The story so far … Biggleswade’s SAL campaign 2018

As Biggleswade AC competitors prepare for match 3 of this season’s Southern Athletics League campaign, which takes place later today, 23 June, at Parliament Hill, here’s a summary of the season so far, taking in results at Perivale and Peterborough.

A quick reminder to all taking part – do let us know how you get on, and please do flag up any PBs or performances you’re particularly proud of via the forum or the BAC members’ Facebook page. As all the team will attest, there’s still plenty of room in the squad for those willing and able to do their bit – the more gaps that get filled, the higher up the league table BAC will climb. No contribution is too small – every point is massively valuable, and with opposition teams also unable to field full teams, coming “last” is relative – it can still mean huge points.

Huge thanks to Darren Janssen for his photos from the fixtures so far, and good luck to those making the journey today!


Sweatshop Southern Athletics League Division 3 North

BAC results from first two matches

(Seniors and veterans unless otherwise stated)

100m
Match 1
Men
A string 3 Tristan Rayner (U20) 11.7sec
B string 3 Bradley Strong (U20) 12.9
Women
A 1 Sarah Ridley 13.1
B 3 Molly May (U17) 14.9
Non-scorer Janice Amber (U20) 13.9

Match 2
Men
A 4 Tristan Rayner (U20) 12.1
B 3 Cameron Rayner (U17) 12.3
Women
A 1 Sarah Ridley 13.1
B 3 Molly May (U17) 15.0


200m
Match 1
Men
A 2 Morgan Webster (U20) 22.92
B 2 Callum Stokes (U20) 23.61
Women
A 4 Leonie Brunning (U17) 29.1
B 4 Janice Amber (U20) 29.56
Non-scorer Molly May (U17) 31.14

SAL Peterborough Photo 4
Photo by Darren Janssen

Match 2
Men
A 2 Morgan Webster (U20) 22.9
B 3 Cameron Rayner (U17) 24.5
Women
A 4 Francesca Riley 28.8
B 2 Janice Amber (U20) 29.1


400m
Match 1
Men
A 1 Morgan Webster (U20) 51.5
B 1 Callum Stokes (U20) 52.6
Women
A 4 Kathryn Juty 69.9

Match 2
Men
A 2 Morgan Webster (U20) 51.2
B 1 Callum Stokes (U20) 54.1
Women
A 1 Francesca Riley 63.1
B 2 Jessica Cooke (U17) 68.2


800m
Match 1
Men
A 4 Aaron Ball 2:15:22
B 3 Steven Baldwin 2:34:85

SAL Perivale 6
Steven Baldwin. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 2 Elaine Livera 2:28:1
B 1 Hannah Ridley (U23) 2:28:6

SAL Perivale 5
Elaine Livera (right) and Hannah Ridley. Photo by Darren Janssen

Match 2
Men
A 3 Stephen Day (U17) 2:16:7
Women
A 2 Hannah Ridley 2:26:4


1500m
Match 1
Men
A 4 Aaron Ball 5:18:15
B 4 John Frost 5:53:36

SAL Perivale 14
John Frost. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 3 Elaine Livera 5:09:3
B 1 Hannah Ridley (U23) 5:39:0

Match 2
Men
A 3 John Frost 5:03.8
B 2 Elliot Swinburne 5:10.0


3000m
Match 1
Women
A 2 Elaine Livera 10:54:8

Match 2
Men
A 3 Steven Baldwin 9:44:2
B 2 Paul Davies 10:55:1


5000m (men)
Men
Match 1
A 3 Steven Baldwin 17:19:84
B 4 Paul Davies 18:59:03


110m hurdles (men only)
Match 1
A 2 Josh Watson 18.8
B 1 Daniel Steel 21.9

Match 2
A 2 Josh Watson 17.9
B 1 Daniel Steel 19.3

NB: BAC have had no athletes competing in women’s 100m hurdles so far this season


400m hurdles
Match 1
Men
A 1 Darren Janssen 75.3
B 1 Josh Watson 105.9

Match 2
Men
A 3 Darren Janssen 71.0
B 3 Josh Watson 100.5

NB: BAC have had no athletes competing in women’s 400m hurdles so far this season


2000m steeplechase (match 1 only)
Men
A 3 Giles Hawthorne 9:29:5
B 2 Paul Davies 10:37.8

SAL Perivale 15
Giles Hawthorne. Photo by Darren Janssen

3000m steeplechase (match 2 only)
Men
A 5 Charles Arnold 13:43.7
B 3 Paul Davies 14:29:1


High jump
Match 1
Men
A 1 Josh Watson 1.90m
B 2 Daniel Steel 1.75m
Women
A 2 Leonie Brunning (U17) 1.45m
B 3 Hannah Ridley (U23) 1.15m

Match 2
Men
A 1= Josh Watson 1.88m
B 1= Daniel Steel 1.67m


Women
A 2 Leonie Brunning (U17) 1.53m


Pole vault
Match 1
Men
A 3 Daniel Steel 3.20m
B 2 Darren Janssen 2.40m


Women
A 2 Kathryn Juty 1.60m

Match 2
Men
A 2 Daniel Steel 3.21m
B 2 Darren Janssen 2.60m


Long jump
Match 1
Men
A 2 Daniel Steel 6.20m
B 2 Darren Janssen 4.98m

SAL Perivale 10
Daniel Steel. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 3 Leonie Brunning (U17) 4.74m
B 3 Kathryn Juty 3.83m

SAL Perivale 4
Kathryn Juty. Photo by Darren Janssen

Match 2
Men
A 4 Daniel Steel 5.97m
B 3 Darren Janssen 4.97m

SAL Peterborough Photo 5
Daniel Steel. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 3 Leonie Brunning (U17) 4.75m


Triple jump
Match 1
Men
A 2 Morgan Webster (U20) 11.42m
B 2 Callum Stokes (U20) 10.29m
Women
A 2 Sarah Ridley (U23) 9.35m

Match 2
Men
A 3 Morgan Webster (U20) 10.77m
B 2 Tristan Rayner (U20) 10.60m
Women
A 2 Leonie Brunning (U17) 9.76m


Shot put
Match 1
Men
A 1 Nathan Dodds (U20) 11.07m
B 1 Daniel Steel 10.14m

SAL Perivale 3
Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 2 Sarah Ridley (U23) 9.50m
B 4 Sandra Ingham 6.55m

SAL Perivale 9
Sarah Ridley. Photo by Darren Janssen

Match 2
Men
A 5 Daniel Steel 9.43m
B 5 Darren Janssen 8.74m
Women
A 2 Sarah Ridley 9.87m
B 4 Sandra Ingham 6.08m


Discus
Match 1
Men
A 1 Nathan Dodds (U20) 32.24m
B 1 Darren Janssen 28.84m

SAL Perivale 24
Darren Janssen. Photo by Nathan Dodds

Women
A 2 Sarah Ridley (U23) 29.97m
B 3 Sandra Ingham 13.81m

SAL Peterborough Photo 9
Sarah Ridley. Photo by Darren Janssen

Match 2
Men
A 5 Nathan Dodds (U17) 30.64m
B 3 Daniel Steel 27.55m
Non-scoring Josh Watson 29.10m
Women
A 2 Sarah Ridley 30.67m
B 4 Sandra Ingham 12.43m


Hammer
Match 1
Men
A 3 Darren Janssen 18.50m
B 1 Daniel Steel 17.11
Women
A 4 Sandra Ingham 10.51m

Match 2
Men
A 6 Darren Janssen 17.23m
B 4 Daniel Steel 17.04m


Javelin
Match 1
Men
A 2 Nathan Dodds (U20) 45.58m
B 1 Daniel Steel 38.10m
Women
A 4 Sandra Ingham 19.87m

Match 2
Men
A 1 Nathan Dodds (U17) 42.23m
B 1 Daniel Steel 39.31m
Non-scoring Darren Janssen 31.79

SAL Peterborough Photo 8
Nathan Dodds. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women
A 4 Sandra Ingham 19.39m


4x100m relay
Match 1
Men 3rd 47.0

SAL Perivale 20
BAC’s men’s sprint relay team in action. Photo by Darren Janssen

Women 3rd 56.07

Match 2
Men 2nd 47.3
Women 3rd 55.0


4x400m relay
Match 1
Men 3rd 4:12:8

Match 2
Men 3rd 3:49:2
Women 4rd 4:31.0


Overall match results

Match 1 (Perivale, 14 April)
1 Ealing, Southall & Middlesex 344
2 Biggleswade 279
3 Basildon 271.5
4 Highgate Harriers and Mornington Chasers 191.5
5 Barnet & District 131

Match 2 (Peterborough, 19 May)
1 Peterborough 333.5
2 Luton 289
3 Harlow 250.5
4 Biggleswade 231
5 West Norfolk 93
6 West Suffolk 75

League position after 2 matches: 11th of 23 with 8 league points
Positions 8-10 all have 9 league points, and clubs ranked 5-7 have 10, so it’s still all to play for.
In terms of match points, BAC have 510 for the season – league leaders Dacorum & Tring (12 league points) have racked up 681.

Advertisements

Fun in the forest … BAC take honours and PBs at Marston 5k

Nick Haworth writes …

Biggleswade Athletic Club converged on Millennium Country Park to take individual and team prizes, and a host of personal bests, at the always-lively and runner-friendly Marston 5k last Friday. BAC’s ladies took the team prize – based on results for each club’s first three runners across the line – while the men were just beaten into second place by Dunstable Road Runners. Individually, Hannah Broom was first female finisher aged 35 or over, while the evergreen Charlie Arnold was first male runner over 60, while Richard Bevan was fourth finisher overall and Elaine Livera third in the overall ladies standings.

BAC award-winners at Marston. Photo by Deb Bryant
Elaine Livera, Hannah Broom, Emma Bailey and Charlie Arnold. Photo by Deb Bryant

The latest setting for Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers tri-series of races consisting of a 5k, lap and a bit, round a lake, woodlands, and wetlands reserve. Formerly part of the extensive Stewartby Brickworks, some 61 square miles has been transformed into a community forest aimed at increasing tree cover in the county and increasing awareness of environmental matters. The weather conditions were almost perfect – a calm, sunny and a balmy evening enticing a full turnout of almost 400 runners from around the region including 16 from Biggleswade.

A huge blast of the starter’s horn at 7.30pm heralded a mass charge along tarmac before a sharp right on to a gravel surface. There then followed a short downhill section into the trees, and a flattish middle section, slippery in places with the odd pothole hazard to catch out the unwary. The course is quite narrow in places, leading to some argy-bargy among some of the competitors. The ground, parched in parts, created further hazards in the form of clouds of dust churned up by the front runners, while low-hanging tree branches occasionally offered a cruel whip to the side of the head to those watching their footing without paying attention to their surroundings at head height.

BAC at Marston 5k. Photo by Rachel Stott
BAC at Marston 5k. Photo by Rachel Stott

The tremendous Marston Moretaine scenery passed many competitors by, tearing round, hearts pounding out of chests, legs wobbling with lactic acid, and desperately trying to catch-up or cling-on to the person in front.

A straight, fast, section, followed by a tight left-hander and the athletes were at the 3km point, time to repeat the mantra “maintain breathing, maintain breathing, keep posture up!”. Two right-hand turns later and through a chicane gate, the seemingly endless final kilometre arrived. Suddenly, after what seemed an eternity, a right-hand turn brought the runners to within sight of the finishing line to make, as best they could, a final dignified 150 metre dash to the finish in front of the cheering crowd of supporters.

Bevan’s fourth-placed finish came in a superb personal best time of 17m15sec, followed in short measure by Paul Cooke (17th overall, 18:40), who headed a run of four BAC athletes in 19 seconds, featuring Paul Davies (21st, 18:49), Nick Haworth (22nd, 18:53) and John Stott (18:59). Stott was another to earn a fine PB, his first time under 19 minutes.

Kathryn Juty. Photo by Rachel Stott
Kathryn Juty on her way to a PB. Photo by Rachel Stott

Hot on their heels, Livera – roaring straight back into form after a frustrating spell of injury – headed up the ladies’ team challenge in 19:11 (29th overall) (third lady), followed swiftly afterwards by Hannah Broom, another to earn a benchmark PB on the night with her first ever sub-20min run (37th overall, 5th lady, 19:39) and Emma Bailey, who cracked 21 mins to set a best time of her own (59th, 8th lady, 20:55). Kathryn Juty (138th, 28th lady, 24:14) and Simon Strong’s 24:41 (146th, 114th male finisher) were others to earn brilliant PBs on the night.

Marston 5k Results

Overall | Gender position | Name | Time
4 | 4 | Richard Bevan | 17:15
17 | 16 | Paul Cooke | 18:40
21 | 20 | Paul Davies | 18:49
22 | 21 | Nick Haworth | 18:53
25 | 24 | John Stott | 18:59
29 | 3 | Elaine Livera | 19:11
37 | 5 | Hannah Broom | 19:39
48 | 42 | Charlie Arnold | 20:26
59 | 8 | Emma Bailey | 20:55
67 | 12 | Natalie Morgan | 21:26
68 | 56 | Rob Morgan| 21:26
138 | 28 | Kathryn Juty | 24:14
146 | 114 | Simon Strong | 24:41
148 | 116 | Stephen Atkins | 24:48
164 | 127 | Clark Skerratt | 25:26
330 | 146 | Shani Giddings | 36:09


BUCS action and Brown recognised … news roundup

Elsewhere, two BAC athletes took part in the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championships at Bedford International Stadium. Euan Dickson-Earle, who won the 110m hurdles title for Loughborough University last year, has been hampered by a hip niggle this season, and he was fourth in his heat with a time of 15.32.

In the javelin, Alex Ingham, competing for Nottingham, threw 55.37m in the preliminary round to qualify for the final. There he was unable to match the earlier distance, but his best mark of 49.97m was still good enough for a fine top 10 finish.

BAC were thrilled that club stalwart competitor, coach and official David Brown was recognised at Central Bedfordshire Council’s Cheering Volunteering Awards. Brown, who has coached athletes to county, national and international standard, as well as officiating at a host of levels across the region right up to the prestigious Diamond League meeting at the London Stadium last season, was nominated in the Sports Volunteer of the Year category, where he placed third overall.

Spanish stroll … race-walk master Middleton racks up medals in Alicante

BAC’s race-walking expert Helen Middleton was back in the medals competing for Great Britain at the biennial European Masters Athletics Non-Stadia Championships, taking place this year in Alicante, Spain. The championships, which have been running since 1989, see veteran athletes from across the continent hitting the streets for three days of intense but friendly competition.

Helen Middleton in action

Despite having come away with team silver from the recent European indoor championships, Helen had been downbeat after two fourth places individually, and spent the time in-between knuckling down.

She said: “After the disappointment that was Madrid, but having put in some serious training, the hard surfaced Alicante course was unforgiving and it was hot, but I’m delighted to report that I came third in the 10k, W55 category in 1.02.04.” In addition, in the team standings for race purposes she stepped up a handful of age group categories to form part of the GB W40 squad, alongside Carolyn Derbyshire and Fiona Bishop, and the trio took fine team bronze medals.

As in Madrid, she doubled up. “Twenty hours later I was back on the same start line for the 20k race. With the support of the GB feed station crew and lots of other encouragement I finished second in 2.10.38.” Not content with going one better on the podium individually, Helen also stepped up in the team standings: “This time the declared GB W45 team of Melanie Peddle, Angela Martin and I found ourselves on the podium picking up silver team medals.”

Emerging from the pair of races without any cautions or warnings, which can leave walkers at risk of disqualification even in the closing stages, the training had paid off, best illustrated as Helen found herself overhauling Spanish walker Angeles Noell Guardiola, who had pipped her to two bronze medals in Madrid. On this occasion her rival finished fourth and third respectively. The Italian pairing of Peppina DeMartis and Mirella Patti took gold and silver in the 10k, which Patti took top honours in the 20k.


Clearing the bar … Brunning goes BIG again

Closer to home, BAC’s fast-rising high jumper Leonie Brunning competed brilliantly at the BIG Jumps & Throws Fest in Bedford. Competing as an under-17 athlete against under-20s and seniors, her best clearance of 1.65m was the second-best in her age group, and equal-fourth best of the day – just 2cm off her PB.

Her performance qualifies her for July’s English Schools Championships in Birmingham. At last year’s event she was unfortunate to miss out on a medal, having cleared the same height as the athletes who shared the bronze medal, but dropping down the standings due to failures at lower heights earlier in the competition.

Bling bonanza … BAC boss it at the Beds county champs

Hannah Ridley writes:

It was medals galore for BAC at the recent Bedfordshire County Championships. Members of Biggleswade AC were out in force on a slightly overcast day at Bedfordshire International Athletics Stadium, and the action was frequently a family affair, starting off with Donncha and Teagan Blake in the hurdles. They took second and fourth place in the under 13 boys and under 15 girls competitions respectively. Leonie Brunning then added a third place in the under 17 race. Leonie also picked up the gold medal in the high jump and came fourth in the long jump. Her sister Hannah Brunning then took silver in both the under 15 shot put and javelin. Completing the Brunning line up was younger sister Orlagh, who put in a great performance in the Quad Kids competition earlier in the day.

Freddie Steele put in a sterling effort in the under 13 boys 100m and 200m, coming away with bronze medals from both events. In the field, Sophie Steele won both her events, with a convincing 9.29m in the shot put and over 22m in the discus. Natasha Ryall, although representing Etonbury, took home gold in the under 15 javelin. Shannon Barker, another Biggleswade member wearing the Etonbury vest, finished closely behind Natasha in the javelin, taking fourth place. She then got a silver medal in the long jump with 4.60m. Teagan Blake also earned a bronze medal in that event, with a personal best 3.80m.

In the senior women’s competition, Hannah Ridley stormed to victory in the 800m with a season’s best time of 2.27.1, whilst sister Sarah took the title in the shot put by nearly 3.5 metres with a throw of 10.05m. She later held on to snatch the gold in the 100m and took silver in the discus. Sandra Ingham added to the throws titles with a first place in the javelin. On the men’s side, Darren Janssen threw a personal best in the discus of 29.75 which earned him the silver medal. He added to his collection with another silver in the shot put and a bronze in the high jump.

In the sprints, Janice Amber won both the under 20 women’s 100m and 200m. Tristan Rayner claimed the silver medal in the equivalent men’s races, with Bradley Strong collecting the bronze medals in both events. Toby Foster then took home bronze in the under 17 men’s 100m and 200m. In the under 15 girls race, Sophie Forbes-Laird put in a strong performance to finish 2nd in a personal best of 27.5 seconds.

Kareem Davis had an outstanding day, with two silver medals in the sprints and a gold in the under 15 long jump. Not to be outdone, Henry Gibb finished in a respectable fourth place in the under 13 boys 100m, with a personal best of 13.9. Morgan Webster had to wait until late afternoon for the 400m, but it was well worth it. He not only won the race, but was also awarded the best performance trophy in a 400m by Bedfordshire AAA.

More mud in Milton Keynes … Chattering teeth at ice-cold Chiltern XC closer

Four of Biggleswade Athletic Club’s junior athletes contended with pouring rain, bitter cold and uphill slogs in the last leg of this season’s Chiltern Cross Country League last Saturday. Taking place at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, the quartet of Orlagh Brunning, Nicholas Batterbee, Hannah Brunning and Elliot Swinburne competed superbly to do the blue and yellow vest proud.

Different age groups and categories had different distances to contend with, but the overall course consisted of two laps with the first, smaller lap covering approximately 1.5km – with around the first kilometre consisting of tricky uphills. The second lap of around 3km offered a similar amount of gradient, and with rough, muddy and sodden ground. Despite the variety of challenges on show, conditions were undeniably tough for all competitors in the field.

Jostling for position at the start was the trickier thanks to the hard opening uphill stretch, which immediately tested all the athletes. Thankfully the support crew of BAC members, coaches and family members, including Mandie Trudgill and Michael Blunt, were liberally scattered around the course to offer much-needed cheer and encouragement.

Orlagh, first off in the Under-11 girls’ race, came over the brow of the hill looking strong and determined and fought to a fine 35th-place finish in the “mob” race, which equated to seventh in Division 2. In the boys’ equivalent, Nicholas went one place better, crossing the line in 34th and placing 10th in the Division.

Hannah, in the Under-13 girls’ field, worked hard to a 62nd-place finish in the mob standings, which gave her 25th place in Division 2, while Elliot – running the full 4.5k in the Under-15s boys’ field – saved something for a barnstorming finish, coming in 38th, and 10th in the Division.

At the Love Welwyn 10k last Sunday, five BAC athletes took to the road – and hills – for another challenging course made all the trickier thanks to extremely high winds.

Julie Spavins and Jon Stott. Photo by Nick Spavins
Julie Spavins and Jon Stott cross the line. Photo by Nick Spavins

In spite of this, Julie Spavins, accompanied for the duration by clubmate Jon Stott, was delighted to cross the line in 1:02:30. Roo Goodwin, preparing for next month’s Milton Keynes Festival Of Running race at the same distance, endured 6.22 miles of at times unwelcome “encouragement” from husband Stuart, running alongside her, and finished in 1:09:48. Just behind was Gemma Murrell, in 1:10:36.

Taking flight … BAC athletes rocket to RSPB Race For Wildlife 10k glory

Biggleswade Athletic Club athletes Jamie Hall and Elaine Livera took top honours at the RSPB Race For Wildlife 10k race last weekend on an extremely cold morning at The Lodge in Sandy. The pair took first in the men’s and women’s standings respectively, with Elaine fourth overall in the combined results. BAC’s Deb Bryant was third lady finisher on the day as well.

Deb Bryant, Elaine Livera and Jamie Hall after the RSPB 10k. Photo by Charlie Arnold
Deb Bryant, Elaine Livera and Jamie Hall after the RSPB 10k. Photo by Charlie Arnold

The first running of the race took place on an awkward but picturesque two-lap course, each of which took in two steep inclines, including the cruelly leg-sapping Galley Hill. The route took runners through the old heath and the new heath, including the Iron Age Hill fort, and down the spectacularly sunlit, tree-lined bridleway.

Being a local affair, BAC members assisted with the planning and management, and those competing were already familiar with much of the route as the RSPB HQ is a favourite in training runs.

Jamie’s time of 36:57 was 1min 6sec clear of Martin Amos in second, while Elaine’s 42:10 for fourth overall was just 10sec behind Trevor Grace in third. BAC’s Paul Cooke was fifth overall in 43:40.


Elsewhere last weekend, multi-event specialist Daniel Steel continued his excellent start to the season at the Brunel Indoor Jumps and Throws Festival in Uxbridge. Having recently mauled the indoor heptathlon club record, he came away with a huge CR and PB in the shot put, with a best of 10.05m, but with three of his six efforts clear of the old mark.

Daniel also leaped to an impressive 5.65m in the long jump, while his 12.69m in the triple jump was not just a season’s best, but his best effort in two and a half years.

At the Eastern AA Indoor Championships at Lee Valley, BAC’s Morgan Webster – competing for Bedfordshire – took a fine silver medal in the Under-20 400m.

Morgan Webster, left, on the podium. Photo by Jamie Webster
Morgan Webster, left, on the podium after winning a silver medal. Photo by Jamie Webster

Run over two laps indoors, Morgan started the race slowly but slowly built up pace and passed the breaking point lying fifth out of six athletes. He then showed his pace judgment by reeling in those ahead, and his superior kick told in the closing stages as he fought his way into second place in a time of 51.25. He was joined on the podium with Beds team-mate Joseph Hubbock, who finished third.

BAC’s Hannah Ridley, competing for Keele University, took the line for the BUCS Cross Country Championships at Hillingdon House Farm Sports Ground in Uxbridge last Saturday. In a hefty field of 704 finishers, Hannah finished a very creditable 320nd in 29:59.9. The women’s race, taking in two laps totalling 6.5km, saw competitors having to contend with awkward ground and a sapping, muddy water crossing that conspired to suck shoes from the feet of some athletes …

If they could stay on their feet, that is …

The great indoors … BAC athletes show promise treading the boards

At the London U13-U17 Games at Lee Valley, Biggleswade Athletic Club hurdler Natasha Ryall was in indoor action. The event, which is now an international open, saw the youngster contending with higher hurdles than last season, having moved up to the under-15 age category.

Arriving with an open mind, her aim for the 60m hurdles competition was to gain experience over the barriers, and looking towards an opportunity to compete at the England Athletics Age-Group Championships in Sheffield later this month.

Natasha’s PB in the event was technically over 12secs, but having improved a great deal since that performance, she was looking to get close to the required mark of 10secs needed to qualify for Sheffield, and had two opportunities in Lee Valley to try and obtain the time.

Natasha Ryall. Photo by Chris Ryall
Natasha Ryall at Lee Valley. Photo by Chris Ryall

In her first outing, she got a good start and was very clean over the barriers. Indeed, with one hurdle to go was in the lead, before two rivals closed in. At the finish you could put a blanket over all three, but the photo finish gave her third place, in a huge personal best time of 10.25secs.

Her performance meant she was promoted to a higher standard of competition for her second outing, and once again she was swiftly out of the blocks, leading going into the final hurdle once more. This time she was pipped out of the first three, crossing the line in fourth with 10.38secs. Still more to do to attain the qualifying standard, but good experience.

Coach David Brown said: “With indoor facilities now open to all, there are now opportunities for competition all year round. This has only been available in the last 10 years with the build of the Lee Valley Athletics Centre at Enfield, which has a complete full indoor athletics competition facility.

“With now such competitions it is good to see where the athlete is in their development and we can adjust training depending on the results off the winter comps and the performances in the summer improve.”

More evidence of this came at the same venue the following weekend, for the London Senior & U20 Games. The popular annual meeting has acquired an international flavour, attracting a great standard of athlete both from the UK – with internationals such as Dwain Chambers and Andrew Robertson as well as athletes from the USA, France, Germany, Ireland and Malta. Joining them on track were BAC’s Euan Dickson-Earle, competing in the senior 60m hurdles, while Bradley Strong took the line for the U20 200m.

First in the blocks was Loughborough University student Euan, and as he progresses in the senior ranks finds himself among some of the best hurdlers in the country. A former World Youth Championships finalist, he lined up against European junior and under-23 medallist Gianni Frankis, coached by 1991 World bronze winner Tony Jarrett, and fellow youth international Khai Riley-Laborde, who was second at last year’s senior British Championships.

Euan approached his first race cautiously, but made a good start to be in contention for the lead over the first hurdle. As the race wore on, with little room for error, he was slightly down on Laborde and Frankis, and despite a blanket finish he was down in fifth place, in 8.08secs

Second time around, against the top four from his first race, Euan was more aggressive and attacked the race from the off. He led over the first two barriers before those chasing reeled him in, and while Laborde and Frankis again took first and second, he came away with fourth spot, equalling his season’s best time of 8.01secs.

Euan now looks forward to the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Indoor Championships in Sheffield later this month, where he won the silver medal last year.

Later in the day Bradley lined up in the 200m heats, looking to establish where his fitness is at the is time of the season. Lined up in lane three, a favourable draw as the banking is not as steep in the inside lanes, hegot a good start going into the tight bends. In a good rhythm coming off the turn, he injected more speed and attacked the athletes on his outside.

Keeping his form into the final bend and off the curve, Bradley come home sixth in a new indoor PB of 26.69, his best indoors or out for a couple of seasons. With training going well this early in the season, a target of sub-25secs looks a promising challenge for 2018.

Many thanks to David Brown for contributing to this report