Steve Mitchell’s England Gold Puts Other Good Results in the Shade

03 Jun

Whilst six male athletes from the club were in action on Saturday 2nd June 2012 at the English Athletics Championships (incorporating the Northern and Midland Championships) at a very cold Alexander Stadium it was the sole club female athlete in the field events who stole the lime-light on Day 1.

Christina JONES entered the Women’s Hammer competition with a PB of 54 metres 40 centimetres which she broke twice on her way to finishing just outside the medals. Her best throw of 56 metres and 12 centimetres securing fourth place in the competition. Well done Christina – we are sure there is even more to come before the end of the season.

In the Men’s 400 metres hurdles John BRIERLY clocked 58.20 for sixth place in Heat 2 but had already returned to Bristol when it was announced that he had made the ‘B’ final. We have since discovered that John was bronze medalist in the Midland Championships.

Scott BAJERE had a busy day opening with a second place in Heat 2 of the Men’s 100 metres in 10.96. In the semi’s Scott finished third in 10.74 to narrowly miss the ‘A’ final and had to be content with a place in the ‘B’ final – which he duly won with a 10.80 clocking. Elliott Prendergast ran 11.42 for fifth place in Heat 3 in 11.42. Although both sprinters will be disappointed not to run PBs the cold conditions were far from ideal for the sprinters – but they were to get even worse on the Sunday when the cold wind was joined by heavy rain.

Leon REID had a busy second day of the championships negotiating three rounds of the Men’s 200 metres. Going into the event with a 21.87 PB Leon won Heat 5 in 21.70, was second in his semi-final in 21.64 for a second PB. He came back to take sixth in 21.7 in the final – the last track event of the championships by which time the foul weather had got the better of the electronic timing. Hats off to the determined band of officials who saw the event through to its conclusion in conditions that would not have been out of place at the English Cross-Country Championships – indeed those who survived the Alton Towers National Cross-Country from 2011 would have felt quite at home. Well done LEON on coming out unscathed – there were many who limped off the bend clutching their hamstring who did not.

There was a small middle-distance contingent from the club and what they lacked in numbers they made up for in quality. Andrew DEAN-YOUNG ran 1:56.82 to win Heat 5 in the Men’s 800 metres (just outside his 2-year old PB) and then went on to take fourth place in his semi-final in 1:57.82 – this performance was good enough to take the silver medal in the Midlands Championships. Mike WILSMORE was happy to take the runner-up slot in 1:56.78 in his heat before stepping on the gas to win his semi-final in 1:51.48 (just outside his PB). On Sunday he came back to contest the final and was just .24 of a second shy of winning as John Bird (Ipswich and the University of Bath) took the title in 1:53.09 to Mike’s 1:53.33. Mike had to take evasive action as an errant official pushed a trolley onto the inside lane with 150 metres to run – it comes to something when you have to shout “Track” in a National final. Mike’s view of his second place is in an interview on Athleticos at:

Steve Mitchell went into the championships off a slow start to the track season but a heat win on the Saturday in 3:50.80 and the fastest qualifier distinction set him up for a good final. Championship finals are rarely fast races and Steve was virtually in the lead from the gun; it became clear that his in-race tactic was to hold the curb and although athletes came up to his shoulder he never let one pass before kicking off the front around 300 metres from home. Passing 800 metres in 2:09 the time was never going to be that quick but in a championship the win is the thing and to do it in some style is an added bonus. Steve’s interview with Athleticos shortly after his race is at:

Steve briefly got to hold the England Athletics’ 1,500 (formerly AAAs Mile) Trophy for a photo shoot before driving back to Bristol – nice to know that your name will soon follow greats like Bannister, Cram, Coe, Ovett, Moorcroft, Peter Elliott and others that are engraved on the cup and its base. No wonder they won’t let you take it home. We will aim to get a photo on the club web-site as soon as we can.

Finally, club member Hannah Alderson running in her Yate track colours, won her first senior England medal with a spirited third place in the Women’s 5,000 metres race clocking 17:07 to take the bronze. Hannah will be welcomed back in the autumn when she runs for us on the road and over the country.