With fuel protests on the M6 our journey to the National Athletics Finals took a little longer than I had wanted. However, the five athletes who travelled to Pingle Stadium, representing the region of Mercia remained focused.
First up was Sophie (racing a year young) in the U12 1500m event. She started off well and as the lead pack moved off, Sophie remained steady in her pace as she finished in 14th place with a time of 5:52:03. Anna was next in the U12 800m, also running a year under age and was placed in the faster of the two races. Having to start from lane 8 it was difficult to judge the initial race pace as the athletes broke at the line and charged off down the back straight. The standard of middle distance running in both the 1500m and 800m was impressive and Anna came home 9th place in 2:49:28.
Just like buses we waited for a long time for our next competitors to participate and then we had two at the same time with Remy in the Long Jump and Jack in the 200m heats. Remy did a sound run up and started off jumping competently, gaining great height from the take off board leaping a PB of 4m 22cm, gaining him 5th place overall. Jack meanwhile was waiting after two false starts. He had to recompose himself and prepare mentally again for an event he is quite new to competing in. This was tough as he ran fast enough to qualify for the final. In the final Jack had a tight bend being drawn in lane 1 and he could see all of his competitors on the outside seemingly ahead with the staggered start. He pressed the turbo button again and finished in an amazing time making him the 4th fastest boy nationally over 200m.
James had been prepared well for his race and already had a good knowledge of the competitors placed in his faster heat for the 800m. The lead boy had completed 400m in just over a minute and James was not too far behind with the second pack looking to track him down in the back straight. With an excellent timed dash for the end James finished with a podium place and a bronze medal. This was our most successful year for selection to Nationals and our most successful set of results. I hope this sets the precedent for the future athletes and look forward to seeing them early morning runners in the Michaelmas term.