The track is back!

Biggleswade AC chairman Damien Pitts wraps up his track resurfacing diary:

Day 63 – 26 May 2017

Earlier today I attended the handover meeting from the contractors back to Central Beds Council and us. Yes, that does mean that the track resurface work is now complete and we can use the track again.

The track has passed its inspection and is up to the standard set by IAAF. The inspection report is being set off shortly, so that we can get the certificate for the track in order to hold competitions again on the track, but this will take a few weeks.

Tomorrow the high jump and pole vault beds will be put back into position, and the hurdles will be removed out of the Liz Yelling building, so we will have more space again. Next Wednesday the grass around and inside the track will be cut, as its currently very tall.

In the summer, the club will be buying two containers, which will be used to store track and club equipment, in order to reduce the maintenance required for some of the equipment that is left out all year round and to free up more space in the Liz Yelling Building.

The chairman has also circulation a reminder and updated details about the club’s track reopening event to all BAC members…

Some of you have already started to use the track and I hope you are enjoying it.

I would just like to remind you about the invitation for you and your family to come down to Sandy Athletic Track on Saturday 10 June from 2pm to 5pm, to be in a new club photo and try out the newly resurfaced track/new shot put area, as well as new events to you.

The club photo will take place at 2.15pm and please could you be in club kit for this photo. This photo will be used on the Biggleswade AC website, Facebook page and future articles in the local papers.

Following the club photo, you will be invited to take part in the pentathlon. This event consists of 100m, 800m, long jump, javelin and shot put. It doesn’t matter whether you have done one or none of these events before, our coaches will be at each event to provide you with any help or guidance.

Unfortunately our photo finish equipment was damaged a couple of weeks ago and will not be repaired in time for 10th June, so we will be unable to accurately record the times for 100m and 800m, we will be recording these manually but will not be able to award points. However this afternoon is all about you trying out our newly resurfaced track, new events and having fun.

During this afternoon there will be free tea, coffee and squash available from our catering ladies. There will be some food and other drinks for sale, or feel free to bring your own along with you for this afternoon. Please can you not bring alcohol on to or around the track, or anywhere on the school premises.

I hope to see you and your family can make this afternoon.




Biggleswade AC

Clearing hurdles and dodging puddles: BAC at the Loughborough International and SAL

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s Euan Dickson-Earle continued his rapid progress at senior level by taking a quarter of a second off his personal best at the Loughborough International on Sunday. The prestigious meeting is one of the pillars of the track and field calendar and featured a host of Olympics and Team GB athletes.

Euan Dickson-Earle, second left. Photo by Phil Dickson-Earle.jpg
Euan, second from left, took a quarter of a second off his PB. Photo by Phil Dickson-Earle

Euan, a finalist at the 2013 World Youth Championships, took fifth place in a strong guest 110m hurdles field, where the winner went below 14 seconds. Having set a PB of 14.67sec at the BUCS Championships on May Day, he took exactly 0.25sec off that time – despite hitting the first two barriers hard – to post 14.42. Not just a huge PB, but also well within the qualifying standard of 14.50 he was looking for to be eligible for the European Under-23 Championships in July.

With current senior international hurdlers Andrew Pozzi and Euan’s former junior rival David Omoregie competing in the match race – where both posted World Championship qualifying times – the meeting proved valuable experience and sets him up superbly for the remainder of the outdoor season.

You can watch Euan in action here.

Soaking wet for SAL in St Albans

BAC’s track and field squad took six victories in the second Southern Athletics League fixture of the season. The meeting, at St Albans’ Westminster Lodge, saw extremely changeable weather, with torrential rain hampering a number of events.

Sarah Ridley led the way on the day with three wins, in the 100m, shot put and discus, while Tristan Rayner (400m B race), Josh Watson (high jump) and Morgan Webster (triple jump B string) took one apiece. Meanwhile Daniel Steel put in an astonishing one-man performance to earn 31 points for the team across a staggering nine events.

In the 100m A race Rayner was third in 11.9sec, while Bradley Strong was fourth in the B string in a time of 12.7. Morgan Webster put in a strong performance in the 200m to pick up third spot in 23.4 while Callum Stokes came home in 24.1 in the B string. Webster also ran in the 400m later in the day and took a brilliant second place with a time of 52.7, with Rayner’s victory in the B string coming in 59.5.

Sarah Ridley continued her run of success after her brace of golds and a silver at last week’s County Championships with a winning time of 13.2 in the 100m, while Janice Amber came in 3rd in the B string with 14.4. Amber followed up second in the 200m in 30.6, while Faye Young took the runners up spot in the B race.

By the time of the 800m, the heavens opened and blasted the runners with heavy rain. Undeterred, club coach Paul Davies posted a fine time of 2:33.3 to take fourth place, followed by fourth in the 1500m B race. In the A race of the latter, Marcus Davey took third place with 4:46.2. Davies’s respite from the showers was shortlived, however, as he was utterly drenched during his longest outing of the day – the 3000m – but he kept his cool to register a very respectable fourth place in a time of 10.40.7. Charlie Arnold took third place in the B race with 12.05.2.

Club secretary and SAL newcomer Hannah Broom embodied the team spirit with excellent debut performances. She said: “Running my first track event for around 22 years was somewhat of a daunting prospect and I had set my sights on coming a firm last. As I stood on the start line of the 800m the old ticker was going like the clappers.” Her fifth place in the 800m (2:42.8) and a sterling third in the 1500m (5:47.9) yielded a valuable six points for the team’s overall tally. ”

I was a bit more race-aware in the 1500m and hide behind a nice older lady for the first two laps before overtaking her for my final lap,” she said. “Being cheered all the way round was brilliant and I felt like a celebrity. I didn’t care where I came in either race as I had quickly worked out I had all my team-mates’ support anyway.”

Meanwhile multi-event specialist Steel was plugging almost every gap in the team sheet. He took a highly entertaining fourth place in the 110m hurdles (32sec dead), second place in the B string high jump (1.60m), fourth in the pole vault (2.85m), third in the long jump (5.79m), second in the triple jump (12.16m), fifth in the B-string shot (8.31m), third in the B-string discus (24.99m), fifth in the hammer (13.51m) and fourth in the javelin (32.76m). While he later expressed disappointment that he was unable to give his best in some of his favoured events due to his heavy workload, his versatility shone through.

Cybil Laobena placed third in the mens 400m hurdles in a time of 82.0, and would later claim third in the B string pole vault despite matching the runner-up’s height of 2.05m. Faye Young took second in the 100m hurdles (20.6) before adding third place in the 400m equivalent. She would later add another third spot in the triple jump (7.38m).

Wrapping up other matters in the field, Josh Watson dominated the high jump, his winning height of 1.95m fully 19cm clear of the nearest competition. Morgan Webster’s B-string triple Jump victory came courtesy of a best jump of 11.89m.

In his first SAL for the club Darren Janssen took part in three events – he earned fourth place in the shot with 8.71m, third in the discus with 27.58m and another third in the B string javelin thanks to a throw of 29.75m.

On the ladies’ side Bev Strong, also in her first SAL match, picked up fourth in long jump with 2.02m. Sarah Ridley’s victory in the shot came with an effort of 9.75m, while her win in the discus came courtesy of a throw of 28.59m. Sandra Ingham placed second in both the B-string shot (6.01m) and discus (12.8m), and added third places in the A-strings of the hammer (9.12m) and javelin (18.87m).

Rounding things off in the relays, BAC’s men’s quartets placed third in both the 4x100m and 4x400m.

Despite the weather’s determination to hinder the event Biggleswade placed third overall out of six clubs, and the squad now focus on the next fixture, in Braintree on 17 June.

Press team thanks to Alison Ridley for her report from St Albans

Sandy track resurfacing – days 54 to 57

Almost there!

The club’s chairman, Damien Pitts, writes:

15 May 2017

The line painting of the track, including hammer circle and long jump has now been completed.

The metal inner rail for the track is now back in place, the fence at the end of the home straight has been put back in place and the contractors have started to tidy up their access route to the track.

The contractor will continue to tidy up the site, remove their containers, take down the temporary fencing and a full inspection will be completed on the track. This inspection will include testing the surface of the track, checking that all of the lines are in the correct place and final inspection of the long jump sand pit, hammer circle and shot put area.

Follow the inspection, this report will be sent off to UKA for the track to be certified to take competitions onto the track, this could take a few weeks. Until the track has been certified, we will be unable to hold track competitions on the track.

18 May 2017

The contractors have now put top soil and grass seed down on the access route to the track, removed their containers from site, removed their skip from the car park and reinstated the car park fence. The temporary fence around the track is currently still in place.

BAC bounty at the County Championships, plus recent round-up

Biggleswade Athletic Club competitors took the Bedfordshire AAA County Championships by storm last Sunday, and came away with a whopping 11 titles, including a superb treble for throws specialist Nathan Dodds, and an outstanding championship record performance from Sophie Steele in the shot.

BAC medalists. Photo by Jamie Webster
BAC competitors show off their bling. Photo by Jamie Webster

On a packed timetable at Bedford International Athletics Stadium, Leonie Brunning led the way, taking the club’s first gold of the day in the under-15s high jump with an impressive jump of 1.56m. She would later come fourth in the 75m hurdles in 13.28sec.

Sarah Ridley took the senior 100m title in a time of 13.09, and later added a second gold in the shot put with a throw of 10.02m, and silver in the discus. Tristan Rayner and Callum Stokes were second and third respectively in the under 17s 100m, but then roles were reversed in the 200m, as Callum took gold by just five hundredths of a second from his clubmate, finishing in a fine 24.24. Not to be outdone, Tristan hopped, skipped and jumped to an excellent 10.99m in the triple jump to take that title.

Other short sprint medalists were Georgia Smith (third, U15 200m) and Sophie Forbes-Laird (third, U13 200m) – Sophie would also long jump silver thanks to a leap of 3.82m. Alicia Ward was sixth in the U13 100m, and Janice Amber fourth in the U17 equivalent, but unfortunately Janice pulled up injured in the 200m. Jessica Cooke took third in the U15 300m, while in the U20 400m, the final track action of the day, Morgan Webster held off Tom Boggon’s challenge to take silver in 52.67.

Over two laps, Sarah’s twin sister Hannah Ridley took the senior title in a superb time of 2:37.14, while the 1500m spoils went to Marcus Davey, who finished with 4:49.48, just outside his personal best. Richard Bevan was fourth in a very competitive 5,000m race, which doubled up as the Eastern Masters championship race.

Further heroics in the field were led by Dodds, who ended the day with a trio of throwing titles in the U17 javelin (46.04m), shot put (12.59m) and – in the last field action on the timetable – the discus (34.40m). Not to be outdone, Steele broke an 11-year-old championship record by over a metre on her way to gold in the U13 shot (8.62m, also a PB and club record) and silver in the discus (17.76m), while Sandra Ingham took two bronzes thanks to 21.05m in the senior javelin and 6.47m in the shot.

Great start to EYAL campaign

Just days earlier the first Eastern Young Athletes’ League track fixture of the season took place in Watford. Hannah and Leonie Brunning were among the winners – Hannah winning both U13 shot put and javelin – while Dodds took victory in the U17 javelin and Steele doubled up with wins in both the U13 shot put and discus.

Full BAC results:
Janice Amber (U17W 100m A, 7th, 16.1sec; 200m, 7th, 31.5)
Madison Ball (U13W 100m B, 6th, 15.7 PB; 800m, 6th, 3:07.0)
Hannah Brunning (U13W 800m B, 5th, 3:12.5 PB; SP, 1st, 7.36m; Jav, 1st, 14.10m)
Leonie Brunning (U15W 75MH A, 5th, 13.2 PB; HJ, 1st, 1.50m PB; LJ, 5th, 4.05m)
Jessica Cooke (U15W 200m B, 4th, 29.8; 300m, 4th, 47.0 PB)
Kareem Davis (U13 100m A, 4th, 13.9 PB; 200m A, 3rd, 28.9 PB; LJ, 3rd, 3.93m)
Nathan Dodds (U17 SP A, 2nd, 12.30m PB; Jav, 1st, 48.15m PB)
Sophie Forbes-Laird (U13W 200m B, 3rd, 29.6 PB; LJ A, 3rd, 3.77m PB)
Cameron Rayner (U15 100m A, 4th, 12.2; 200m, 3rd, 24.6 PB)
Tristan Rayner (U17 100m B, 4th, 12.0; 200m B, 4th, 24.0 PB)
Georgia Smith (U15W 200m A, 4th, 28.6, 300m, 3rd, 45.0 PB)
Sophie Steele (U13 SP A, 1st, 8.46m; DT, 1st, 20.29m PB; Jav, 3rd, 15.99m)
Callum Stokes (U17 100m A, 6th, 12.5sec; 200m A, 6th, 24.8)
Elliott Swinburne (U15 800m, 6th, 2:32.9 PB)
Casey Tyler-Woods (U13 100m NS, 4th, 16.1)
Alicia Ward (U13W 100m A, 7th, 14.8; 200m A, 7th, 30.2 PB; LJ B, 2nd, 3.62m)

The BAC team finished seventh of seven in Watford, with 167 points overall. The next fixture is at Luton on 4 June.

PB for Cooke on the Blisworth hills

The club’s road runners have also been in action, with Paul Cooke and Paul Davies taking part in the Blisworth 5 Mile race in a leafy suburb of Northampton on 12 May. “It was described as undulating,” says Davies, “that was a bit of an understatement – it was steeply up and down in parts.”

Despite the demanding course, Cooke ended with a PB of 30.21, while Davies was just behind in 30.37. Finishing places in a high quality field were 44th and 53rd respectively.

On 2 May at the Silverstone Grand Prix 10k, which takes in two laps of the world-famous motor-racing circuit, Chris Clark was first home of three BAC competitors in 49.30, ahead of Stuart Goodwin (51.33) and wife Roo Goodwin (66.27).

Older and colder: EMAC match 1 report from Bedford

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s veterans began their track season in fine style at Bedford last week, in a sterling team effort against larger clubs in the region.

The first fixture in the Central Division of the Eastern Masters Athletic Club track and field league saw seven clubs facing off in bitterly cold conditions, but despite the temperatures those turning out put on a highly entertaining mixture of superb individual performances and team-mates mucking in with unfamiliar events.

An early highlight came in the 1km race walk as Helen Middleton, resplendent in electric pink gloves that one observer thought were glow sticks, was a close second in the A race in 5min 39.1sec. In the B string of the same event, former team captain Fiona Wynde was BAC’s only winner of the night thanks to a time of 6:47. Her husband Robin, meanwhile, was agonisingly pipped to second place by just half a second, as he crossed the line third in 6:10.02.

Helen Middleton in 1km walk. Photo by Roo Goodwin.JPG
Helen Middleton on her way to a fine second place in the 1km walk. Photo: Roo Goodwin

New team captain Charlie Arnold endured a punishing evening, which included a 3,000m just 48 hours after running a half-marathon in Milton Keynes. His efforts in an extremely strong field were rewarded with third place in the men’s over 60s category (12:10.7), and he also took fifth in the pole vault. In the M35-49 3,000m, Marcus Davey recorded 10.25.7 to take an impressive fourth place.

No4 Marcus Davey in men's 3000m. Photo by Stuart Goodwin.JPG
Marcus Davey on his way to 10:25.7 in the men’s 3,000m. Photo: Stuart Goodwin

Meanwhile, Neil Harvey’s impressive time of 11:56.4 in the M50-59 standings may stand as a personal best for quite a while. With runners at the front of the field lapping most competitors further down, the bell sounded for one of them as Neil crossed the line, seemingly with two to go. He took the bell as being for him and finished 400m later, having actually only run 2,600m!

Charlie Arnold, No444 in men's 3000m, and in background Neil Harvey. Photo by Stuart Goodwin.JPG
Charlie Arnold, No444 in the 3000m, with Neil Harvey three places back. Photo: Stuart Goodwin


Fiona Wynde took fourth place in the women’s 3,000m in 12.25.0, but only after the race was halted after 150m when BAC’s David Brown, doubling up on officiating and competing duties on the night, sprinted up the home straight to stop the runners because the timing system was not ready.

Kathryn Juty roars up the finish straight to take second in the 400m. Photo: Roo Goodwin

Finish of the night went to Kathryn Juty in the W35-49 400m – entering the home straight well down on those ahead of her, she rallied in Christine Ohuruogo style to make up a huge amount of ground and take an extraordinary third place. This, on the heels of two more third places in both the 100m and shot put, gave her an individual tally of 18 points on the night – the club’s top scorer. Halen Kapur took 13 points thanks to fourth in the W50-59 long jump, and fifth places in both the 100m and 400m.

Stuart Goodwin’s quest to take the club’s track and field age 35-49 shield for the third successive year began with an individual tally of 14 points, headlined by his debut in the hammer, which yielded an unexpected third place. He later added fourth place in the long jump and sixth in the 100m. Robin Wynde’s busy night also added up to 14 points as he took fourth in the M50-59 long jump and sixth in the shot.

Throws specialist Sandra Ingham got her campaign off to a solid start with fourth in the W50-59 shot and fifth in the hammer, Gary Baldwin took sixth in both the M50-59 100m and shot, Colin Harries was fourth in the M60+ 100m and fifth in the long jump and in the same age group Clark Skerratt was fourth in the hammer and fifth in the shot. Couch to 5k graduate Bev Strong returned to track and field for the first time since her schooldays to take fifth in the W35-49 long jump and later offered an impressive leg in the 4x100m relay.

Fiona Wynde brings home the baton for the women's 4x100m relay team. Photo by Stuart Goodwin.JPG
Fiona Wynde brings home the baton for the women’s 4x100m relay team. Photo: Stuart Goodwin

By the time of the closing 4x100m relays, the temperature had dropped still further, putting runners from rival clubs off. Yet BAC ploughed on unperturbed and earned hugely valuable points with third places in both the W35-49 and M50+ races, and fourth in the M35-49 equivalent.

BAC’s tallies of 84 points on the men’s side and 70 points on the women’s gave each team fifth place overall, with fourth place an agonising nine and three points ahead of each respectively. The squad hope to recruit more athletes to the cause for the rest of the season and now focus on the next meeting which takes place in Cambridge on 7 June.

Julie Balaam with Halstead marathon trophy. No credit required
Julie Balaam with her trophy for taking third place in the women’s standings in Halstead

Elsewhere, Julie Balaam continued her phenomenal return to running after having children by taking third place in the women’s standings at the Halstead & Essex Marathon thanks to a brilliant “personal worst” time of 3hr 30min 56sec. After a cold and windy start in the north of the county, the race took in the quiet undulating lanes of the Colne Valley countryside, and by the finish conditions were warming up.

Of her time, Julie said: “It was a huge surprise – I just wanted to get within 3:45. This was my first ever marathon back in 2009 and it was great to be back at this one in particular after a long break from distance running.” Coming hot on the heels of becoming Bedfordshire County 20 mile champion in Oakley last month, her time should comfortably secure her a much-desired Good For Age place at the 2018 London Marathon.

May Day, May Day, records under attack: Biggleswade AC round-up

Euan Dickson-Earle led a hugely successful May Day bank holiday for Biggleswade Athletic Club members with a sensational gold medal and club record at the prestigious BUCS Championships.

The event at Bedford International Athletic Stadium is organised by British Universities & Colleges Sport and showcases the best athletes pursuing higher education around the UK. Euan – competing for Loughborough University – stormed to a time of 14.67sec to earn first place by one hundredth of a second from the despairing dive of Jake Porter, representing Birmingham University.

Euan Dickson-Earle - second left - dips to win the 110mh. Photo by Callum Dickson-Earle
Euan, second left, dips to take the win despite a despairing dive from the runner-up. Photo: Callum Dickson-Earle
Euan’s performance shaved almost three tenths off his own BAC record, and was all the more impressive as competitors were running into a -1.7 metres per second headwind. Earlier in the weekend BAC’s Tom Boggon, running for the University of Bedfordshire, competed in the 400m and came a creditable sixth in a strong heat.

More record-breaking was to come, this time at the Essex County Combined Events Championships in Thurrock, as multi-discipline specialist Daniel Steel assembled a brilliant series of performances to smash the club’s outdoor pentathlon mark by over 300 points. Competing as a guest he amassed what looks – subject to ratification of the results from Essex AA – a new record of 2108 in somewhat windy conditions, with his proudest moment coming in the javelin. Daniel found over five additional metres with his final effort to register 43.09m – a new personal best – which was backed up healthily throughout the afternoon with season’s bests in all of the long jump (5.70m), 200m (26.7sec), discus (22.49m) and 1500m (5:44.7).

Meanwhile the club’s road runners were out in force at events across the region. Rob Morgan took ninth place overall at the Mayor of Huntingdon’s 5 Mile Charity Race, the first of 10 club members in the lineup. The event – starting at Priory Park in the town – took runners across scenic, gently undulating farm tracks on the Lord de Ramsey Estate in the town, and Rob’s time of 32m 11sec also took second place in the Men’s Veteran Age 40 category, a feat matched by his wife Natalie in the FV35 standings, as she took the runners-up spot with 37:24.

Yet both were outdone by BAC’s next finisher, Deb Bryant, who has endured an injury-hit year but showed she was back with a bang in topping the FV45 standings with a great time of 38:47.

Also securing a top-two age category finish was Jan Blake, the second FV55 home with 49:54, while Malcolm Steward (39:44), Richard and Georgia Barker (both 47:26), Corinne Calligan (51:45), Helen Steward (55:44) and Jo Ellary (61:09) rounded out the entries. A breezy day on the course saw runners joined with the mayor himself, and began with the clubmates collaring actor Kieron Richardson, best known for playing the role of Ste Hay in Hollyoaks – for a pre-race photo.

BAC with Kieron Richardson. Photo by Jules Mackay
The BAC bods harass hapless Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson, who started the race. Photo: Jules Mackay
Elsewhere, marathon fever continued in Milton Keynes, as Hannah Broom took on the challenge of 26.2 miles and despite being under the weather left with a great PB of 3:51.12 to become 64th female finisher overall and 32nd in the FV35 category. Charlie Arnold meanwhile showed age is no barrier to kicking on in the sport as he shot round the half-marathon course in a brilliant time of 1:38.51 – good enough for third place in a highly competitive MV60 category, and 200th of over 3000 runners overall.