Essex Pentathlon Champs Thurrock

Two under 15 girls, Lauren Strutt and Rachel Hoddell, braved the cold and windy conditions at Thurrock to compete in the Essex Pentathlon championships

In far from ideal conditions both girls struggled in the long jump as the cold wind blew directly into their faces for the first event. Both were disappointed with their jumps, which were well off their best, but remained in good spirits ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

Next up was the 75m hurdles race, where again the girls had to run into a strong head wind, but fared better. Lauren took 0.1 seconds off of her PB to run 15.4 while Rachel was just outside her PB

Finally the girls moved onto an event not affected by the wind, the shot put, and here both threw over 7m for the first time for new PBs. Rachel’s put of 7.30m was a new PB by 32cm but Lauren had a fantastic event putting 7.75m in the first round to improve her PB by 91cm

Multi-event competitions are not only a test of athletic ability but a mental test as well, with large gaps in the program often occurring, and this competition proved as difficult as any. The long jump had started at 10am and the first three events up to the shot put were completed before 1pm, but now came a three hour wait for the high jump mats to become available as other age groups were using them. Both girls managed the time, and cold conditions well and came out ready for the high jump. Both girls initially struggled with their run ups and again the wind was a factor here, but both then settled in to have great results. Lauren, struggling with a slight knee injury, jumped well to equal her PB of 1.35m, but Rachel went even better with her final clearance of 1.44m taking her deep into the competition for a new PB by 6cm

The final event of the day was the 800m, a gruelling event at the end of any pentathlon, but particularly difficult with the cold wind blowing harder than ever and rain starting to fall. By this time many of the favourites had already fallen by the wayside with injuries or withdrawals so finishing the event was an achievement in itself. Again both girls ran great races and were only narrowly outside their PBs.

By now it was after 6pm and both girls had braved the weather since 9:30am, when they had started their warm ups for the long jump, so left (to get warm) before the final 800m times and final pentathlon scores were not available, but basing the 800m times on unofficial timing and help from our friendly official time-keeper Chris Akehurst their final scores could be calculated. Rachel’s final score was at least 1724 for a new PB by around 100 points, and Lauren’s predicted final score was 1951 a new PB by the narrowest of margins; 1 point!