea that the number of points scored by an athlete equals the place that athlete finishes in the competition – but the reduction of the matches to three-club affairs reminds him forcibly of two earlier attempts to use the same formula which had to be abandoned due to producing uneven matches and resultant lack of athletes’ interest.  However, it couldn’t be said that the first match was a one-sided affair; after an afternoon’s battling, Leeds City got the better of Wakefield by a mere seven points, with Rotherham left a bit but not totally outclassed.

The two crucial thing under the new scoring scheme are the number of gaps in the team and the number of events in which a club can place the first two; and the first of them was a major factor in both Under-17 squads.  Of the two the Women, for once, had less gaps, but there was a dearth of second-strings in the middle distances and a shortage of jumpers, and there was only one eleven-pointer and a ten-pointer to counter them.  Both the high-scorers involved Fran Coldwell, who set a PB in the Long Jump and came close to it in both hurdles; in two of the events she was excellently backed by Claudia Chrappah, whose first attempt over the 100m Hurdles was impressive, and in the other Chloe Harley, while not scoring highly, ran a PB 300m Hurdles (and did score better in other events).  Claudia also contributed to a blistering 200 won by India Wilson, who if the experts in anthropology are to be believed is entirely the wrong shape to sprint; the experts should try chasing her!  Georgia Yearby had another excellent afternoon, lowering her 800 Best by not quite enough to get in the Rankings (that’ll spur her), narrowly missing another over 300 and even chucking a reasonable non-specialist Discus as one of several supports for Charlie Nicholson, who tackled three throws in spite of having a wrist strapped up.  One of her other supports, Laura Smith, was just going to do one hammer throw, but on being told how close she was to being ranked she had another go – and made it!   A special mention, incidentally, to two newcomers, Molly Flynn andSarah Brownbill (yes, Dan’s sister), who made their first appearances and contributed to the overall effort, Molly filling in throws and Sarah running a decent leg in a quick 4×300 relay team.

The Under-17 Lads are thin on the ground as well at the moment, but their efforts were balanced by the number of winners – eight – and maximum-score events – five – that they put up.  On the track there were few brilliant times; indeed those not in the know might ask what was wrong with Gordon Benson, Elliot Todd and Harry Foster.  They weren’t watching the two cases of economy of effort – if you can get eleven points with 4.40 for 1500, why strain for 4.10?  the other high scores were in the field, and three of them unsurprisingly involved Jake Armstrong; his Discus wasn’t quite up to his excellent best, though the long side of 45 metres isn’t to be sneezed at, but he added about eight inches to his Shot best and threw a wicked Javelin in support of a new (or almost new) name –Andrew Ettenfield.  Andrew was a member some years ago when elder brother Richard was competing, and last year returned after a spell with Skyrac; his contribution included two wins, the Javelin throw being good enough for the Ranking Lists.  There was an excellent contribution from Connor Morley, though in the High Jump he found himself against a couple of 1.80 performers, while a considerably livelier Jack Mosley was another of the winners, with Liam Braithwaite and Lorenzo Thompson providing sprint support, and Bradley Robinson continued to progress from being an also-jumped to a regular solid scorer.

If there was a big breakthrough of the day, it came in the Under-15 Boys’ sprints when Elliot Hurley blasted into the rankings in both 100 and 200 (oddly enough, in 12th place in each).  All last year he was just short of the standard; suddenly he’s a whole lot quicker and more assured, and he complemented his two sprint wins with a third in the Long Jump (he wasn’t far off that list, either).  The other big scorer, and season’s breaker-through, was Matt Campleman, who had two wins and a second (to Elliot in the Long Jump), and continued his striking hurdling progress, lopping another two-tenths off.  Not quite as decisive a breakthrough, but pleasing nonetheless, came from Max Ansell-Wood; not only did he improve his Hurdles by a fair chunk, but in one of the events where last year he was a ‘fill-in,’ the Discus, he produced a vastly-improved level of performance.  Luke Cooper didn’t set new marks, but won his two events with aplomb, but the only other maximum-score came from a surprising source.  Making his first appearance in the team, Appiah Kwarteng was a good winner in the High Jump, and right there with him was Jack Gape, just moved up from  the Under-13s and setting new figures at the first shot.  Matthew Speake andDaniel Harrison both got stuck in as they did last year, and in their middle-distance events both showed improvement; while Kieran Savage, another first-year thrown in with the bigger boys, ran a lot faster than in 2009 and has plenty of time to grow into it.  Like everybody bar the Under-17s, the relays were a Club monopoly.

There was only one gap in the Under-15 Girls’ team, when Esther Anaman, persuaded to volunteer for the 800, didn’t finish, but she made up for it with a good High Jump to support Alyssia Carr, who had a field-day with three individual wins all near her best.  There was a good, steady level of performance in this group, but only two maximum scores; Alyssia and Melissa Fletcher, to nobody’s surprise, dominated the Hurdles (Melissa also winning the Log Jump, supported by debutante Sian Gilmartin-Green), while the other came from a less-likely source – the versatile pairing of Nicola Sawyer and Gemma Keir.  No, it wasn’t in the middle distances, though both took part there and Gemma ran close to her best 1500; it came in the Javelin, where Gemma came close to a recent PB and Nicola set an even better one.  Hannah Ukandu was also on the march of progress, adding 20cm to her recent Shot best and contributing to the sprints; and last year’s ‘sticking-plaster kid, Amena Abdelaziz, emerged from the chrysalis as a much-more fledged sprinter (though she was putting in some throwing as well.  Indeed adding throws to other accomplishments appears to be the in thing at the moment; Grace Coburn, after her 1500, found the energy to sling a Discus to effect.

Weight for weight the Under-13 Boys must have been the points-scorers of the meeting, putting up maximum scores in exactly half their eight events, completing a clean sweep in the field and winning the relay in quick time.  It could have been Sam Clark’s day, with an enormous improvement -over 15 centimetres – in the Long Jump and another PB in the High, only he was edged out of the latter on countback by Kieron Lockwood, a winner on his debut.  Louie Hurley andHarry Ansell-Wood pulled in full points in the Hurdles, both setting Bests in the process (you can’t ask a lot more!), but the fun one was the Shot.  It was to be expected that George Armstrong would step up an age-group with assurance and be among the leaders, and indeed he produced a solid first effort with the bigger implement, only to be upstaged by Haris Hameed – and upstaged with a vengeance, as Haris added about two feet to his previous mark.  The other improver was Tom Harrison, who must rate very high on the aggression-to-weight ratio; second to Sam in the Long Jump, he also set new 100m figures taking on lads considerably bigger than his diminutive stature.  In points terms the middle-distance lads were somewhat overshadowed, but as only one isn’t a first-year they did well, and produced a level of performance which gives hope for improvement.  The ‘old boy,’ Jack Wormald, ran well in a tight 1500, and last yearTomas Szajdzicki would have own b races with his effort; while Haydn Williamson is on the wrong end of even the first year for age, and Billy Dawson is technically still under age (the turns 11 in June).

The Under-13 Girls did nearly as well, with three full-score events; and Caoimhe Crampton and Vikki Adams, two ‘survivors’ from last year’s squad who hadn’t moved up to the under-15s, played a big part in all of them together with two first-years, Jessica Barker and Eleanor James.  Caoimhe (who set new figures) combined with Eleanor in the Hurdles, and then with Vikki (who was the one to set a new mark this time) in the Shot; earlier in the afternoon Vikki and Jessica had dominated the High Jump, with Vikki making a day of it by adding five centimetres to her Best, while Jessica and Eleanor had expanded their contribution by placing second and third in the Long Jump, Jessica being the improver this time.  (There’ll be a test afterwards!!)
Add to that Caoimhe combining with debutante Gabby Cummings (another PB there) in the 75m and Eleanor and Jasmine Hardisty filling in the 800, and there’s a fine old stew brewing.  The final ingredient came in the 1200, filled by two familiar Club names – Benson and Scobie – and Laura and Gabrielleadded their bit by staging a fascinating little contest of their own and both getting under the Ranking standard – a sizeable improvement from Gabrielle.

The new dispensation is new in another way, in that League positions are decided, not on the basis of three points for a win and so on, but on aggregate match points; and while the Club is currently lying second to Gateshead, the team is 66 points adrift, with three others (Doncaster, City of Sheffield and Wakefield) less than ten points behind. The Scribe reckons that two wins out of four ought to guarantee a first-four finish and a place in the Area play-off in August, but clearly this is going to be less of a formality than it has been at times in the past; and then it would need a first -four place in that meeting to make a National Final, so it could be hard work.  What is needed is a few more gaps filling (which can be done) and continued commitment form everybody.  One thing has pleasantly surprised him; at first sight sufficient safeguards appear to have been built in to the new structure to minimise the sort of lop-sided fixtures he was expecting.

8/9th May – Yorkshire Track & Field Championships, Sheffield

MEDAL TALLY FEELS THE CHILL

Roger Norton’s comment to The Scribe – “I froze all Saturday at Don Valley, and froze a bit less there on Sunday” – says much about the County Championships this year.  After a couple of pleasant opening weeks the event was held in the middle of an unseasonable cold snap, to say nothing of a mithering east wind which tended to be in sprinters’ and jumpers’ faces, none of which was conducive to high-quality competition; so it’s hardly surprising that new PBs were few and far between.  The event also saw the lowest medal count for Leeds City for several years – eleven Gold, eleven Silver and thirteen Bronze – but this was as much a reflection of the comparatively small numbers of Club members who turned out.  Not that this was too much of a reflection; the entries seemed to be down all round, and whether this is a reflection of lack of interest among athletes in County events, failure of Club officials and County bodies to publicise the Championships adequately, coaches discouraging participation to concentrate on some other form of competition or some other factor, The Scribe isn’t sure.  He just reports things!

Oddly, there were rather more medals won on the Saturday, when the weather was at its worst, but rather fewer of them were Gold, and all were in the younger age-groups.  Tow went home to the same address as Jake and George Armstrong won their respective Shot competitions, both setting PBs in the process – 14.30 for Jake and 8.51 for George.  Both had company, as Connor Morley (9.05) made the Shot one of his events for the weekend (his medal-winning one, the Long Jump – PB of 5.43 – came later in the day) and Louie Hurley (6.61) and Harry Ansell-Wood (a PB 6.43) finished undisgraced in lower placings.  Harry went on to pick up a medal in Under-13 Long Jump, third with another Best of 4.57, with Tom Harrison (4.36) also entering new territory.  The other winners came from the Under-15 Girls, one being expected and the other a bonus.  Alyssia Carr was no surprise as a winner of the Hurdles, only hundredths slower than her Best (11.96), while behind her Melissa Fletcher finally cracked 13 seconds at about the fourth attempt (12.85); and if Hannah Ukandu was disappointed with a Silver medal in the Shot and an effort (8.21) a bit below last week, she made up for it  in the Javelin by adding about five metres to her Best (20.24) and bringing home the Gold.

The other medals came right across the age-range; and if anybody cares to suggest that 48-year-old Julien Gittens (12.13 for Silver in the triple) and 46-year-old Steve Linsell (another 1.80 and another Yorkshire Silver) might have been helped to medals by lack of entries, they might be advised to run for cover!   There was some sprightly 800-running from Mike Wood in the Under-20s (3rd in 1.58.91, with Rob Torch putting up a season’s fastest of 2.06.36) andGordon Benson and Elliot Todd in the under-17s (second and third with 1.59.29 and 2.00.97, Gordon’s being his first under two minutes.)

Matt Campleman started what was to be a successful weekend with a Silver in the Under-15 80m Hurdles, fractionally below his Best (12.53) and a best-equalling 1.55 for Bronze in the High Jump, while Elliot Hurley defied the headwind to clip seven-hundredths off his week-old 200m best for Bronze (24.13).  On the Ladies’ side there was no shock when Alice Simpson started a weekend of consistently good performances with a Bronze in the Senior Hammer (48.11), nor after the previous week when Fran Coldwell hit five metres again- exactly – and took Silver in the Under-17 Long Jump; but there was a bit of a turn-up when Caroline Park made the long trip from Darkest Swansea and claimed a Silver in the High Jump with 1.65

Sunday was a rather better day, particularly for titles.  Some came back for more; Jake Armstrong came back to add the Discus to his Shot title (47.78), whileAlyssia Carr (4.86) added the Long Jump to her titles, and then took Silver with a PB 1.50 in the High Jump for good measure.  Some came to do rather better than Saturday; Gordon Benson added a 1500 Gold and a Best with 4.03.64, and Dan Gardiner, who’d had to be contented with 5th in the Shot the day before, got a full set, winning the Long Jump with 7.14, cracking a significant barrier with the Discus in gaining Bronze (40 07) and then setting his second Javelin Best in a week (52.58) for Silver.  Some travelled a fair way; Matt Hudson came up from Bath to win the 110m Hurdles (14.32) and Kadena Cox came from Warwick for the 200 and took back a Silver (25.58).  Some came to go away full-handed; Caoimhe Crampton took a couple of Golds home from the Under-13 80m (11.41, near her best) and Shot (7.39, likewise). Alice Simpson (3rd  Discus, 37.59), Mike Wood (3rd 1500, 4.05.84) and Matt Campleman (3rd Long Jump, 5.05) added to their previous day’s haul, Luke Cooper sliced a couple of seconds off his previous Best in taking Silver in the Under-15 800 (2.06.64), and Bronze medallist Sheryl Punter (59.63 heat and 59.85 Final) showed that after last year cracking sixty is becoming routine.

25th April – London Marathon

DARRAN’S TALE OF SUSAN’S DAY

The Scribe is of the opinion that a first-hand report is worth half a dozen of what he makes up from result-sheets; ans when it comes to the London Marathon it doesn’t get much more first-hand than Darran Bilton.  Metamorphosing from the Pickering Pixie to the Wordsmith of the Wolds, This is Darrran’s account of the race which gave a boost to the Club’s reputation, put a big feather in his cap, and an enormous plume in somebody else’s.  Read on!

“The Good, the Bad & the Downright Ugly Show (as the marathon can and did turn out to be!) saw great performances on an International scale and also some pretty gutsy runs from some Leeds men & women.  The weather forecast predicted a sunny start with a possibility of showers later – not that most of the Leeds runners intended to be running later!  However, as is often the case, the weathermen got it wrong and runners were subjected to a heavy (and very cold) downpour just twenty minutes from the start.  As a result the first half of the race was pretty humid (hindering the body’s cooling mechanism, therefore increasing the propensity to cramp).

Right, there are the technicalities out of the way. So how did we do? The Men’s team were odds on for a team medal amongst some very strong teams indeed, with athletes gunning for Commonwealth places, including one Alan Buckley. Alan’s race went pretty much to plan as he passed half way in 69.15. The second half didn’t quite go as well… he suffered badly from mile 20 & he showed amazing determination to finish in 2.46.43… many other elites would have posted a DNF.

So first to finish was the hardy perennial Darran Bilton, going for his fourth consecutive M****rs trophy (a feat never before accomplished in the marathon’s thirty-year history). Al;l looked well as a half-way mark of 71.24 put him on course for his predicted 2.23 finishing time; however, like so many in the race, the humid conditions lowered the glass ceiling on his performance.  He finished in a creditable 2.25.08, which turned out to be enough to beat the other pretender to his Masters throne by seventy seconds; which was 69 seconds enough!

Second counter came in the form of Paul Marchant, a strong athlete who just gets stronger by the race. He is proving to be a great asset (and future asset) to the ‘sharp end’ of the team. Again, a sensible 72.58 first half set the ground for an amazing 2.27.20. Hot on Bilto’s heels, he earned his marathon wings with gusto. Please note Paul, try to look a little bit tired at the end of 26.2 miles; it makes you look mortal.  Third man in took the form of Mike Burrett, whose initial aim of 2.24 was perhaps a little ambitious on the day; he was able to run on target for the first half (71.53) but lost a little ground during the second half to finish in 2.31.11, a time of high enough quality to bring him well in the coveted top 100 & more importantly Paul, Bilto & Burretta ran well enough to clinch a Bronze team medal (TBC).

Impressive as the above runs were, the ‘man’ (er, woman) of the match was Susan Partridge.  For once it’s no exaggeration to say that she ran the race of her life to finish 17th  in the elite ladies race, starting earlier in the day than the rest of the field, in an International standard time of 2.35.57. We doff our caps & congratulate Susan on a fantastic performance.”

Darran also supplied the performances of the other Leeds City finishers, to save The Scribe having to search, and some pretty good ones there were.  Leon Foster, who normally looks for paths for trains, found a path to the finish in 2.54.28 for a very fair debut at the distance, while Danny Jones ran a bit quicker than last year (3.21.00) to hold off the Battling masseur, Chris Corcoran, by a mere five seconds.   Further back, much-injured Super-Vet Paul Monaghan(he’s only been seen at the Stadium on Chris’ massage-table) took a step or two (or several) down the road to recovery with 4.56.04.

ODDS, ENDS, MEDALS AND CURIOSITIES

Kevin Gardiner, he Scribe’s contact with the student world, has been good enough to supply details of the efforts of some of our members in the British Students’ Championships, held at “a cold and windy Bedford” between may 1st and 3rd, and has been able to record a good level of success, with four members coming home with medals, even if the only Gold was for a relay.  There were two individual Silver medals, one for Alice Simpson in the Hammer (49.87), the highest placing of a very successful weekend which saw her place 4th in the Shot (12.64) and reserve her one improvement, as is often the way, for the event she finished lowest in, the Discus, where an excellent 38.15 only made 5th.  The other fell to Dan Gardiner, who had a pretty eventful weekend; he started out by “surprising himself (and) making the 100m Final and finishing 7th, clocking 10.78 (heat), 10.83 (Semi) and 10.85” – all of which beat his previous Best.  However, his sprinting got in the way of the Discus, and after carrying on running from the Semi-final finish to the cage he threw 38.57 – and just missed qualifying.” The following day saw a similar pattern, as “with his mind on the Long Jump Final he did three no-throws in the Shot,” but compensated with the medal gained with 7.19  – not quite as far as the 7.28 he’s done the week before at Cosford in a Leeds Met. Team, but good enough.

Two Bronze medals were also gained.  Umar Hameed has had a patchy time with injuries, but if his series in the 200 is anything to go by – 22.02 heat, 21.67 semi, 21.59 for Bronze, a hundredth of a second shy of his best – the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train!  James Wilkinson, who seems to be giving himself a bit of variety in early-season events (and why not?) chose the 1500 this time, and produced a model of consistency over the three rounds – 3.53.30, 3.52.03, 3.51.64.

The other person to come away most happy with her performance was Kadena Cox, in spite of a disqualification in the semis of the 100m.  She’d equalled her PB (12.55) in the Heat, but did substantially better than that in the 200, running a 25.19 time which places her third on the Club lists. A pretty close 25.48, however, wasn’t enough to reach the Final.  Also in action was Jenny Lumley, for the first time in a while, Long-jumping an excellent 5.31 to qualify for the Final (she did 5.09) and also qualifying for the High Jump with 1.60 (but not doing it – that back hasn’t gone again, has it??)  Anthony Timms joined Dan in the Long Jump Final (6.48 Qualifier) but was wind-blown off the board;
Mike Salter (1.56.80 heat, 1.57.97 semi) didn’t make the 800 Final; and Tom Roberts (52.23) had a run out in the 400.

There was one Club member who reckoned the guys in the London Marathon were having it easy!  Chris Birchall was that morning taking part in the Three Peaks Race for the second time, and certainly seems to have got the hang of getting round Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in style.  This year he finished 4th in 3.11.49, and won the trophy for the first member of a Yorkshire club to finish; regrettably he hasn’t yet got it, as the previous winner didn’t come this year and the pot hadn’t been returned.  Information (via Lunchtime O’Surf) suggests it’s on its way!

The curiosities of the North are often best seen and appreciated by the outsider – especially when the Outsider in question is rapidly becoming one of the Curiosities of the North himself!  Yes, Gavin Chatterton, Essex’s Master of the Fells, has been at it again on April 25th, and tells the tale in his own inimitable fashion:-

“My racing comeback was confirmed last night in the gloriously entitled Dick Hudson s Fell Race. Barely advertised (it is actually on the BoFRA site though), the race consisted of starting near White Wells Cottage on Ilkley Moor, where we were given the fantastically vague set of instructions to run to Dick Hudson s pub, (on the Bingley side of the moor) touch the wall, and come back.  No markings, no set route, just whatever you felt was quickest.  No race distance or height gain was declared either. Oh, and you could also ride a bike if you wanted.  Anyhow, I was first runner home in 48.48, but lost out by about four minutes to a cyclo-cross bloke who made the most of drier conditions and had spent several grand on a carbon death machine, but beat six others on bikes!  My prize? – 4 cans of Tetleys. At this rate I might turn professional…….”

After being missing from the results for nearly a year Martin Sanders has started popping up all over the place.  On April 24th he turned up in Lancaster for theWray Scarecrow 10k,  and finished second in 35.08 – though somewhat remarkably the guy who beat him was a Scottish Over-50!   A week later he was one of several takers at the Rothwell 10k, and finished a handy 10th in 34.14, but was a bit behind Fergus Meade, who placed second in 33.04 – the best part of three minutes behind Andrew Pearson (but then a lot of people would be!).  Other finishers were John Mace (175th, 43.00) who was 8th Over-55 and probably picked up a Locals’ Award as he only had to pop down the road, and Mark Sawyer (368th, 50.10), who wasn’t displeased with his first-ever 10k and claimed to be looking forward to another debut – in the Leeds Half-Marathon.

There were a couple of other people out looking at some distance for competition and finding success along with it.  Another of the Club’s ‘semi-detached’ members (he lives in York), Aidan Adams, also found a race to feature in, turning out in the Kirkbymoorside 10k and winning it by over 2½ minutes in 33.42 – which isn’t a bad time when you look at the contour lines round Kirkbymoorside.  Alison Varley ventured a little further afield and ran a little further; she turned out in the Keswick Half-Marathon for what was possibly a debut over the distance, and ran a fine 1..34.49, good for 4th place among the Ladies and for bringing Home the Veterans’ award.

On yet another trip to London – to Copthall this time for the London Games Julien Gittens had another nibble at his Over-45 Triple Jump record, extending it to 12.48.  Must be something in  the air down there!

The first West Yorkshire Track League meeting at York on April 18th wasn’t over-well attended all round,  but the Leeds City people who turned up seemed to have a good day of it.  Most decisive winner was Caoimhe Crampton, who took the Under-13 70m Hurdles by fully two seconds in 13.4, and then went on to take seconds in the 80-m (11.8) and Discus (14.070 – a versatile effort.  Jessica Barker (12.8 and second in the Long Jump with 3.79) also scored well in this age-group.  Melissa Fletcher wasn’t quite as decisive in the Under-15 Hurdles, but 0.3 seconds is still a sizable win (13.2). There was some very fair Shot-putting done in this age-group, with Hannah Ukandu extending her PB to 8.24, and both Nicola Sawyer (7.03) and Grace Coburn (6.55) performing well in addition to tackling their middle-distance specialities.

Among the Under-17s it took a remarkably good run from Wakefield’s Grace Eyles, who has form at the event, to get the better of Georgia Yearby, whose 41.9  lowered he previous mark by around half a second, and nobody got the better of her in the 800, as she finished four seconds clear in 2.27.2; India Wilson(44.4) also set new 300 figures after running what looked from the times to be an into-wind 100 (13.7)

Again it was the younger male athletes who caught the eye most; Louie Hurley had a good Under-13 treble over 80m (11.7), Long Jump (4.22) and 75m Hurdles (14.1), though a bit behind Holmfirth’s promising Aaron Kettlewell; while Tomas Szajdzicki first effort over 800m (2.40.4) looked quite promising for a  lad who’s not long turned eleven.  The equally young Haydn Williamson had a bash at both sprinting (123.2)and 800 (2.59.1).  Louie’s elder brother Elliotran a sound Under-15 100 in 12.1, though it was to pale beside his later efforts (see above); and the older Liam Braithwaite had a steady Under-17 200 (25.7) to pick up points.  Most prolific athlete on view, however, was Tom Lindsay, who did hid usual batch of Senior events – 100m (12.1), High Jump (winner with 1.75), Shot (8.35) and Javelin (34.11), in which he beat Matt (“I’m a Thrower – honest!”) Barton by 17 centimetres.

The second West Yorkshire League meeting, on May 6th at Cleckheaton, was notable for a Club and League record being smashed when George Armstrong slung the 1k Discus to within nine centimetres of the thirty-metre barrier – and that’s quite a barrier for Under-13 lads, even when they’re not quite so little as some!  It certainly takes a good ‘un to deprive Jacob Gardiner of a record, and thee was some fine support throwing from Haris Hameed (17.60) and Louie Hurley (15.28) both of whom progressed up the List and also did a fair effort at sprinting over 80m (12.32 and 11.84 respectively, the latter being just a hundredth of a second better than Sam Clark’s effort).  Elliot Hurley won another quick Under-15 200 (24.52), and was chased enthusiastically byMatt Campleman, who also threw a pretty mean Discus (25.55) to win an event that he’ need to learn to handle if he has serious multi-event ambitions.  There was a debut 800 (2.27.28) from Jack Allinson, who’s at the bottom of the age-group and certainly showed promise (and a reasonably quick 2000 – 29.04 – for a middle-distance runner), while Connor Morley cleared 1.60, which was more than any of his Under-17 opponents could manage.

There was quite a bit of fiery sprinting from the girls, none more so than from Caoimhe Crampton, who seems to have been going better as hurdler and thrower this year; however, not many Under-13s get the better of Spenborough’s Ashton Greenwood, as Caoimhe did – though only by a hundredth of a second; she also cleared 1.15 in the High Jump.  Alyssia Carr’s 27.74 for the Under-15 200 would have been a notable performance on any other day; on this day it was an also-ran effort as Halifax’s Kate Wasyliw was over two seconds faster breaking the League record.  Alyssia’s moment, however, came in the Long Jump, which she won by about a foot (4.71) from Melissa Fletcher (4.36); Melissa’s 200 (29.33) wasn’t far off her best.  India Wilson was quick (27.45), but not quite as quick as the previous weekend, in the Under-17 200, while Nicola Sawyer (2.42.89) and Chloe Harley (2.40.40) had form runs in their respective 800s.

May 9th saw a few of the Club’s more hardened Harriers picking up pots and doing things.  Over in the Far East Darran Bilton won the Beverley 10k by something over a minute in 31.42, which as it was the allocated event makes him the Yorkshire Veterans’ 10k Champion – as if there was much chance of a rival! Meanwhile a bit nearer home Martin Hilton celebrated becoming a proto-Veteran by winning the Knaresborough 10k Trail Race on his 35th birthday by a margin of about three minutes from Mark Bryant.  (If one thing was guaranteed to make the Scribe feel his years, it’s when his nephew starts qualifying for veterans’ awards!)  Leeds Half-Marathon results seem (as often) quite hard to come by, but there were a couple of members in the first fifty – Pete Steel, 31st in 1.19.59 and Fergus Meade, whose 63rd place (1.24.32) seems to indicate that he had a rough time of it.  A bit further back Mark Sawyer made his debut, and missed out on breaking two hours by a mere 42 seconds.

HISTORICAL NOTES

Apropos of the recent question as to whether Simon Deakin’s achievement of eight consecutive National Senior team medals was a unique post-war achievement, The Scribe and Roger Norton have (with the assistance of E.C.C.A.’s John Temperton) have been doing a bit of research into the only other possibilities, the members of the Portsmouth A.C. Team which also gained eight consecutive sets in the 1960s – and sorry, Deek, you’ve got two rivals.  Martin Hyman and John Cooke also featured in all eight teams – so you need a 2011 medal to be unique!

The Scribe has recently had a communication from former member Alan Cattell, asking whether his Long Jump performances of many years ago could feature on the Rankings.  Certainly they’re good enough – 5.68 as an Under-15 and 6.29 as an Under-17 – but unfortunately they date from the early 1960s – and that was before Leeds City was founded!  Still, Alan asks to be remembered to those still around who remember either him or his son Jonathan, who was a member in the 1990s.