Essex and Eastern Indoor Championships 2023

Lee Valley 4 & 5 March 2023

Having made her mark as a sprint prospect last year, Jadesola Fawehinmi made qualifying through the 60m rounds of the Essex Indoor Champs look very easy. After a hiccup over vests and little time to warm up, a win in the first round of the U15 girls heats (8.08s) gained automatic qualification through to the semi, where she looked confident and calm and once again delivered with another clear win in 8.07s. An hour later an exciting battle took place which kept Harriers own Chris Akehurst busy on the photofinish desk – and Jadesola a nail biting wait to hear where she had been placed. Her patience won through and saw her claim a brilliant Essex Gold (Eastern Silver) in another 8.07 – just shy of the club record.

Jadesola Fawehinmi – U15 Essex gold and Eastern silver medalist

Samantha Yearwood bagged a place in her first indoor U17 final having navigated a heat and semi where she improved her earlier PB from 8.29 to 8.26 and ran a strong race to finish 5th in a PB of 8.15s… which was good enough to claim an Essex Bronze medal.

Samantha Yearwood collecting U17 Bronze
Samantha Yearwood collecting U17 Bronze

An unfortunate stumble after fifteen metres left U17 Dylan Stewart (7.72s PB) a little back in the pace and was just not able to make up ground; Alexa Henry (8.64s PB) and Alice Anthony (8.92s PB) ran the same heat and claimed fifth and sixth position respectively whilst Feyi Atiku (7.91s PB) running his first championship, didn’t quite hit his groove, his long legs maybe suited for longer distances – and sadly none were able to progress.

A chilly warm up area saw Harriers sprinters back bright and early for day two. Neither Stewart or Yearwood had ever trained let alone competed an indoor 200m before; so this was new territory and nerves were jangling. Despite this Stewart, in heat 2 and from lane three managed to smash his PB by over one and a half seconds to finish fourth (24.36s). Initial results showed that he had not qualified through – but with just twenty minutes before the semi and a packed lunch eaten – delayed results from Roster app and clarification from the officials saw him line up in lane 2 where he fully committed to the race and gained himself his third PB of the weekend to finish fifth in 24.31s.

Dylan and Samantha

In the U17 women’s race Samantha Yearwood comfortably won her heat despite not feeling all that confident with the indoor set up having received a lane violation warning. With no semi to negotiate this was her second county final of the weekend. A thrilling dash for the line saw 2nd to 4th places split by just 4/100dths of a second, with Yearwood in the unenviable 4th place in 27.23s. However as the winner was not an Essex athlete, this meant Sam gained a brilliant second Bronze medal for her champs.

Alice Anthony also competed U17 w 200m, finishing 5th in her heat in 31.05s. A great weekends racing to set these youngsters up for the outdoor season.

Later in the afternoon Sam Shippey U20M first raced his heat of the 400m, easing down to 54.17 (2nd) to preserve energy for the final two hours later. In the final, in a very close race Sam powered home to 2nd overall, and Essex Gold as County Champion in 52.00, and Eastern Silver.

Sam Shippey with his medal haul

Several of the Junior Endurance athletes also travelled to Lee Valley for Sunday afternoon, all Juniors competing in 800m, which was the maximum distance many were able to enter due to age restrictions.

First up was Jake Phillips U17M running a strong race to finish 5th in his heat in 2:25.42. Next came Caleb Lee U17M in the following heat, improving on his time last month to 2:40.06

The U15G followed, Eliza Shippey (who has been hampered by a leg problem recently) was in the first heat and finished 6th in 2:44.29, then Jemima Garner U15G racing her first ever track race of any distance put in a great performance and after a very fast start continued at great pace for 2:44.18 and 5th position. Jemima will learn pacing quickly, and her times will show improvement as this happens.

The U17W brought arguably the best performance of the day, as Alice Begg committed from the gun, and smashed almost 5 seconds from her PB finishing 2:32.72. You could see the final lap was hurting but nothing was going to stop Alice. Next up, sub 2:30 in the summer….. In the same race Izzie Bueggeln made a strong attempt to race, but a very recent knee problem and illnesses didn’t allow her best performance, and Izzie decided to ease down to finish 7th in 2:51.84, she will be back!

Hayden Preston was the only U13B competing. After a good start, today was not his day, and finished in 4th 2:42.92, he is already looking forward to the outdoor 1500s starting next month.

A great weekends racing to set these young green vests up for the outdoor season; with open meets starting in just a few weeks and leagues from April 23rd.

Juniors competing in the 800m