A FLURRY of open competitions across the Midlands have heralded the start of the outdoor track and field season and several Stratford Athletic Club runners took advantage of the good weather to get some early season competition under their belts.
The Charnwood AC Open in Loughborough is renowned as a competitive event and it proved changes in U20 athlete Jess Sheppard’s training programme are already paying dividends as she raced to a personal best in the 400m of 60.27 that is also an overall and Under 20 club record. She also ran a PB of 13.26 in the 100m.
Her sister Imogen has come off a successful cross country season and her first 800m as an U17 finished with in an encouraging time of 2:22.17.
Grace Fairweather was a busy girl and finished her day with a huge smile on her face and three personal bests in the U15 100m (13.21), long jump (4.59m) and 200m (28.11).
Moving up an age group can be daunting but U15 Millie Leighton is literally taking it in her stride and is developing into a good triple jumper.
She continued her progress with another PB in breaking the 10m barrier for the first time with 10.07m and another PB in the 75m hurdles of 13.31s.
Jasmine Williams is another U15 on an upward progress path and ran two new season bests of 14.03s in the 100m and 12.66 in the 75m hurdles.
Her mother Paula ran 13.33s in the 80m hurdles W40 and then coincidentally ran the same time in the 100m.
Stourport was the venue for the Kidderminster & Stourport Open and U15 Beth Cate started her outdoor season in fine style with a double win in the 80m (10.6) and 150m in a big new PB of 19.8s.
Her sister Amelie, in her first long jump as an U13, finished with 3.71m, nearly half a metre further than she had jumped before.
High jumpers Evie Lowe and Ellie Bryan struggled with their run-up rhythm which is normal so early in the season and this resulted in two girls rather frustrated with their final heights as Ellie finished on 1.35m and Evie 1.40m.
Over in Rugby, Jasmine’s brothers – U15 Cole and U11 Linden – were competing at the Rugby Spring Open and Cole surprised himself by jumping 5.57m in the long jump which is more than a metre further than he has ever jumped before. His day was completed with good runs in the 100m (13s) and 80m hurdles (12.8s).
Younger brother Linden was getting his first taste of competition and he finished first in the 75m to win a gold medal as he matched his PB of 11.7 and then jumped a new PB of 3.55m in the long jump.
Georgia Clark was satisfied with her day’s competition in her first 300m hurdles of the season and, after a morale-boosting solid run, she finished first.
Similarly in her first 80m hurdles of the season she also finished first, equalling her PB of 12.5.
Charlie Whorrad, in his first competition as an U13, won the long jump with a PB of 4.63m and also came second overall in the 100m in 14.2.
This was the first time he has ever raced competitively over that distance, beating all the athletes who were consistently ahead of him last year, which is good benchmark for his progress.
Report compiled by Paul Bearman.