Steel in Sheffield – Dan racks up PBs to demolish club record

Multi-events specialist Daniel Steel began his track and field season with a new sensation – that of being a new father. Arriving at the England Athletics Indoor Combined Events championships in Sheffield, and having been away from competition for four months, expectations were hard to assess over two days of tough action. “It was already a huge task to get close to my club record 3,383pts,” he said. “However, I was in for an almighty shock.” Four of them, to be precise.

Daniel Steel with six-week-old Maisie. Photo by Gemma Dixon
Daniel Steel with six-week-old Maisie. Photo by Gemma Dixon

First up was the 60m. “I got off to a solid start and to my surprise me and one other started to pull away from the field. Second place, 7.76sec, a personal best.

“My long jump was a solid 5.84m, but nothing spectacular, but then the shot put was the biggest surprise of the weekend. After a foul in the 1st round my second round throw was half a metre longer than I’d thrown before and a club record by 99cm – 9.60m!

“For the high jump I was expecting to jump around the 1.70m-1.75m area. However, I was feeling good in warm-up, clearing 1.75m in the process. So, I had a clear card through 1.65m, 1.71m, 1.74m and 1.77m, then cleared my year target-height of 1.80m at the second attempt. Safe to say the whole Sheffield arena heard my delight at clearing the bar!”

Day two posed an additional challenge, and Dan arrived on the back of a sleepless night, thanks to six-week-old Maisie. In spite of this, he got off to another fine start in the 60m hurdles. “Leading into the first barrier my stride pattern got the better of me and fell away towards the end. However, a time of 10.71s hadn’t caused any damage and the record was well and truly on.

“In the pole vault I had trouble with the pole in warm-up. But once I had got going clearances at 2.78m, 2.88m, 2.98m – then, finally another PB of 3.08m! That meant I had scored more than last year with one whole event still to go.

“Going into the final event, the 1,000m, I knew I needed 3:13 to break 3,600 points. However in the middle of the race I’d got isolated and with a lap to go I was too slow. Somehow I pulled out a 34-second final lap to finish in 3:10.40.”

This added up to a superb 3,629 points, 246 points more than his previous indoor club record, and a fine 20th place overall among some of the best young multi-event talents in England.


The last leg … BAC leave it late to end track & field season with superb victory

Biggleswade Athletic Club took a brilliant victory on a dramatic final day of Southern Athletics League action last weekend. With the scores tight among the top teams in attendance at the fixture in Peterborough, it took the closing relays to decide the outcome.

It was an outstanding team performance against high-quality opposition in the form of Woodford Green With Essex Ladies, the former British Athletics League champions who have boasted a host of Olympians and Team GB internationals over the years including Sally Gunnell, Tiffany Porter and Jeanette Kwakye.

Yet they were undone by both difficult conditions and a litany of BAC victories on the day. Club coach Jamie Webster said: “The day started off slowly but very quickly heated up and we found ourselves in second place after six events.” Helping the cause enormously were wins for Sarah Ridley (13.1sec) and Katie Miles (13.4) in the 100m A and B races respectively. Morgan Webster doubled up to take both the 200m (23.4) and 400m (51.8), while Tristan Rayner won the 400m B race (55.5).

Elaine Livera in SAL action. Photo by Darren Janssen
Elaine Livera in SAL action. Photo by Darren Janssen

Elaine Livera emerged up top in the 3000m (10:57.5) and Hannah Broom won the 800m B race (2:41.8). Daniel Steel (20.7) and Joshua Watson (27.1) took the honours in the A and B 110m hurdles, and Watson added victory in the 400m hurdles B race for good measure, in 66.4sec.

Not to be outdone, Steel won the long jump and triple jump with season’s best performances of 5.97m and 12.36m, and added the win in the high jump B string with 1.55m, while Darren Janssen topped the B standings of the pole vault (2.50m). In the B-string of the triple jump, Alex Ingram won with 11.68m, and the men mopped up in the javelin too thanks to Alex Ingham’s 48.44m in the A string and Nathan Dodds’ 44.05 – making him the second-best thrower on the day and comfortably good enough to take B-string honours.

Backing up brilliantly were a whole host of top three placings from Jamie Hall, Alice Middleton, Jakub Grabowski, Kathryn Juty, Sandra Ingham, Marcus Davey, Paul Davies and both 4x100m teams.

BAC women's relay team won the crucial 4x400m thanks to last leg runner Katie Miles. Photo by Darren Janssen
Katie Miles on the last leg of a crucial 4x400m relay. Photo by Darren Janssen

Special mention must go to the two 4x400m quartets however, as Webster notes: “As the day went on we stayed in second place until the field results went in and we leapfrogged Woodford into first place. The women’s 4x400m team ran out of their skins to finish first by five metres and set up that the men’s team needed to finish ahead of Woodford.

Hannah Ridley, Alice Middleton, Elaine Livera and Katie Miles celebrate 4x400m victory. Photo by Jamie Webster

“After a close run race it went to the last leg. Peterborough were 80 metres ahead and Woodford and Biggleswade were level. As the race went on Biggleswade went ahead and came home in second place. But most importantly we finished ahead of Woodford and it left us 4 points clear at the end of the day.”

Marcus Davey added: “I did very little, probably the lowest scoring BAC individual of the day! To save face, I was selfishly focused to the one important event of the year, achieving my 2017 goal: a PB in the 1500m in a time of 4:37.6, taking 4.5 seconds off from two years ago.  It also tots up as my 4th V45 club record of 2017!”

He highlighted the huge part teamwork played on a successful day all-round: “I must emphasise I could not have achieved this 1500m PB without all the dedicated coaching from Michael Blunt during the 2017 track season, plus … PLUS some very impressive on the day 1500m race pacing from Jamie Hall who had already run the 800m and a very hard 5,000m!”

BAC’s win marked their first in SAL competition since 2015 and wrapped up an excellent season in the league which has seen a great standard of competition result in dozens of personal bests and a string of club records.

Full results can be found here.

Sophie shows steel on another record-breaking day

Another racking up the records was under-13 athlete Sophie Steele, who continued her fine season in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Bedford on 13 August with two club records and three personal bests.

She won the shot put with a club record 9.08m, came second in the discus with another club best 24.15m, and beat her PB in the javelin thanks with a third-placed throw of 20.29m.

Cameron Rayner won the U15 200m and came second in the 100m, and Nathan Dodds took the U17 javelin honours, while Kareen Davis, Bailey Foster, Alex Matsukatoval, Tristan Rayner, Elliott Swinburne and Alicia Ward also put in strong performances.

Full results can be found here.

The power of 10: runners go down by the Riverside, plus BAC round-up

Four days after the Doug Anderson 5k, 19 Biggleswade athletes took to St Neots for the Riverside Runners 30th Anniversary 10k, taking place on a tough course, described by organisers as “a summer cross country” with a mix on paths and off-road, plus several bridges traversing the Great Ouse.

Paul Cooke was first BAC runner home, thanks to a brilliant 16th place in 39:09, but further down the field the race marked a special moment for five members in particular, who were taking part in their first 10k race since graduating from the club’s Couch to 5k programmes last year. For Jennifer Emanuel (1:08.01) and Julie Cooke (1:20.44) the race was particularly timely, marking precisely a year since they completed the programme.

Riverside 10k, St Neots - BAC squad. Photo by Bev Strong
BAC squad at the Riverside 10k in St Neots. Photo by Bev Strong

Bev Strong (1:15.34), Joanne Hornby (1:15.34) and Ruth King (1:20.44) were graduates from the second course, which ended in November.

Results – Riverside 30th Anniversary 10k

16 Paul Cooke – 39:09
125 Malcolm Steward – 50:14
213 Andrew Deans – 53:35
218 Neil Harvey – 54:01
225 Sarah-Jane Seaman – 54:23
226 Damien Pitts – 54:23
313 Julian Brunt – 58:35
336 Simon Strong – 59:22
354 Richard Barker – 1:00.20
359 Sally Jones – 1:00.28
362 Georgia Barker – 1:00.33
420 Rachel Hallam Stott – 1:04.16
466 Jennifer Emanuel – 1:08.01
467 Helen Steward – 1:08.02
500 Vikki Vowles – 1:12.09
520 Bev Strong – 1:15.34
521 Joanne Hornby – 1:15.34
537 Ruth King – 1:20.44
538 Julie Cooke – 1:20.44

A week earlier, Philip Housden took the trophy as the brilliant winner of the MV65 competition at the Bedfordshire AAA 10k, thanks to a fine time of 47:56. Richard Bevan was the first of BAC’s four runners in the race, finishing 15th overall in 35:54.

Results – Beds AAA 10k

15 Richard Bevan – 35:54
38 Nick Haworth – 38:47
104 Philip Housden – 47:56
122 Christopher Clarke – 50:40

Elsewhere, Biggleswade’s Sophie Steele performed brilliantly representing Bedfordshire in an inter-county competition at Kingsmeadow Stadium in Kingston-upon-Thames. Her throw of 9.06m smashed the club record and gave her a superb third place. Also wearing her county’s colours was Hannah Brunning, who gained a fine PB of 18.43m in the javelin.

At the latest EYAL fixture in Colchester last weekend, Cameron Rayner broke 12 seconds for the first time and broke the club record with a fine 11.7 in the U15 race. Callum Stokes got a PB too in the U17 equivalent, finishing in 11.9.

Leonie Brunning won the U15 high jump with 1.63m, while her sister Hannah Brunning got a PB 800m (3:08.4). Nathan Dodds took the honours in the U17 discus, winning with 37.80m, and also took the win in the javelin with 45.20m.

Madison Ball got PBs in both the U13 800m (2:58.8) and 100m (15.0), Georgie Smith won the U15 300m with her best time of 44.4, and added another PB in the U15 200m (27.3). BAC newbie Alex Matsukatoval ran his first competitive 800m for the club, finishing a fine fourth in the U15 race in 2:29.9. Tristan Rayner’s 4.98m in the U17 long jump was a season’s best. Full results from Colchester are available here.

Record collectors: Veterans sign off in style at final EMAC fixture in Stevenage

Team captain Charlie Arnold writes …

Unfortunate scheduling meant Biggleswade AC’s veterans were depleted for the final match in the Eastern Masters league series at Stevenage stadium, with many regulars competing in the club championship Doug Anderson 5k in Bedford – taking place at the same time. However, those present performed with admirable effort and enthusiasm, stepping out of their usual events and comfort zones to earn points for the club.

The evening on track kicked off with the 2km walk, which sees male and female competitors lining up together. And it was a phenomenal start for BAC as Helen Middleton was the clear class of the field, coming home a comfortable first overall in 11:29.8. Robin Wynde took fifth place for the men.

EMAC - Helen Middleton and Robin Wynde in 2km walk. Photo by Marcus Davey
Helen Middleton and Robin Wynde in action in the 2km walk. Photo by Marcus Davey

Meanwhile, Charles Arnold was competing in the high jump M50 competition where he finished third, clearing 1.25m and setting a club M60 record.

Jon Fediw doubled up in the M35 high jump and javelin, alternating between each discipline as the rounds progressed. He finished fifth in the high jump, matching Charlie’s 1.25m and setting a club record of his own, while he took fourth in the javelin with a throw of 24.43m. Wynde took fifth place in the M50 javelin at 16.52m while Ian Skerratt was fourth in the M60 standings with 15.61m, another club age group record.

On the other side of the stadium, Kathryn Juty (W45) and Sandra Ingham (W50) were competing in the discus, Kathryn coming fourth with 11.73m and Sandra in third with 13.66m.

After the initial events, the yellow vests of Biggleswade were seen rushing across the field to get registered for the next series. The 100m saw Kathryn claiming third in 16.2sec (another club AG record) and Sandra finishing fourth in 22.0s. For the men, Marcus Davey, usually a middle distance runner, competed in the M35 category and produced a tremendous run of 13.9 to finish fifth in a tight race and add to the age-group records bonanza. Ian Skerratt ran in the M50 race coming fourth in 18.0. Next to the 100m, the men’s triple jump was taking place and Arnold represented Biggleswade in M60 finishing second with a jump of 7.43m – yet another AG record.

The track then saw the mile races with Zoe Luscombe running in the W35 finishing a good fourth in 6:46.3 (another AG record). For the men, Davey was at his preferred distance and took M35 third in an AG time of 5:07.5, with Robin Wynde fourth M50 in 7:29.8 and Arnold third M60 in 6:14.5.

In the field events Ingham became the second BAC winner of the night taking the W50 javelin with a throw of 20.37m, while Luscombe went straight from her efforts in the mile to finish fifth in the W35 javelin with 10.12m. Sandra mimicked Fediw by also competing in the high jump taking fourth W50 with Juty also coming fourth in W45. After her win in the javelin, Ingham went straight over to the triple jump with Kathryn, Sandra finishing fourth in W50 jumping 4.57m (AG club record) and Kathryn a very commendable second with a jump of 6.03m. In the men’s discus Fediw was fifth in M35 with 17.30m, Robin Wynde fifth M50 with 16.13m and Ian Skerratt fifth M60 with 9.67m.

The final individual event of the evening was the 400m and Luscombe stepped up to run in W35 taking third in 76.2. For the men Charles Arnold took fourth in M50 (75.7) and Ian Skerratt second in M60 (81.7). This was then followed by the 1200m varied distance relay and David Brown was able to to take a break from officiating to run a blistering first leg to hand over to Skerratt, then Arnold before Davey produced a fantastic race to finish third, so nearly catching the team ahead.

In the end, the women finished fourth on the night and lifted themselves to a creditable fourth overall. The men finished fifth on the night and slipped to fifth overall, but just 3.5 points behind the hosts who were able to field a strong team. Neither team qualified for the finals, but all the athletes who turned out for the four matches gave commitment, effort and enthusiasm, and most of all, made them fun occasions with some success.

A special mention should also be made for the officials that turned out each time – without them there would be no competition.

Mucking in at Mile End: BAC in SAL action

In round four of the Southern Athletics League, Division Three North, Biggleswade AC took a host of top three placings. In searing conditions – “like a roasting tray”, according to Marcus Davey – several competitors threw themselves into extra events for valuable points. As always at SAL meetings, each team could field two athletes per event, in “A” and “B” strings.

On a typically busy day for multi-event specialist Daniel Steel, he won the 110m hurdles in 19.4sec, and came second in both the pole vault (2.65m) and long jump (5.82m). He also took third in the high jump A string with 1.65m, while Charlie Arnold took third in the B string (1.23m). Charlie added a fine fourth in the B string 800m in 2:29.3, and matched that placing in the B string of the 3000m (11:35.9).

Darren Janssen took second place in the B-strings of both the pole vault (2.05m) and hammer (17.57m), and he added third place in the A-string discus (27.92m) and fourth places in the A shot put (8.60m), javelin (29.40m) and B long jump (4.67m).

BAC new boy John Fedew took third places in the B-string shot (7.63m), javelin (24.44m) and discus (17.70m), and took fourth in the A-string hammer with 19.35m.

In the B string of the 400m, Marcus surprised himself to take fourth in 61.3 – beating Paul Davies’ V45 club record by 4.8secs. He also came fourth in the A-string 1500m with 4:48.9. In the B string of the latter race, Tim Berkery was fourth in 5:30.7. For his part, while Davies was fourth in both the A-string 800m (2:27.1) and 3000m (10:55.3).

Morgan Webster was second in the A-string 400m with 51.7sec and third in the 200m in 23.0. Bradley Strong was fifth in the 100m with 14.5.

In the men’s relays, BAC were fourth in both the 4x100m (54.0) and 4x400m (4:16.9).

On the women’s side, Janice Amber took fourth in both 100m (14.0) and the B string of the 200m (31.4). In the A string of the latter race, Kathryn Juty was fifth with 30.9, and she matched that placing in the 400m with 74.4. Kathryn’s best placing of the day came in the long jump, with second place coming courtesy of a leap of 3.82m.

Hannah Broom took third in the B string of the shot (5.62m), and was sixth in the 800m with 2:47.5. Sandra Ingham took second place in the javelin with 18.67m, and took fourth places in the shot’s A string (6.04m), discus (12.79m) and hammer (9.61m).

Overall, BAC took fifth place on the day with 134 points, and with one fixture remaining of the SAL season they lie in 15th place of 24 clubs.

Thanks to Darren Janssen for photographs

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.

Sunshine and silly hats: the Sandy 10 race report

Will Green blazed to his fifth Sandy 10 title last Sunday, on a stunning day for running in the town. Green, from Serpentine Running Club in London, showed he has come back strong from an injury-hit couple of years to hold off strong challengers and reclaim the crown he had previously won from 2011-2013 and 2015.

While many saw in the arrival of British Summer Time recouping the hour of sleep they had lost overnight, hundreds of runners from across the region and beyond arrived early for this popular annual fixture on the roads from Sandy into Everton, organised by Biggleswade Athletic Club.

Marshals, resplendent in a selection of weird and wonderful hats – a tradition established on the race’s 25th anniversary four years ago – ensured smooth and safe running on a sunny yet cool morning in and around the town, as seasoned competitors rubbed shoulders with charity runners and first-timers.

Sandy 10 2017 Marshals - credit Paul Langshaw Photography
Hats and hi-viz for the marshals. Paul Langshaw Photography

Green’s time of 53m09sec was his second best effort on the course, and came despite having competed for his club the day before the race as part of a road relay. He said: “I was a bit unsure if it would leave me a bit heavy-legged but in the end it went very well. I felt really strong throughout and ended up only 10 seconds or so off the fastest time I ran here in 2012.
“The race was great. The weather was beautiful – if a bit windy in parts – and as always the organisation and support by marshals made for a very enjoyable day out.”

Rounding out the top three in the men’s standings were David Hudson of BRJ Running Club (54:44) and Steve Horton, from Bedford Harriers (55:02).

first lady finisher
Rebecca Mayles, No288, topped the women’s standings. Photograph: Julia Mackay

The women’s prize was taken by Rebecca Mayles from the Milton Keynes-based Redway Runners (1:03:49). Mayles, the 29th finisher overall, was tracked throughout by Wendy Webber, from local rivals Milton Keynes AC, who crossed the line 26 seconds behind in 1:04.15. Another Bedford Harriers athlete, Kirstie Sharman, took third in 1:05.01.

Men’s age group prizes went to Gary Blaber (Male veteran over 40, 1:00:06, Milton Keynes AC), Andrew Henderson (MV50, 1:02.35, Cambridge & Coleridge AC), David Frampton (MV60, 1:07.31, North Herts Road Runners) and Jim Fell (MV70, 1:21.55, Werrington Joggers). Riverside Runners took the men’s team prize. The prize for top local finisher, where only runners from SG18 and SG19 postcodes are eligible, went to Jamie Hall (ninth overall, 58:32).

On the women’s side the honours were taken by Christine Lathwell (Ladies veteran over 35, 1:05.48, Stopsley Striders), Paula Downing (LV45, 1:07.51, Mablethorpe Running Club), Nora Haggert (LV55, 1:16.26) and Annette Newton (LV65, 1:22.41, BRJ Running Club). The ladies team prize went to Bedford Harriers, who also took the Erlensee Cup given to the club who enter the most runners – a staggering 80 from the race’s 530 entrants. Elaine Livera (51st overall, 1:08.34) took the local prize.

Overall race winner Green, who now competes in the MV40 category, also ended the day awarded with the Roger Wadeley Trophy for the best overall age-graded performance of the day. Wadeley, who died in 2010 after a battle with cancer, was a Biggleswade AC stalwart for over three decades, and a talented racer who still holds 11 club records, two of which date back to the 1970s. Speaking of the accolade, his first age-graded award at the Sandy 10, Green said: “I was particularly pleased to win Roger’s trophy – I know how important he was to the club.”

This year’s souvenir technical T-shirt.

All finishers received a souvenir technical T-shirt, featuring the slogan: ‘”Run 10 miles” they said … “It’ll be FUN!” they said.’ Once again the race supports the St John’s – Sue Ryder Hospice in Moggerhanger, who will benefit from the surplus race proceeds – since 2010 the hospice has received £10,750 from race organisers. For its 2017 running the Sandy 10 received vital sponsorship from returning partners Marshalls of Sandy, Tesco Sandy and The Barns Fitness Studios, Potton. Officers from Bedfordshire Police were an invaluable part of the organisation, lending support and a visible source of reassurance to marshals and runners at key points of the route where competitors crossed over open roads. Also on hand were Heart Services, who provided first aid cover.

MP Alistair Burt, himself a keen runner and former Sandy 10 entrant, started this year’s race and handed out the prizes. Afterwards he said the event is “always one of my best days of the year. Superb organisation from a great club.”

Full 2017 results here

More race photos from Paul Langshaw Photography here