Well it can’t be too bad this athletics lark – because Rachel Carr, who made her track debut a couple of weeks ago, returned for more. Having recorded 14 minutes 2 seconds for the 3000 metres at Middlesbrough – was she able to break the 14 minute barrier at Darlo – or was it a step too far? Read on…
Yes, a balmy Tuesday evening in Darlington saw the penultimate track and field event of the season. Rachel and I were joined by Katie Abel, Lucy Owens – making her season debut, and Tom Ramsey – making his track and field debut. I have to say it was probably the most enjoyable athletics event I’ve been involved in as a Strider. The team did themselves and the club proud.
First up was the High Jump. When I asked if anyone wanted to join me in the event a few faces were pulled – so I was on my own. In the film Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s character eventually wakes up and everything is different. ‘Different is good’ – and so it proved in the High Jump. For once the youngsters didn’t have quite as much spring in their legs and, after what seemed like an eternity of trying, I finally cleared 1 metre 45 cm…..and then 1.50……then 1.55 – winning the whole event – juniors, seniors and veterans included. Splendid.
400 metres followed (or 400 yards as it was known of course back in Dave Fender’s day). I took a breather for this one and cheered on the team. The girls ran well in their heats with Katie (82.80 secs), Lucy (84.70 secs) and Rachel (88.90 secs) hurtling round in sub 6 minute per mile pace. Now, Tom is someone I coach at the club. I knew he had a turn of pace – but would a few debut nerves affect his performance? Of course not. An evenly paced run saw him record an excellent 66.70 secs. I always encourage runners to try different distances – you often stumble by accident on the event you’re most suited to – and I think Tom may have done so on Tuesday. There’s definitely some talent there and with a bit of work I think we could get you down towards the 60 second mark Tom.
Javelin followed the 400 – but I was precluded from entering on health grounds due to my matchstick like arms. The others did though, and Katie led the way with a throw of 10.06 metres. (she’s been taking creatine pills for the last two weeks) Both Rachel (7.02 metres) and Lucy (6.70 metres) recorded better throws than Tom. What! I hear you cry. Well, Tom does throw an impressively long way – it’s just that he’s either nearly taking out one of the measuring officials by landing it outside the throwing area – or fouling by landing it on the back part. So, having entered the event with a Javelin pb of 0 metres, that was still the case when he exited. I hope they double check the cage if he decides to do the hammer…
As soon as the last Javelin landed Lucy and Rachel dashed off to the start of the 3000 metres. Could Rachel beat her 14.02 pb? She was in good form fresh from a parkrun pb – but it was hot conditions so it was no certainty. Up against some speedy runners in their heat – both ladies didn’t fall into the trap of going off too fast with the leaders – instead concentrating on their own performance. They ran brilliantly. As I glanced at my watch on the final lap it was clear that 14 minutes was going to be smashed – and Lucy (13 mins 39.3 secs) and Rachel (13 mins 41.8 secs) should be delighted with their effort.
The evening concluded with the 200 metres. The high jump had been a bonus for me but I was really after a fast 200 on the back of a good 400 from the previous meeting. The race felt good – and although I was pipped on the line in my heat – I was chuffed to find that I’d managed a pb of 26.40 seconds when the results were published. Tom continued his sprinting form with a time of 30.3 seconds in his heat. Katie recorded 36.10 secs whilst Lucy (38.10 secs) and Rachel (42.60 secs) completed the full set of track events – 400,3000 and 200.
Thanks folks – it was a good evening. The final event of the summer takes place at Middlesbrough on Tuesday July 10th where 800 metres, 100 metres, 5000 metres, hammer, Shot and Long Jump await.
Now, I’m sure most of you are aware that Caroline Horton, David Horton, Neil McGee and Liz Simpson all passed their Coach In Running Fitness (CIRF) qualification at the weekend. Fewer people will be aware of exactly what this entailed.
The answer is a lot of hard work over many months. It really isn’t a case of just turning up for the various training days and then getting your licence – far from it. A huge amount of personal time is required for compiling numerous training and session plans. A theory exam then has to be passed (Liz scraped through with 98%) before the dreaded assessment day. This is a practical exam where you deliver various parts of a session – with the England Athletics tutors watching on with their clip boards and taking notes. It’s a stressful experience – and one that some people freeze up on and don’t pass.
Having got my CIRF a while back I’ve been able to give a bit of advice to the four where needed. What’s been particularly admirable is the conscientious manner in which they’ve approached the course. It certainly wasn’t a case of ‘what’s the minimum we have to do to pass this thing.’ In their spare time they constantly practiced, revised and filmed coaching sessions – and completed highly detailed training and session plans. Their hard work has paid off and the club are getting four exceptionally good new CIRF’s. Well done folks.