The 13th and 14th May saw the County hold it’s annual Championships, The weather could not have been more different between the two days with Saturday overcast, cold with a stiff breeze and Sunday much warmer and sunny. As a result the 100m sprinters and hurdlers found their races over the legal wind limit.
This year saw a number of changes with the championships now split by events rather than age groups which allows athletes more recovery time. Spectators were given the spectacle of a succession of finals getting faster as they progressed from U13’s to Seniors. Entries were also up with 509 athletes producing 770 performances compared to 449 and 659 in 2022. 9 Championship Bests were set Gregory Thompson (SM DT), Dylan Williams (U17M 100m), Ebuka Nwokeji (U17M 200m), Koppany Szentes (U15B 3000m), Gabriel Edwards (U13B 75mH), Michelvi Wamba (U20W 200m), Adela Svihalkova (U17W 800m) and Jorjia March (U15G 800m)
All the sprints on the Saturday had strong following (Plus) winds but in chilly conditions. Performances of note were Gabriel Edwards (LH) who won both U13B 100m and 75mH which he added the 200m title the next day. In the U17M 100m David Ellington (E&H) broke the championship record with 10.73s only to see Dylan Williams (BFTA) break it in the final to take the title. In a test of stamina the U15 Boys had to contend with heats before their final later the same afternoon with Arthur Phillips (SBH) victorious and 7 of the 10 finalists setting PBs. Christian Anuyagu (VP&TH) ran a 10.43 100.(+3.8w). Gregg Thompson (SBH), always a class competitor in the field, threw the 2k discus 56.85 breaking his father’s Championship Record set in 1994..
However, on the Sunday it was quite different, with brilliant sunshine all day Alastair Aitken reports, An enthralling 800 was run as the penultimate event on the track. Not since Peter Browne’s 12 County wins in the event and the record holder Seb Coe, has there been such an exciting 800. Malik Johnson (Harrow) looked set to win after 400, with the 1500 winner Basil Rock (TVH) some 10 metres adrift. Coming up the home straight Rock worked hard and managed, in his last desperate effort to just get home first in 1:54.21. Racing a lot recently, without sprint work, Rock said “ I did think I would be a 1500 runner and not what looks like to me to be the 800.” Another very good run over that distance was by U17W Adela Svihalkova (TVH) who ran a CBP of 2:11.43 wiping off Charlotte Buckley’s CBP of 2:12.16 in 2017 and Adela would have run even quicker if she had not run a fast first lap.
In the Under 15’s Jojia March (Barnet), the current National U13 XC Champion, was keen to beat 2:15.as the CPB was 2:15.74. Leading all the way she did that in a time of 2:13.93 adding the title to the 300m she had won on Saturday.
Kesi Oludoyi (Harrow) lowered his best time of 21.09, when he won the senior 200 from lane 6 in a new PB of 20.88
11 year old Erykah-Monae Quartey (Harrow) ran a 200 U13’ in a time of 27.96 as well as winning the shot and 100m. In the senior women’s 200 Final Akesha Ellis (E&H) showed she is gradually coming back to form, after a ruptured tendon, running 24.8. Her best 24.38.
Senior pole vaulters were getting some practice, after very little competition and, Megan Bailey (Harrow), in her 2nd competition of the season vaulted 3.60 and Jack Harris (Lewes) vaulted 4.60 but pointed out in his last competition indoors his pole snapped!
This year an award will be presented to Thames Valley Harriers who with 41 medals (21 Gold) topped the Medal Table.
With thanks to Alistair Aitken for his report