STRATFORD Athletic Club’s scaled-down, Covid-safe Club Championships – the biggest and most important event in the club’s calendar – gave more than 130 athletes the chance to impress in what has been a hugely frustrating 2020.
Athletes were expertly marshalled by nearly 50 of the club’s volunteer officials and coaches to enjoy what was, for some, the first and only time they could compete in this summer’s blighted track and field season.
Athletes have continued to train hard this year despite the severe restrictions placed upon them and, after only being allowed back to training at the track two months ago, the performances of the athletes surpassed all expectations with more than 200 personal bests recorded and a few club records broken too.
Paul Bearman, the meeting co-ordinator, commented: “It really was a terrific team effort and achievement by everyone concerned to put the championships on in such a short timescale.
“Getting it licensed to the stringent, safe standards required by England Athletics only five days before leading up to the championships made it touch and go to run the event.
“Covid has decimated the track and field season. Without the commitment, hard work and attention to detail to make things safe by the small army of volunteers, the championships simply wouldn’t have happened.”
Athlete Millie Leighton said: “The Club Championships was a great way to end an incredibly short season and for many of us was the only chance to compete this year.
“Nevertheless, everyone seemed to rise to the occasion and produce some great performances. It was definitely a challenge having gone so long without training, but I think it’s safe to say we have all missed competition and it was nice to restore some amount of normality.
“Considering the lack of competition preparation and training at the track over the last six months, along with the majority of athletes, I was very surprised and pleased with my results, managing to get a personal best in two out of my three events.
“Given it’s unlikely we will be able to have the club awards evening this year, it was nice to see the entire club enjoying being together.”