Track & Field Bulletin – Saturday 15th September 2012

What a magnificent day it was for Bristol & West AC on Saturday 15th September 2012 at Abingdon where we demolished the opposing club’s challenge and qualified to re-enter the prestigious U K Women’s Athletic league once again.  In 1979 we won that league outright, now we are back to challenge again to aim for those heady heights!!!

We fielded a Team that was far from our strongest.  We had a few star performers but overall those lovely ladies just bust a gut for the Team by competing in any extra event that they could just for Bristol & West.  As a Team Manager you cannot operate without this spirit.  Well done girls. 

Match scores were: – Bristol & West 244; Exeter 226; Basildon 183; Brighton & Hove 161; Wakefield dns; Hull dns.

Down to the nitty gritty of performance.  Christina JONES was supreme winning the Hammer 54.13 and Shot 11.34 and then being pipped into second place in the Javelin with a throw of 31.00 metres.  How would we get on without you ‘stina, you were superb.  Just to put pressure on Christina we recently signed Cathrine BEATTY for the Hammer.  Cat. is a top International Thrower and she supported ‘stina with a magnificent Hammer throw of 51.66 so that we were already miles ahead of the other teams after the first event.  Cat also took second in the ‘B’ Discus and Shot (events she had not done before) to maximise our team position.   It is thanks to Ken HOLMES that Cathrine competed and we welcome this fine athlete to our Club.  Alice GROSJEAN showed her Discus skills with a 32.91 second place and we thank this Higher Competition member for her effort for us.

Hayley PITMAN as always dominated the High Jump with another great 1.70 metre performance and then agreed to make a return to the track with a ‘B’ winning 27.1 200 metres clocking.  Thanks Hayley, sorry about the sore hamstrings.

On the track you have to single out Charlotte GREEN.  Charlotte is a road runner from Chris ELSON’s Monday Night group who’s claim to fame was a 3h 20min in the London Marathon in April.  She answered a plea for steeplechase volunteers on the B&W web site and presented herself for hurdle training 3 weeks ago.  What a revelation, she ran 7:47.5 for the 2,000 metre steeplechase to win impressively (46th best in the UK for 2012) and won the ‘B’ string 400 Hurdles in 76.9 secs.  Her hurdling was classy to say the least and believe you me these are not easy events to learn in 3 weeks.  Char. also stood in at the last minute to do the 800m ‘A’ event just 15 minutes after her hurdles and ran very sensibly to score good points.

Aneta JAKOBCZAK is a star 400 metre Hurdler from Poland and her class just oozed out as she won the first track event by 5 seconds in 61.6 then she filled in on the High Jump with a points gathering jump of 1.40 metres and ran a fine (but exhausting) 58.1 400 metres before anchoring our 4×100 metre team to victory.     

Caroline POWELL ably supported Aneta in the 400 metres with a 62.6 second ‘B’ place to achieve a landmark for B&W.  Carol is the World & European Over-55 Champion and World Record Holder but she is also the last competing survivor from our team that won this league in 1979.   A truly remarkable achievement for this great athlete.  Carol did a remarkable seasons best 61.56 clocking at Yeovil last week so we knew she was in good form so of course she then competed in both relay teams for us on the day.

The pairing of Kate GOODHEAD and Jenny JAGGER in the 3km was a bit strong for the other clubs as they managed to lap half the other runners in the process.  Dominating is the only word for it.  Kate is just back from International Mountain Running duty so this was a doddle for her and Jenny is only just adjusting to track racing after a road running background.  Jenny’s 10:16.6 was a PB by a long way and Kate’s 10:05.5 was a formidable performance.  Both I believe had important races on the following day so we thank them very much for making the effort of coming to Abingdon.

Alyssa SMALL really came of age on this day.  Still an under-17 she was thrust into the position of lead sprinter due to the withdrawals of other established people.  She came to the plate and showed confidence in winning the ‘A’ 200 metres in 27.1 and was a close second in the ‘A’ 100 metres with a fine 12.8w seconds, both equalling her PBs.   Her contribution to the 4×100 metres was tremendous and I was sorry to frighten her with the threat of putting her in the 4×400 metres team? 

Rebecca COURTENAY has been a stable part of our hurdling team and a major competitor at sprints and jumps in the season.  At Abingdon she responded magnificently to being called upon to do each of these events and to contribute greatly to both relays. 18.0 secs secured her second in the 100 metre hurdles, she won the ‘B’ 100 metres in 13.0w seconds and took third ‘A’ in the Long Jump with 4.72 metres.   Rebecca is a remarkably accomplished technician at 100 and 400 metre hurdles.  However, she favours 4 strides instead of 3 in the shorter event which is a restriction to her performance.  Becca has now agreed that this is her last race on 4 strides and over the winter she will work out how to be technically proficient at 3 strides.  Good luck Becca, you can do it without problem.

What can you say about Rubi JUAN, she always gets the clearing up points scoring jobs after her Pole Vault and on Saturday it was no different.  Firstly let us recognise what a fine Pole Vaulter the girl is.  Her ‘B’ winning Vault of 2.30 metres would be the envy of many teams.  She has scored major points for us over the years.   But away from the Vault think of the task that she was set on Saturday, for a lady who is not too tall to be thrust into and succeed at the Triple Jump, 800 metres and 4×400 metres is no mean feat.  Rubi was performing in the Vault and triple jumping at the same time and after doing first a 4 jumper then failing to make the pit she just squeezed in on her final attempt at 7.59 metres.  In the 800 metres she ran safely round to take third place in the ‘B’ string and then was rewarded to finish off the running (and start the celebrations) with the glory leg in the 4×400 metres relay.   Remember we had won this match by nearly 20 points at this stage and Rubi had contributed a fine 21 points to our total?  Every point counts.

So finally we come to our magnificent Team Captain Andrea LOCK.  What can you say about the efforts of Andrea over the past few years, always there always making major contribution at Pole Vault and Hurdles and always willing to tackle any event that she is asked to do.   Andrea also was close to her PB in the Pole Vault with a winning 2.60 metre vault, she achieved an outstanding 19.2 seconds for second ‘B’ in the 100 metre hurdles and triple jumped 7.73 metres for valuable team points.

Well done Andrea you are an example to the whole of your team.  I hope you enjoyed the feeling of success that the Team now has.

So that is the end of this magnificent chapter in the history of our great Club.  In the 80’s we reached the heights and now we are poised to repeat our previous athletic dominance on a National platform.

From my point of view thank you Chris ELSON for the foundation laid in the Midland League over the past 4 years, the lead up to the competition made me recall the highs and lows of Team Management.  Over to you again Chris as you lead our Ladies forward in the UK Women’s Athletics League, good luck.

Bristol & West can truly say that it is back in the top flight of Women’s and Men’s Track & Field as well as Cross Country and Road Running.  Thank you for our two new tracks Bristol City Council, thank you Peter Hargreaves for your financial support, thank you Cy Knibb for guiding the Club in the belief that we could do it, thank you to the Committee for all your hard work and most of all thank you to the Athletes for having the belief to belong to a Club like Bristol & West Athletic Club.

Mike Strange 2012