Gold for Senior Men
A beautiful summer’s evening awaited participants of this year’s Essex Track Relay Championships at Melbourne Athletics Centre, Chelmsford on Friday 28 June.
Just three teams represented Harriers; with the U15 Girls 4x100m team the first on the track competing in the second heat. From lane 6 they produced their quickest time of the season so far with a PB of 53.32s having got the baton safely round. Stepping up a year to complete the team, U13 Hollie Martin-Whymark was unfortunate to be overtaken on the line into 5th place, but that was enough for this young team (Tilly Motts, Olivia Gillon) to qualify through to the final where drawn in the outside lane they ran their hearts out to settle for 8th position in a consistent time of 53.89s. With three of the four able to compete in this age group again next year they have plenty of time to improve under the careful eye of coach Ian Kelly.
The U17 men’s team, have been undefeated this year at EYAL meets, but changes to the team and exam pressures meant that very little training could be undertaken prior to the champs. Competing in heat one from lane 2, Joe Clarke set the team off to a strong start and at third change over George Lavender was able to hold out to get the baton safely into Jimi Sijuwola’s hand where he opened up a great lead to cross the line in 44.96s; their second fastest time of the season. However, heat two saw some very fast teams and pushed the green vests back into fourth fastest qualifier into the final. Drawn in lane 5 and less than an hour after qualifying, Sam Shippey ran a great second leg to close the gap and despite the baton getting safely round, Sijuwola was just unable to hold out for third place. But at 3 tenths quicker the boys produced a great season’s best to take the edge off their disappointment (44.68s).
With just a straight final to compete the Senior Men’s team then had to endure a lengthy and very disorganised start due to lane mix ups. But the disruption had no outward signs of having affected the team; Calum Mckay showed good form with an electric start and despite a tentative pass to second leg, Akin Akinboh, utilised his strength and quick turn over to gain ground; Joe Wilkins had a fantastic third leg and edged the baton into the lead for Daniel Jones to fly down the home straight holding off Orion Harriers to cross with plenty of air space to become Essex Champions. Their time of 43.28s is a new Senior Men’s Club Record and gives them a top 40 UK ranking.