Success at County Champs

Usually seen as an early season opportunity to gain qualification standards for national events, the pandemic delayed Essex County AA Track and Field Championships finally took place over the weekend of 31 July, 1st August.  Harriers Track and Field athletes did themselves proud amassing a total haul of 13 medals and one superb Championship Best Performance by Lyla Belshaw.

An early start on Saturday morning for U15 Hammer thrower, Wyatt Larkins saw him ease through to the final where he had the opportunity of an extra three efforts.  Sadly a magnificent throw just over  40m was disallowed, however his earlier best of 35m was good enough for him to claim the first gold medal of the day.   Following a heavy rain-storm  it was the turn of the girls.  Despite the circle being bailed out a few times, conditions continued to be slippery for all of them making efforts quite tentative. Olivia Simon was placed second after her third round but managed to dig deep to change her fortunes and although not satisfied with her best distance of 42.33m she did salvage a win – her third championship title in this event.  Josephine Larkins, competing as an U20 kept her spirits high despite the weather and managed to cling on for a Silver medal with a best effort of 41.74m. Competing as a Senior, Philippa Davenall always knew it was going to be a tough call, drawn against an in-form and top ranking Katie Head.  Rising to the occasion Davenall, delivered some decent efforts and although not able to top the podium, did come home with Silver after a best effort of 57.24m.

Running to form Rebecca Jeggo claimed a career eighth top Championship finish over the weekend, in races which looked all too easy for this Sprinter.   Two straight finals ensured her outing was little more than a decent training session and although disappointed with her times (11.87 and 24.53) she should be justly proud of her impressive stats. 

The wind guage might have read -1.6, but it felt really hard work coming off the bend in the 200m.  Sadly a number of athletes pulled out turning this into a straight final.”

Also competing the short sprints were Hollie Martyn Whymark who clocked 13.70s to qualify as one of the best of the rest into the U15 girls 100m final where she finished  eighth in a consistent time of 13.73s;   on day 2 she followed this up with a season’s best 200m finishing fifth in 28.73s.   Maya Rattray – who had struggled with a niggly hamstring in training was unable to perform at her best and finished the U20 heat in 13.76s, and sadly pulled out of the 200m.  Club stalwart Joe Wilkin took fourth in the senior men’s 100m in 11.57s whilst training buddy Akin Akinboh suffered the fate of a false start.  Better luck, though,  came his luck the following day in the 200m, where he  grabbed himself a decent silver medal in a time of 22.49s,  with Joe clocking 23.47s for sixth.

After a full – on week of sport, Florence Clark competed the 200m and then used her long legs to good measure to claim a great Gold medal in the U13  girls Long Jump  adding 20cm to her Pre-Covid PB with a best of 4.51m.

Over the full lap, Jen Palmer struggled to find her form after a delayed journey to the meet due to an accident on the A12 and finished a disappointing fifth in 1.08.18 – not reflecting the hard work she has put in at training.

Sam Shippey improved on his 2019 Bronze to claim a superb Gold in the U20 men’s 400m; coming off the final bend some ten metres down on the leader and in fourth position he pushed on hard, maintaining his speed he was able to pass the leader with just five metres to go  – providing an exciting finish.  He crossed the line in the rain just one one hundredth off his PB in 50.79s.

With British Middle Distance racing grabbing the headlines on the  International stage – it was a delight to see Harriers own pocket rocket continue her form as she moved up into U15 category – Lyla Belshaw set a blistering pace in 1500m leading from gun to tape taking full control, crossing to take Gold in 4.54.16 – some 70m between her and the field. Meanwhile  24 hours later she was back on the track competing as the only 3k female Harrier across any age to secure her second win of the weekend.  Competing amongst athletes from the higher age group (U17) Belshaw made the whole event look ridiculousy easy: she went out from the gun and built a commanding lead  and just kept putting distance between herself and the rest –  taking the win in a fabulous new Championship Best in 10.33.50  some 21 seconds ahead of Silver.

Tommy Colsell ran a strong race, pacing himself for the seven and a half laps and only dropping off the leading trio in the final stages.  Putting in a last good effort he gained himself into a new 3k PB and fourth place finish in 9.17.16 for the U20 men.

U13 Isla Widdowson took a good fourth in the U13 1500m crossing in 5.13.97.

Harrison Leek bagged himself a well-deserved place in the U15 boys 1500m after obtaining a new PB in the heat of 4.43m.  He finished a respectable 7th place.   In the 800’s one our newest members Eliza Shippey finished sixth in 2.43.10, whilst Alice Begg in her last year as an U15 achieved a new PB of 2.44.94 in her final.  Let’s hope Charlie Walder continues his running whilst at University having set himself a new 800m PB of 2.08.59 and a seventh place finish in the U20 men’s final.

On Sunday Aliyah Soames, competing in her last year as a Junior, achieved a good sixth place in the U17 women’s Javelin final with a best effort of 31.17, just 9cm shy of her PB.

Despite a very public appeal to the GB Olympic Committtee, Dominic King took his walking prowess to Chelmsford instead and once again became County Champion over the 3k walk in a time of 12.19.2, with brother Daniel taking Silver in 12.51.3.

Away from the Champs earlier in the week Samantha Yearwood managed to lower both her 100m PB to 13.65s for second place and her 200m time by half a second to 28.11s for a great first at the Chelmsford Open Meet.

All times and positions subject to ratification