Sportshall athletics returns to Biggleswade on Mondays from 15 October!

Sportshall athletics is back – help BAC spread the word …sportshallA4

Click here for a printable A4 version …

… and click here for a shareable social media flyer!

Advertisements

Tri-hard … BAC’s Baldwin grinds to earn GB vest in St Neots season-closer

Steven Baldwin writes …
My first couple of triathlons of the year hadn’t quite gone to plan, I’d failed to perform at the level I’d hoped I was capable of. But I’d then backed those up with a second place finish at Hitchin Sprint Tri and sixth place at “Calfman” Triathlon in Olney so I knew my fitness levels were in a good place. I was determined to use that fitness to complete a last block of training, a final push towards one more big performance.

It had been pointed out the final St Neots standard distance triathlon on 2nd September was a qualifier for the 2019 European Triathlon Union (ETU) championship in Weert, Netherlands. I had completed the first St Neots Tri back in May (Although the venue was changed to Grafham Water) and it had been a disaster; the water was still freezing so I was shivering with cold, I had a mechanical issue on the bike and by the time I hit the run, I’d completely run out of energy and motivation.

Refusing to be put off by my previous experience, I decided it would be an opportunity to test myself against a high-calibre field so signed up at the beginning of August and paid the £10 fee to register my interest in ETU qualification.

DSCN3667
Steven’s suited up and ready to go. Photo by Sally-Ann Baldwin

The race was based at Riverside Park, St Neots and I had been to the event registration the day before to collect my goody bag (timing chip, race numbers and swim hat). This gave me peace of mind that on race day I’d have very little to do other than dump my bike in transition and get to the swim start. Walking around transition is always an intimidating experience, seasoned triathletes tinkering with their time-trial bikes costing more than most would spend on a car. Although I largely block them out and focus on my own race it’s worth being nosey, you may pick up a few little time-savers.

Swimming has always been my achilles heel. Although I had basic swim lessons as a kid, it never went any further than that. Since starting triathlon at the tail-end of 2016, I’ve taught myself front crawl and gradually improved. To begin with, I could barely swim a pool length without feeling out of breath and having to stop.

DSCN3671
Triathletes take to the Ouse. Photo by Sally-Ann Baldwin

The St Neots swim was a one lap course up and down the Great Ouse, setting off in multiple waves of approximately 100 competitors per wave. The race starts with the usual chaos as everybody jostles for position, limbs getting thrown all over the place. I always choose to start wide and steer clear of the scrap to avoid getting pummelled. Thankfully the river current was minimal although it definitely felt tough when making the turn to head back upstream. Unlike previous races, I didn’t push myself too hard and just focused on not letting my form drop. As you can’t read your watch while swimming, it’s difficult to know the pace you’re going until you exit the water.  I was astonished when I stopped my watch to see a swim time of 27:04, almost 5 minutes quicker than I had managed at Grafham Water!

fb_img_1536692986016.jpg
Photo courtesy of Nice-Tri

I quickly stripped off my wetsuit, put helmet on and on to the bike, all in the space of 57 seconds. Getting transitions right is key and a great chance to make up time on fellow competitors. In the lead-up to a race, I’ll always get a few practice transitions in to ensure it goes as slick as possible.

St Neots has a fantastic bike course and they’re roads I’m very familiar with. It’s a not-hilly-but-not-flat loop out through the Staughtons which you complete two laps of for a distance of 45km (5km more than normal standard triathlon). As it was an ETU qualifier, the event was sold out and this really showed on the bike leg. In the early stages it was very difficult to find space on the road and stay clear of peoples’ slipstreams. Following a fellow competitor too closely is known as drafting and can lead to time penalties and even disqualification if you’re caught doing it.

DSCN3683
Steven during the bike stage. Photo by Sally-Ann Baldwin

Those who follow my training on Strava will know I do a majority of my bike training indoors on a turbo trainer using the online application Zwift. This allows me to get a much more structured workout than if I was to just go out for a ride. It’ll tell me the power I need to produce and for how long, all from the comfort of my own home without any worrying about traffic, etc. It helps me understand how hard I can push on the bike but still at a sustainable effort. Since I started using Zwift, I’ve seen my bike speeds go up and up. I covered the bike course in 1:13:41 which equates to 22.6mph (or 36.4kmph) average, an approximate 1mph improvement on Grafham (approx 3 mins faster).

51 seconds after climbing off the bike, I was out on to the run course. The course comprises of four laps round Riverside Park, very flat but with long sections of grass. The previous weeks training with “BAC fast” had been aimed at locking into the target race pace, Paul Davies suspected this would be somewhere around 6:05-6:10 per mile. This target turned out to be bang on, without even looking at the watch I found myself running in this range. It was a largely uneventful run, just holding the target pace, passing plenty of slower runners with only one person overtaking me in return. I completed the 9km course (1km short of official distance) in 34:55, giving me an overall time of 2:17:50. It is difficult to compare triathlon performances because courses are rarely accurately measured but I feel this was comfortably my best to date and a fantastic end to my season.

FB_IMG_1536693257677
Steven fights to the finish. Photo courtesy of Nice-Tri

The ETU qualification process is quite complex and would put anybody to sleep. Long story short, I didn’t get any automatic spot as I was outside the top four in my age group. However, as my time was so near to the age group winner, I was able to get a rolldown (or fastest loser) place. So next June I will have the honour of pulling on a GB tri-suit and competing at the European championships as an Age-Grouper (amateur).

I hope by sharing my experience, anybody considering getting involved in Triathlon will act on it give it a go. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to enter an event and I haven’t looked back since. For me it all started with a 29:14 Parkrun in 2015 and now I get to represent Great Britain as a triathlete, it’s actually crazy! You never know where you might end up.

Roll on Weert 2019!

The big 10 … BAC decathletes summon up Dutch courage

Two Biggleswade Athletic Club multi-eventers lined up against formidable opponents in the shape of two Dutch internationals at the recent Surrey Combined Events Championships. Dan Steel was competing in his last decathlon in a BAC vest, while Darren Janssen was competing in his first.

Steel said: “This was my chance to have a crack at the outdoor club record from 2015, after breaking the indoor record in January. There was a buzz around the athletes with Trystan de Weerdt and Niels Mijnsbergen in our event – the standard was going to be high. They would be in every single one of my races!”

Day one consisted of the 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m. Immediately the class of the Dutch athletes told. Steel said: “The 100m went almost as expected – a solid start but I was left for dead by Trystan. Not my quickest time this year, but OK: 12.27sec.”

Janssen was glad of the company from his clubmate. “This was the most nervous I had been for an athletic competition. I started the first of two days cautiously as I battled the nerves, but after the first event was over I soon settled in and started to just enjoy the day.” He put in a solid time of 13.11, while De Weerdt and Mijnsbergen finished in 11.36 and 11.51 respectively.

Dan Steel long jump 2. By Gemma Dixon
Dan Steel in the long jump. Original video by Gemma Dixon

The long jump saw the BAC pair start to find their form. “I started to feed off the energy that the Dutch were giving out,” said Steel. “But 6.12m was still down on my PB from 2015.” Janssen, meanwhile, posted a personal best 5.21m in the event. Then came the shot, and “things started to unravel” for Steel, with 9.03m his worst effort of the season, a metre down on his PB. Janssen was just 4cm further back, with 8.99m.

Darren Janssen long jump. By Gemma Dixon
Darren Janssen in the long jump. Original video by Gemma Dixon

Steel was concerned with his knee during the high jump, an area that had troubled him earlier in the season. He found himself using valuable energy needing three attempts to clear heights that were within him, but rallied to finish with a clearance of 1.68m. Janssen managed 1.50m while the Dutch pair both cleared 1.86m.

The 400m rounded out day one, and any doubts of the class of the opposition were dispelled as Mijnsbergen crossed the line in 51.43, with De Weerdt finishing in 52.72. “After 150m I was chasing thin air and my time suffered as a result,” said Steel, who finished in 57.44, while Janssen lamented his “poorly executed” performance as his “low point” of the day, as he finished outside 63 seconds.

The pair regrouped for day two, with Steel 117 points back from where he hoped to be in order to take on the BAC record. “Not an impossible task, but difficult.” Janssen was managing a “minor niggling hip injury”, but felt well-rested for the competition ahead,

First up was the 110m hurdles. “I had a bad race,” said Steel. “But my time was my third-fastest ever – I’m really not sure how!” His 19.38 and Janssen’s 21.09 were once again thrown into sharp relief by the class around them, as both Dutchmen went well below 16 seconds.

110m hurdles. By Gemma Dixon
Steel and Janssen take on the Dutch pair in the 110m hurdles. Original video by Gemma Dixon

Steel’s run at the club record was almost derailed entirely after two fouls in the discus. “This was very nearly a disaster – two throws outside the sector, one very safe final attempt of 23.04m.” Janssen took the opportunity to get one over on his clubmate, and did so in fine style: “I was able to set a new personal best, finally breaking the 30m mark!” His best effort went out to 30.94m, just 1cm down on Mijnbergen’s mark.

Darren Janssen pole vault. By Gemma Dixon
Janssen in the pole vault. Original video by Gemma Dixon

Janssen continued his resurgence in the pole vault, equalling his PB in the pole vault with a fine effort of 2.60m. Steel was struggling with his knee but rallied to clear 3.10m and suddenly found himself ahead of schedule in his record chase.

Dan Steel pole vault. By Gemma Dixon
Steel in the pole vault. Original video by Gemma Dixon

The penultimate event was the javelin, and Steel “was desperate to create a gap knowing my final event wasn’t going to be quick – so I was hitting the Jav with everything I had”. He sent his best effort out to a fine 37.10m, with Janssen managing 32.19m.

Now all eyes were on Steel’s own club record of 4610 points. “My javelin meant anything under 5:24.5 in the 1500m would do it. I tried staying in touch with the leaders early on but again got isolated. Luckily one of my rivals passed me with 250m to go and it kicked me back into gear. 5:18.53. It was also quick enough to stay ahead of my rival overall Mark Andrews of Holland Sports by five points, he’s beaten me for the last two years so I was delighted to get one back!”

Janssen said he was “let down by my overall fitness and stamina coming into the final event”.  “As a result, I was only able to muster a poor performance in the 1500m as a dragged myself round.” His time of 6:32.52 gave him plenty to build on, and he remarked: “It was a disappointing way to end, and I felt deflated. However, I am determined to use this negative as motivation to improve my overall fitness across the winter months.”

Steel’s final tally was 4641 points. “After 3 years of disappointment trying to break the club record again, it was good to prove to myself that I could get back to the results of 2015.”

Decathletes. By Gemma Dixon

Janssen said of his first experience of decathlon: “The overall event was really challenging, but really fun, and I’m looking forward to competing in another one. I’d like to thank Daniel for mentoring and motivating me, the club coaches – especially Alison Ridley – for helping train me, and BAC for making me feel welcome when I first joined the club. If anyone wants to give athletics a try, it does not matter about age or ability, it’s all about having fun and I encourage anyone to come to Biggleswade AC and give it a go.”

England international high jumper Leonie Brunning was another in multi-event action, competing at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships in Bedford. In the intermediate girls’ heptathlon, she managed 13.41sec in the 80m hurdles, 1.65m in the high jump, 8.94m in the shot, 29.88sec in the 200m, 4.71m in the long jump, 25.69m in the javelin and 2:49.78 in the 800m. This gave her a score of 3,790 points for a creditable 26th place overall.

Brunning joined Steel at the Eastern Combined Events in Peterborough last weekend. Dan was disappointed to have to withdraw early on due to injury, but Brunning came second in the under-17s womens competition, which took in five events. She managed 13.24sec in the 80m hurdles, 9.35m in the shot, 1.59m in the high jump, 5.08m in the long jump and 2:51.82 in the 800m.

Teagan Blake and Leonie Brunning. NO CREDIT PLEASE
Teagan Blake and Leonie Brunning.

Teagan Blake, competing in her first multi-events competition, lined up in the under-15s field and came an fine 10th with a points total of 1,870. Her performances consisted of 3.55m in the long jump, 14.30sec in the 75m hurdles, 7.24m in the shot, 1.33m in the high jump and 2:54.63.

Llamas, bulls and batons … BAC’s team of 17 take on the Round Norfolk Relay

Damien Pitts writes …

A team of 17 Biggleswade Athletic Club runners, along with a group of dedicated supporters and back-up crew, headed to the east to take part in the annual Round Norfolk Relay last weekend. This was the 14th year for the club taking part in the 17-stage, multi-distance and varied terrain race around the Norfolk border, which covers over 197 miles.

With dozens of teams from around the country, the relay begins on the Saturday morning at Kings Lynn, goes along the Norfolk coast line to Great Yarmouth and then heads inland, all the way back around to Kings Lynn, where the relay finishes on the Sunday morning after several overnight stages. After torrential rain, headwinds and mud last year, competitors were relieved to find kinder conditions to contend with.

Ian Grimwood prepares for stage one
Ian Grimwood awaits the big 6am start

BAC’s treasurer Ian Grimwood was left doing maths of a different kind, calculating how early he needed to get up to be fully fuelled and ready for stage one’s 6am start. With wife Juliet taking the final stage, they bookended the race stoically. Ian’s 16.32 mile leg took in sunrise and fine early-morning scenery on the way to Hunstanton, where he handed over to Charlie Arnold.

Charlie’s stage offered a wide variety of underfoot challenges, with sand, mud, grass, tarmac, wooden sleepers and corn fields all playing a part. Yet he battled brilliantly on the 13.75 miles to the hamlet of Burnham Overy Staithe, finishing a superb five minutes quicker than planned. His time was 22nd best of those in attendance, with the 21 ahead of him – and a great many behind him – being substantially younger than his 62 years.

There he handed over to Deb Bryant, whose shorter stage of 5.76 miles was offset by the fact that a huge chunk took place on leg-sapping sand en route to Wells-next-the-Sea. In spite of this her time of 47:13 was extremely strong – 27th best overall – but she was extremely glad to see the stage four changeover, where she handed the baton over to Chris Watson.

Andrew Hedley has run stage four for the last few years and is famed for his love of the llamas visible on the route, but although he was disappointed not to run the stage this time around, he was happy that Chris got to see them. For his part, Chris put in a superb performance on the 11.14 miles to Cley, ending with the eighth-best time overall.

Stage five was Andrew’s llama-free destiny this year, notoriously the most challenging of all the stages, as it starts with a few miles of a shingle beach and then throws in a few monstrous hills towards the end for good measure. In spite of his, he manfully withstood everything the 10.81 miles to Cromer, and still managed a smile at the end.

There he met Gary Baldwin, who took the baton for the 7.9 miles of stage six towards Mundersley. He narrowly missed making it into the top half of the stage standings, but his efforts made up some valuable time for the team.

Gary Baldwin on stage 6
Gary Baldwin chauffered along stage six by Deb Bryant

In Mundersley BAC turned to the substitutes bench, as club chairman, team captain and timekeeper Damien Pitts was called into action for stage seven to Lessingham. With teams having to supply stage time estimates before the race, and prizes handed out for adhering closely to these (and a wooden spoon handed out to the team with the most inaccurate estimate), reserve runners cannot veer too wildly from those already submitted. Happily, this proved an opportunity to make up some time, and Damien controlled his pace to make up over five minutes for the team.

It has been a few years since the team has made it to Horsey Mill in the daylight hours, so everyone was taking the opportunity to take in the views, before cheering on Robin Wynde, who arrived to hand over the baton to Neil Harvey. Robin really enjoyed the stage, a touch over 7.5 miles, and both made up over four minutes while wishing there had been an extra half to play with so he could have caught the next runner.

Neil started his leg off in the daylight but finished in Belton in the dark. Although he had slowed over the stage, he was happy with his efforts over the 16.6 miles and thoroughly enjoyed the stage.

Famed navigator Nick Haworth took on stage 10 from Belton to Earsham. Prior to running the stage, he dropped his car off at the end of the 18.13 stage and got a lift back to the start. In theory the stage is a nice straight road, but somehow Nick he managed to guide Charlie to Lowestoft, over 11 miles out of the way, and indeed out of Norfolk altogether. Charlie even said that Nick was pointing out things that he passes on his stage, on the way to Lowersoft, which is even more worrying!!

Happily, once he had baton in hand Nick had slightly better bearings, and his 15th place on the stage made up five minutes for the team, before he passed on the baton to Paul Cooke to run to Scole. There, Paul’s superb run over the 12.45 miles was good enough for ninth place overall on the stage.

John Stott took on the 19.67-mile stage 12 last year, and was back on duty for the relay’s longest stage once again. The straight, long drag from Scole to Thetford is a real challenge, yet John managed to be four minutes quicker this year than last year to finish just outside two and a half hours.

Frank McLoughlin took on stage 13 again this year, just over half-marathon distance from Thetford to Feltwell, and he broke the two-hour barrier for the stage supported on a bike by Neil Harvey, who cut an interesting figure on two wheels thanks to his choice of headwear that looked more suited to an ice-hockey match than a cycle ride.

Vicky Berry took on a new stage this year, running the 7.27 miles from Feltwell to Wissington. Normally daylight appears on this stage, but this year it was saved for stage 15 for Julian Brunt, his first time at the relay. Although the start and finish of the 10.59-mile leg towards Downham Market are not the most scenic, there are some lovely views on the route.

Ian Skerratt on stage 17
Supersub Ian Skerratt on stage 17, aided by Robin Wynde

For the penultimate stage, the shortest of the race, Ian Skerratt was another fresh from the reserves, called up to the team two days before the relay. In spite of this he ate up the 5.49 miles superbly, and made up a couple of minutes on expected time too.

Juliet Grimwood on a bull-free final stage
Juliet Grimwood on a bull-free final stage

The final 11.73 miles were then in Juliet’s hands, along with fears of bulls in one of the fields she had to traverse between Stowbridge and the finish back at Kings Lynn. Mercifully, they had moved on, leaving her free to enjoy her run. Overall the team finished in 27 hours and 53 minutes, just over 11 minutes slower than their predicted time for the event. This placed them 49th overall, with 60 teams finishing the full race.

Full results and stage breakdowns can be found on the official site here

Stage

Mileage

Runner

Time (hrs:mins:secs)

1

16.81

Ian Grimwood

02:43:18

2

14.06

Charlie Arnold

01:44:22

3

5.76

Deb Bryant

00:47:13

4

11.14

Chris Watson

01:20:19

5

10.81

Andrew Hedley

01:55:23

6

7.90

Gary Baldwin

01:04:42

7

9.24

Damien Pitts

01:14:39

8

7.52

Robin Wynde

01:04:16

9

16.60

Neil Harvey

02:23:42

10

18.13

Nick Haworth

02:04:56

11

12.45

Paul Cooke

01:23:32

12

19.67

John Stott

02:30:35

13

13.25

Frank McLoughlin

01:59:44

14

7.27

Vicky Berry

01:06:37

15

10.59

Julian Brunt

01:43:38

16

5.49

Ian Skerratt

00:47:14

17

11.73

Juliet Grimwood

02:00:33

Silver salvo … Leonie Brunning makes medalling debut in England vest

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s Leonie Brunning kept up her stunning run of form in the high jump with the silver medal at the SIAB Schools’ International at Grangemouth, Scotland.

Making her debut in an England vest, Leonie soared to a brilliant 1.70m to consolidate her recent performances that have propelled her to third in the UK under-17 rankings. Leonie, of St Thomas More School in Bedford, had qualified thanks to a brilliant personal best and club record leap of 1.75m at the English Schools Championships earlier in July.
Competing as one of two athletes representing England in a field of eight against jumpers from Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Leonie entered the competition at 1.51m and cleared at the first time of asking. However, jitters were affecting her performance.

She said: “I was a lot more nervous for this competition than I had been the previous week at English Schools because it was a higher level competition – I was representing England.

“When the competition began it was uneasy wait for my first jump as other athletes started at lower heights. Thankfully I cleared 1.51m on my first go. However, 1.56m was not so easy.” Having seen her fail twice, and despite the height being 19cm down on her personal best, her family feared this would be the height at which she would exit the competition. But Leonie dug in.

“Taking three attempts to clear … it was with relief rather than excitement with which I stepped off the bed as I knew I would have been extremely disappointed with myself to go out so soon.”

A first-time clearance at 1.61m followed, but more drama was to follow at the next height. “The pattern repeated itself on 1.61m and 1.64m – finding 1.61 easy and clearing it first time and then having to take three attempts at 1.64.”

The next height, 1.67m, would be the point that the field of eight thinned down, and with only three of her rival athletes clearing, medals were suddenly in reach. Thankfully, after failing her first attempt, Leonie went clear with her second. She said: “After clearing 1.67m at the second time of asking I found new determination as I had finally put myself in a medalling position. This was the height most struggled with.”

Leonie Brunning in high jump action. Photo by Brunnings
Leonie cleared 1.70m to take the silver medal. Photo by Brunnings

Only two athletes would clear the next mark, and thanks to the determination she had shown at the previous height, Leonie was one of them. “I think it was because of this that I cleared 1.70, also on my second attempt.”

The gold medal height proved to be 1.73m, and although she had bettered this in Birmingham the previous weekend, Leonie exited with three failures while Scotland’s Carmen Neat produced a lifetime best with her first attempt to take the top honours. Leonie’s England teammate Emma Sherwood took the bronze.

“It was a tough competition and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my performance,” Leonie added. “However, I was delighted to come away with a silver medal!” Her performance helped England sweep the board in the team standings, with the female team comfortably beating Scotland into second place, which the combined male and female squad finished well clear of Ireland. She has been selected to represent the Midlands in the School Games which take place at Loughborough University from 30 August to 2 September.

Leonie Brunning with silver medal [2]. Photo by Brunnings
Leonie with her silver medal. Photo by Brunnings
Ian Roberts, England’s team manager, was full of praise for the whole squad: “I can genuinely say that it was not only one of the strongest teams we have ever been represented by at a SIAB event, but in my experience it was one of the best behaved. In our team meetings at the championships in Birmingham last week, I said that the privilege of competing for your country carries great responsibility, and my point was obviously taken seriously. The conduct of all team members was particularly good at the stadium, and we have received praise from other nations and spectators for the manner in which we supported each other, and how professional, humble and courteous everybody was.”

Beating the heat in Bedford … awards galore as BAC root for 51 at Doug Anderson 5k

Biggleswade Athletic Club athletes were out in force in searing hot conditions for the Doug Anderson 5k in Bedford, and were rewarded with another huge haul of individual and team honours. The annual fixture at Bedford Park is BAC’s designated club championship race over the distance, with many entrants also competing for the Bedfordshire county championship honours.

BAC female team plus Kathryn Juty at Doug Anderson 5k. Photo by Stuart Goodwin
Kathryn Juty, Elaine Livera, Hannah Broom and Emma Bailey. Photo by Stuart Goodwin

BAC’s ladies team, made up of the top three club finishers on the night, were agonisingly pipped to the title last year, but romped to victory this time around, while it was left to the men’s team to read the small-print after they finished third. Their combined time in fact bettered that of Bedford Harriers in second place by 14 seconds, but their combined score based on placings across the finish line was 1 point worse off than their local rivals.

Jamie Hall, Steven Baldwin just behind. Photo by Nick Spavins
Jamie Hall just ahead of Steven Baldwin. Photo by Nick Spavins

Leading the way in the overall standings was Jamie Hall, last year’s winner, who was fourth finisher but third in the senior male age group, with an excellent time of 16:58. Jamie also took third in the county championship standings. Two places and eight seconds behind came Steven Baldwin, in 17:06. Nick Haworth rounded off the top three BAC men with a run of 18:53.

Just ahead of Nick, Elaine Livera – who won the ladies’ title on her BAC debut last season – retained it with a stunning run of 18:49. This was remarkably two seconds quicker than her effort last year despite the punishingly humid conditions, and she finished six seconds clear of her nearest competition, and 22nd overall. She also took the county championship crown with 39 seconds to spare.

The course takes in two and a half laps of the park, complete with a steady climb that runners had to tackle three times. Due to the conditions, with the temperature still at 27C come the 7.30pm start, a drinks station was assembled – a rare sight for a 5k race – and most runners taking advantage opted to tip water straight over their heads in an attempt to keep their temperature down rather than drinking it.

Keeping her cool, club secretary Hannah Broom once again retained both of her female veteran’s over 35 crowns with a time of 20:19, and 46th place overall – she was also the sixth female finisher overall, and third in the overall county championship standings.
She said: “I was not looking forward to this race, it was always going to be tough in the heat and a healthy dose of competition but we were in with a chance of retaining the girls’ title so the challenge was on. I was struggling in the heat so the pace was slower than I would have liked but I picked off some guys but saw no girls – relief! – so I was hopeful in my race position. After working my way up the mountain of an incline in the last lap I made a dash for the finish managing to help the girls keep the ladies’ title while defending my FV35 title and county medal for the 3rd consecutive year! The support on course definitely kept me going and was very much appreciated!”

Emma Bailey. Photo by Nick Spavins
Emma Bailey. Photo by Nick Spavins

Emma Bailey took the FV40 county championship crown with a run of 21:14, just ahead of Natalie Morgan’s 21:37, but each dropped down a place in the main race standings due to a non-county-eligible athlete taking those honours. Emma said: “It was incredibly hot and by the end of 1 mile warm up I was exhausted and dripping – but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone. I couldn’t believe the amount of blue and yellow vests waiting for the off, an amazing turnout. I set off feeling strong but that slow incline got the better of my legs on each lap, but having people supporting and cheering really helped spur me on. I pushed for the finish with everything I had left crossing the line in 21.14 – over a minute faster than last year! I have only been a member of the club for just over a year but have enjoyed running and competing so much and am very grateful for all the training and support.”

Kathryn Juty. Photo by Nick Spavins
Kathryn Juty. Photo by Nick Spavins

Most shocked athlete of the night was Kathryn Juty, in her Doug Anderson debut, who romped to FV45 county honours by well over a minute thanks to a fine run of 24:41. She said: “The great support given by BAC runners and non-runners alike really helped keep my legs going on such a hot, muggy evening – so thanks to all. I’d like to particularly thank Paul Davies for his comment: ‘I can’t believe you got a medal and I didn’t!’ Me either!”

However the performance of the night arguably came from the evergreen Charlie Arnold, competing in the MV60 category, who finished in a brilliant 20:18. Nigel Bush, who recently graduated to the MV70 age group, finished third in those standings with a fine time of 26:26

Charlie’s performance was one of several interesting movements in BAC’s club’s championship race results. These are based on age-gradings, which level the playing field for all competitors by adjusting times for older runners downwards. Based on the recalibrated results, Charlie’s time moves to 16:02, and he ended up victorious by 48 seconds over coach Paul Davies.

Charlie said: “From the entrants list I could see that I was going to be up against fierce rivals whom I had already had some close races with already this season, some won and some lost. The evening was hot and humid, and it was going to be energy sapping needing careful pacing.

BAC mens team plus Charlie Arnold at Doug Anderson 5k. Photo by Stuart Goodwin
Jamie Hall, Nick Haworth, Charlie Arnold and Steven Baldwin. Photo by Stuart Goodwin

“In the closing stages the final incline lay ahead indicating the last 500m. Still feeling strong I pushed up what now felt like a mountain ready to set myself up for the downhill run to the finish and the final sprint. Everything went into the last few meters before relief at crossing the finishing line. I finished in 20:18 which was better than I expected taking account of the warm conditions making breathing difficult. I was especially pleased to find that I had finished 12 secs ahead of my nearest age group rival and even more ahead of another two who had beaten me a few days earlier in the Beds AAA 10km race.

“It was fantastic to see many BAC athletes out competing and scooping up several awards on the evening ahead of some much bigger clubs. Not just runners though, the support from BAC members lining the route and cheering was very welcome and kept me going when the going got tough. All who ran and supported were a credit to the club and illustrated the great team spirit that we have.”

bac-award-winners-at-doug-anderson-5k-photo-by-stuart-goodwin.jpg
BAC’s award-winners. Photo by Stuart Goodwin

Others placing in the county championship standings were Paul Cooke (3rd, MV40, 19:00), Marcus Davey (3rd, MV45, 18:54), Gary Baldwin (3rd, MV50, 23:05) and Nigel Bush (2nd, MV70, 26:26). BAC fielded an incredible 51 athletes on the night – the most the club have ever fielded in the race – compared to 24 last year, with Jennie Day, Vicki and Janie Highland, Sue Whitfield, Lorraine Emerson, Beverley Ritson and Samatha Thorogood among those making their competitive debuts for the club. Samantha said: “It was my first race in a club vest too and I loved it! The support around the course was very much appreciated.”


An alternative race report from Nick Haworth

As I neared the venue at Bedford Park at 6.45pm, the car thermometer showed a temperature of 28.5C – a fall of a couple of degrees from earlier on, but nevertheless race conditions might be considered challenging by some. Oh, what the hell – if the rest of the club was prepared to endure the race, I’d be a fool not to join them in collective suffering! – So there we all were – all 51 of us gathered like sheep on the grass near the start – all for one – one for all!

A few minutes before the start at 7.30pm, the temperature had cooled slightly to 27C, we walked in small groups, silently down to the start – all one of us dripping with a combination of sweat and nerves – secretly asking ourselves why we had volunteered to run in such an event. But before any whimpers could be uttered the starter horn blasted and we were off – a big swarm of runners all in a desperate bid to make ground – to gain the upper-hand on rivals and to do their best to get the misery done with as soon as possible.

Marcus Davey and Nick Haworth. Photo by Nick Spavins
Nick Haworth, tracked by Marcus Davey. Photo by Nick Spavins

In all our minds – the mantra – “control your breathing, maintain posture, arms up, face forward, focus, focus!!” – Easier said than done and how fast did eagerness wain – initial enthusiasm quickly wilted in the desperate heat as we neared a tough right-hander up-hill section.

Still, we held on, the cheering supporters aiding us along – our running mates spurring us to maintain pace – a nice sweeping section allowed temporary recovery before another blast was required along the home straight – oh was that the finish – not quite – another lap to go laddie!! – just keep going!!

More agony, anguish, and well, down-right pain – panting, lungs bursting, legs weak with fatigue, another incline with a tight bend – but hey is that the final corner ahead? – a meandering right-hander and then a gradual downhill for the final sprint – let’s just hope I’m clear – swoooosh – swiiiiip! – perhaps not – caught unawares – I am beaten in the last 70 yards by an admirable adversary – well run !! – and I’ve been beat – but only just – good race !!

A halt, and then a walk – more like a stumble actually, as we all limp off to collect a medal, and much needed water. A sigh, sweat pours off our faces, our body, and our limbs but no-one cares – as a smile of elation and satisfaction materialises across everyone’s faces – all for one – and one for all!!


And more, from Elaine Livera and Jamie Hall

Elaine’s race:
I wasn’t planning on running this race (I was just going to come along and watch) as I was still a little upset that I had missed so much of the 5k training everyone had done during summer. But as it was a nice day, I decided it might actually be a nice day for a run! I went in without expecting anything at all, especially when I saw all the ladies on the start line who were wearing cropped running tops. As I was feeling a little heavy legged from the gym, I started slower than usual and quickly lost positions on the ladies at the start line. However, when I relaxed into the run, my legs loosened up and I realised that it was only 5k, only 20 minutes of pain, I may as well try as hard as I could!

I caught the three women ahead of me quite easily and was surprised when they didn’t stick with me. Thanks to Paul Davies for increasing his pace to run around with me! When we crossed the start line for the third time, I was really starting to struggle and cookie was pulling away from PD and me. It was then that I saw a girl from Marshall’s come up beside me. Where did she sneak up from?!? PD said sternly that I needed to stay with cookie.. which make me feel a little ill as I was already going as quick as I thought I could at the time. We passed 4km to go and the girl was starting to overtake me… Noo, the horror of being beaten in the last km!!

I started to power up the hill in the hope that I could put some distance between us over a hill. When I neared the top, I saw Nick (who had sailed past me easily about 1km ago) and realised I was actually going fairly quick as I said hi and bye within the same breath. All I wanted to do was cross that line in front of the Marshall’s girl! It was a sprint to the end (and that last section takes forever to cover!!)

After I was finished and had recovered, as I felt pretty horrendous at the end of the run, I realised that I had really enjoyed doing that run. It was exciting the whole way round and the winning place was up for grabs by anyone!

It was really lovely to see all the supporters and all the yellow vests all the way around! It feels really nice to be a part of so many outgoing and outdoorsy people! Great running everyone! Keep it up!

Great work to all of the runners not just the prize winners! Everyone who ran and supported deserves a pat on the back! It was a very hot evening but also a very enjoyable one and BAC feels like a big family! Also great great run by Charlie who beat his competition by miles and won the club championship as well as the county championship!!

Jamie’s race:
This was my first race for the club for a while, and a chance to have a go at the first race I ever did this time last year. Although I knew it wasn’t going to be as successful as last time around given the injury setbacks I’d had this season, I was looking forward to wearing the club colours and have a go!

After a really sluggish start I managed to stick with fellow club member Steven [Baldwin], given his recent awesome form. I figured if I stuck with him I couldn’t go far wrong. As the race went on we were joined by a couple of guys from Ampthill who helped keep us honest throughout. Working together as a group we reeled in another runner and were making good time.

Going into the final boiling hot half lap I just kept thinking of the tactic coach Paul had given me last year and the point at the top of the “hill” where I had to kick from. As soon as I hit that point I gave it absolutely everything and managed to finish fourth in a time just under 17 minutes, which I was absolutely over the moon with. Although not the result from last year, I was really happy to be part of the mens team which finished 3rd, and part of such a successful club with lots of awards to show for all the hard training. The atmosphere was brilliant with yellow and blue tops everywhere giving each other support and doing the club proud, extra thanks to Steven for the company during the race. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable event!


Doug Anderson 5k results

Overall race position | Name | Chip time | Age graded result
4 | Jamie Hall | 16:58 | 16:58
6 | Steven Baldwin | 17:06 | 17:06
22 | Elaine Livera | 18:49 | 18:49 Lady Club Champion
24 | Nick Haworth | 18:53 | 17:43
25 | Marcus Davey | 18:54 | 16:56
27 | Paul Davies | 18:56 | 16:50
30 | Paul Cooke | 19:00 | 17:49
39 | Robert Morgan | 19:38 | 18:17
42 | John Stott | 19:56 | 17:35
45 | Charles Arnold | 20:18 | 16:02 Male club champion
46 | Hannah Broom | 20:19 | 19:53
56 | Damien Pitts | 21:10 | 20:43
58 | Emma Bailey | 21:14 | 19:58
59 | Giles Hawthorne | 21:17 | 19:31
66 | Natalie Morgan | 21:37 | 20:39
85 | Malcolm Steward | 22:49 | 21:15
92 | Gary Baldwin | 23:05 | 19:32
105 | Richard Barker | 23:46 | 21:27
113 | Neil Harvey | 23:57 | 19:36
130 | Kathryn Juty | 24:41 | 22:04
140 | Stephen Atkins | 25:33 | 19:50
144 | Martha Ford | 25:38 | 25:34
148 | Ian Grimwood | 25:52 | 19:43
150 | Andrew Hedley | 25:57 | 21:47
155 | Simon Strong | 26:09 | 23:15
161 | Nigel Bush | 26:26 | 19:21
170 | Stuart Goodwin | 26:50 | 25:22
187 | Kevin Parker | 27:28 | 24:25
196 | Vicky Berry | 27:55 | 23:07
200 | Juliet Grimwood | 28:12 | 23:40
205 | Julian Brunt | 28:23 | 26:01
212 | Ricky Byrne | 28:50 | 28:22
215 | Georgia Barker | 29:13 | 27:14
218 | Maria Merridan | 29:25 | 26:36
241 | Jennie Day | 31:03 | 27:25
243 | Julie Spavins | 31:18 | 29:40
250 | Julia Mackay | 31:51 | 26:44
258 | Samantha Thorogood | 32:22 | 30:55
259 | Vicki Highland | 32:28 | 32:28
260 | Beverley Ritson | 32:28 | 31:01
270 | Colin Harries | 33:11 | 23:59
271 | Janie Highland | 33:17 | 26:29
273 | Helen Kapur | 33:48 | 27:38
276 | Sue Whitfield | 33:58 | 29:37
280 | Louise Pike | 34:21 | 33:02
281 | Emma Bell | 34:21 | 31:24
283 | Lorraine Emerson | 35:12 | 34:16
285 | Joanne Ellary | 35:43 | 34:34
286 | Tim Gardiner | 35:54 | 32:25
291 | Roo Goodwin | 38:05 | 37:16
293 | Shani Giddings | 38:48 | 31:43

… and reordered into club championship standings order
Position | Name | age-graded time | chip time
1 | Charles Arnold | 16:02 | 20:18 Male club champion
2 | Paul Davies | 16:50 | 18:56
3 | Marcus Davey | 16:56 | 18:54
4 | Jamie Hall | 16:58 | 16:58
5 | Steven Baldwin | 17:06 | 17:06
6 | John Stott | 17:35 | 19:56
7 | Nick Haworth | 17:43 | 18:53
8 | Paul Cooke | 17:49 | 19:00
9 | Robert Morgan | 18:17 | 19:38
10 | Elaine Livera | 18:49 | 18:49 Lady Club Champion
11 | Nigel Bush | 19:21 | 26:26
12 | Giles Hawthorne | 19:31 | 21:17
13 | Gary Baldwin | 19:32 | 23:05
14 | Neil Harvey | 19:36 | 23:57
15 | Ian Grimwood | 19:43 | 25:52
16 | Stephen Atkins | 19:50 | 25:33
17 | Hannah Broom | 19:53 | 20:19
18 | Emma Bailey | 19:58 | 21:14
19 | Natalie Morgan | 20:39 | 21:37
20 | Damien Pitts | 20:43 | 21:10
21 | Malcolm Steward | 21:15 | 22:49
22 | Richard Barker | 21:27| 23:46
23 | Andrew Hedley | 21:47 | 25:57
24 | Kathryn Juty | 22:04 | 24:41
25 | Vicky Berry | 23:07 | 27:55
26 | Simon Strong | 23:15 | 26:09
27 | Juliet Grimwood | 23:40 | 28:12
28 | Colin Harries | 23:59 | 33:11
29 | Kevin Parker | 24:25 | 27:28
30 | Stuart Goodwin | 25:22 | 26:50
31 | Martha Ford | 25:34 | 25:38
32 | Julian Brunt | 26:01 | 28:23
33 | Janie Highland | 26:29 | 33:17
34 | Maria Merridan | 26:36 | 29:25
35 | Julia Mackay | 26:44 | 31:51
36 | Georgia Barker | 27:14 | 29:13
37 | Jennie Day | 27:25 | 31:03
38 | Helen Kapur | 27:38 | 33:48
39 | Ricky Byrne | 28:22 | 28:50
40 | Sue Whitfield | 29:37 | 33:58
41 | Julie Spavins | 29:40 | 31:18
42 | Samantha Thorogood | 30:55 | 32:22
43 | Beverley Ritson | 31:01 | 32:28
44 | Emma Bell | 31:24 | 34:21
45 | Shani Giddings | 31:43 | 38:48
46 | Tim Gardiner | 32:25 | 35:54
47 | Vicki Highland | 32:28 | 32:28
48 | Louise Pike | 33:02 | 34:21
49 | Lorraine Emerson | 34:16 | 35:12
50 | Joanne Ellary | 34:34 | 35:43
51 | Roo Goodwin | 37:16 | 38:05

Hundreds more of Nick Spavins’s brilliant race pics can be found in BAC’s members-only Facebook group

Roaring up the rankings … Leonie leaps to English Schools’ silver – and third in the UK

Biggleswade Athletic Club’s Leonie Brunning soared to a superb silver medal at the English Schools’ Championships in Birmingham, thanks to a new lifetime best height that propelled her to third in the UK rankings.

Leonie, of St Thomas More School in Bedford, was in a Bedfordshire and Luton Schools vest at Alexander Stadium, competing in the Intermediate Girls (Under 17s) category. Aged 15, so towards the lower end of the age group she was competing in, she had arrived in the Midlands on the back of a few below-par competitions, but soon put jitters behind her.

Leonie Brunning action. Photo by Brunnings
Leonie Brunning’s third-time clearance of 1.75m earned her silver. Photo by Brunnings

She said: “I was a bit more nervous than usual because there was qualifying rounds which is something I hadn’t done before – let alone in a competition as big as the English Schools’. I had a few disappointing competitions in the weeks leading up to it, only clearing 1.55m and 1.50m at events since a combined events competition in which I jumped 1.69m.”

Lining up in a field of 25 split into two qualifying pools, she found her form early and secured one of the 12 spots for the final. She said: “Once I was safely through those I was optimistic about the finals as I felt I had jumped really well.

“I had taken my practice jumps and was feeling pretty confident. However, a few minutes before the competition started the officials decided the high jump beds needed to be swapped, so that was slightly off-putting.”

Still, she entered at 1.50m and has a trouble-free progress over that mark, then at 1.55m and 1.60m. “Having first-time clearances at the first three heights made me less uneasy and as soon as I cleared 1.69m – which equalled my PB – I was buzzing and determined to clear higher so that I could medal. At this stage there were only five of us still left in. I did not want a repeat of last year where I lost out on a spot on the podium due to countback!”

Leonie Brunning with medal. Photo by Brunnings

At the new height of 1.72m, she failed her first attempt – but second time around she was delighted to clear the bar for a new personal best. More was still to come, however, and at the third time of asking she cleared 1.75m to take the silver medal. “I ended the competition with a new PB and second place – as well as very tired legs as overall I had a total of 14 jumps during the competition!”

Countback once again told, with the first-placed athlete Temi Ojora of Buckinghamshire clearing 1.75m at the first time of asking giving her the gold, but the silver medal was secured, along with an invite to wear an England vest at the Schools International in Scotland this weekend. Leonie – who broke BAC’s club record in Birmingham – has leaped up 20 places in the British rankings in recent weeks, and is now 2cm above the national standard for U17s in the event. To put the performance into further context, 1.75m was good enough for fifth place at the recent senior British Championships, in a lineup headed by Team GB’s Morgan Lake and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Bedfordshire and Luton Schools had fielded their smallest ever team – just 17 athletes – in the Championships, and Leonie was among a quartet from the squad who qualified for England duty.