STRATFORD Athletic Club runners enjoyed a glorious time at the England Athletics Age Group Championships in Sheffield as they won two gold medals and one bronze.
In the Under 15 Boys 60m Hurdles Jack Sumners won gold in a personal best time of 8.59 seconds with a classy and composed performance.
He was like a coiled spring on the start line and would struggle to react to the gun any better than he did. Jack had a narrow lead by the second hurdle, running and hurdling smoothly and powerfully.
At the final hurdle it was neck and neck but Jack’s superb transition into the sprint for the finish line gave him a half-stride advantage.
He dipped early and effectively, stopping the clock at 8.59 and winning by 0.05 seconds from Isaac Milham of Maidstone & Medway AC.
After the race Jack said he was “so excited and I can’t believe I won!”
Club-mate Oli Cresswell was unlucky to be disqualified for an infringement during the race, as his trail leg strayed out of his lane as he negotiated a hurdle. Competing in the final was a valuable experience for Oli and he is hungry for more action at this level.
Jack had earlier won his heat in 8.70 and was fasted qualifier for the final by 0.11 seconds. Oli did really well to qualify as a fastest loser after finishing 4th in the same race with a time of 9.04.
Jack is now equal 1st in the UK Under 15 Boys 60m Hurdles rankings.
In the Under 20 Men’s High Jump Rory Dwyer won the gold medal with 2.12m. He equalled his indoor PB and added to his 2013 and 2014 Under 17 titles plus an Under 15 silver medal he won in 2012.
Rory entered the competition with the bar at 2.03m, after some athletes had already been eliminated. He cleared 2.03m and 2.06m, both at the first attempt.
When the bar was raised to 2.09m, only one rival stood between Rory and victory. William Grimsey (Enfield & Haringey AC) and Rory both failed to clear 2.09m with their first two attempts.
With Grimsey jumping first and having had failures at previous heights, if he failed with his third jump Rory was guaranteed the gold medal. Grimsey had a valiant attempt but never looked like clearing the bar.
With the win secured, Rory was able to maintain his focus and show his quality with an excellent clearance. By this stage he was really enjoying the support of the crowd. Rory also jumped magnificently with the bar at 2.12m, clearing the bar in great style the second attempt.
He had three unsuccessful attempts at 2.16m – his current PB and the European Championship qualifying height. Rory was ecstatic about winning another national title and maintaining the solid form he has shown so far in 2015.
He said: “I’m very proud to win the title and now I’m looking forward to competing for England against Wales next weekend. Then I return to my winter training in preparation for the summer.”
He remains number one in the UK Under 20 rankings.
In the Under 15 Boys High Jump Oli Cresswell won a well deserved bronze medal with a PB height of 1.70m. The winning height was 1.75m and the entire field of nine athletes was covered by just 10cm.
Oli calmed his pre-competition nerves in superb fashion, clearing 1.55m, 1.60m and 1.65m with his opening jump at each height. He stayed cool and put in the jump of his life to clear 1.70m. He only just missed out on 1.75m.
Oli was “proud of myself, especially getting to stand on the podium.”
This was his first national medal and he is ranked 4th in the UK.
In the Under 20 Men’s 60m Hurdles Alex Grant was disqualified after a false start.
THE BELVOIR Challenge gives competitors the choice of a 15-mile or 26-mile race around the Vale of Belvoir and Belvoir Escarpment in north east Leicestershire. The route follows footpaths, byways, tracks, and minor roads and meanders through the Duke of Rutland’s estate.
Thirteen Stratford AC runners enjoyed the muddy conditions and can be proud of their performances in the 15-mile event.
Results: Hannah Spriggs – 2:32.33 (97th); Lesley Kirk – 2:33.34 (100th); Lisa Dallisson – 2:36.39 (108th); Sarah Odell – 2:43.47 (140th); Pippa Bailey – 3:19.41 (253rd); Jo Young – 3:46.56 (343rd); Mike Barrett – 3:47.02 (344th); Michele Cottiss – 3:47.12 (345th); Suzanne Jones – 3:55.44 (378th); Malcolm Bowyer – 5:21.56 (675th); Wendy Bowyer – 5:22.00 (676th); Mark Duncan – 5:22.05 (677th); Jane Duncan – 5:22.11 (678th).
PHIL Brennan competed for Midland Masters in the EAMA Inter-Area Indoor Challenge at Lee Valley and had a thoroughly exhausting day. Phil picked up championship records in the 400m (2nd, 82.32) and 800m (2nd, 3:04.6) and still had enough energy for the 3,000m (3rd, 13:19) plus a leg in the 4x200m relay (4th).
GRAHAM Black and Julian Johnson ran in the ever-popular Bath Half Marathon alongside 13,000 others and enjoyed the fast, flat two-lap course. The windy conditions made life difficult at times but Graham (2:07.11 – chip time 1:57.18) and Julian (2:48.40 – chip time 2:38.51) put their strength and stamina to good use.
JAMES Cusack recorded a PB time in the Coventry Half Marathon, finishing in 1:33.41 (chip time – 1:32.31).