The Indoor National athletics championships for junior athletes took place at EIS Sheffield on 23rd and 24th February. Leamington cycling and athletics club athlete Cameron Williams-Stein was first into action in the u17 men’s 60m achieving a new personal best of 7.49. Later in the day Williams-Stein also competed in the pole vault, jumping a significant personal best of 4.10m (a new men’s club record) and narrowly missing out on a medal based on count back finishing in 4th place. Jai Sispal (also Leamington c&ac) made it comfortably through Saturday’s heats to Sunday’s 800m u17m final. New to the age group this year, Sispal ran well in a strong field to finish in 4th position with a time of 1.59.58.
The English National Cross Country event took place at the weekend, with athletes being rather confused about the soaring temperatures and the dry conditions underfoot. Nevertheless, a total of 13 Leamington C&AC athletes ventured to the new venue at Harewood Hall, near Leeds, for the event which saw an uphill start and undulating terrain with a mix of courses to accommodate the different race distances. The under 17 girls kicked the competition off with 3 girls running for the Leamington-based club. A two lap course saw Rosie Cale first home for the club in 168th position with Rositsa Gugutkova in 194th and Lucy Green in 210th place. Megan Marsh ran in the under 13 race finishing in 415th place, Megan then stayed for the duration of the event to cheer on her mum and dad who, making it a family occasion, were racing later in the day. The Gould family were also racing with James competing in his first national event in the under 13 event. Running a hard race, he finished in 272nd position. Sister, Mel, raced in the Under 15 race which saw an extension to the lapped course with a hill which was later described as “not as small as it looks”. A long drawn out hill was, at least, rewarded with a fast downhill finish and Mel ran well to finish 223rd with team-mate Eva Fitzpatrick also having a good run to finish 309th. Laura Gould, competing in the senior ladies event, found the undulating terrain a disadvantage as she fell within the first part of the race, managing to get up and carry on she finished in 827th position. Team-mate Louise Marsh also fell over sustaining injury to her ankle but persevered to finish 897th. Team-mate Carol Blower had a strong run and finished well-ahead of her fellow club runners in 781st place. The last race of the day were the senior men, who, with a distance of 12km, saw an extended climb plus an added hill. A two lap course saw Phil Gould first home for LCAC in 430th, with Steve Roberts 1,435th and Mark Marsh In 1,883rd. Over 2,000 men competed this year.
Jai Sispal stepped up to his first Under 17 track race at the at the City of Birmingham Games & Midland Counties Championships on Sunday 17th February at the Arena Birmingham with a superb run to to take the Under 17 800m title. Running only his second race on a 200m indoor track and with a strong field of 11 runners Sispal ran a controlled first three laps tucking in behind Dylan King from Birchfield and Dylan Bowley from Kettering, both 1:58 runners. Running a consistent pace, 59 sec at 400m and 1:28 at 600m he was in medal contention. With 100m to the finish Sispal showed his strength and sprinting speed by going wide on the last bend to power past King who finished 3rd and Bowley 2nd to take Gold with a new PB in 1:59.28.
Cameron Williams-Stein showed consistency in the pole vault jumping 3.90m then went straight into the triple jump with a best of 12.49m.
Leamington C&AC siblings Mel and James Gould headed to Stourport on Saturday for the qualifying race for the West Midlands selection for the Virgin Mini Marathon in April. Mel, who qualified last year, experienced a tough race running in a new category where she found herself battling it out with two other girls for a place. She narrrowly missed out on a reserve place being beaten to the line. Brother James, at age 11, experienced his debut. Happier with longer distances, James held his own despite a remarkable age and, in some cases, size difference with his fellow competitors. He ran a respectable 19:14 over the 3 mile course to finish 7th making him a non-travelling reserve for the main event which occurs during the main London Marathon on 28 April.
The last West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League race of the season took place at Aldersley Stadium on Sunday 10th February. Leamington C & AC can be proud of the Under 17 Team of three girls who have completed all 5 league races. Running with their usual determination over the 4000m course Rosie Cale was first in for 19th in 16:48, followed by Rositsa Gugutkova 32nd in 17:38 and Georgia Hurt 36th in 18:00 for a team position of 7th.
The Under 11 Boys ran the 1600m course. A brilliant run from Archie Lane, 10th in 5:31 was well supported by James Gould 23rd in 5:43, Louis Proctor 25th in 5:44 and Ishan Carson 53rd in 6:02. Although a very young team and missing a 5th runner the team still achieved an encouraging 8th place.In the Under 11 Girls a strong run from Caitlin French led them in with 22nd in 6:12 followed by Issy Goold 42nd in 6:33 and Chloe Lovett 98th in 7:23.
Jai Sispal went out to challenge Josh Robbins the dominant Birchfield runner in the Under 15 Boys race over the 3200m course. Feeling the pace towards the end of the second lap Sispal was caught by the chasing group and finished 5th in 10:34. However, a 4th place in the overall standings earned him the 4th individual league medal. Ruairc Winston continues to improve his speed and produced his best run of the series for 49th in 12:28.
The Under 13 Girls and Boys who were running 2500m were down in numbers. In the girls race Marielle Proctor was 82nd in 12:54 and Megan marsh was 99th in 12:487 and in the boys race Diarmuid Winston was 72nd in 10:32.The last race of the day was the Under 15 Girls. Another reliable and consistent performance produced a creditable 6th place in the League table. Molly Minshull ran her best race of the season to finish in 18th place in 12:26. Ana Lovett also produced her best, 24th in 12:40, Emily Lovett was 32nd in 12:55, Mel Gould 44th in 13:15 and a good run from Eva Fitzpatrick coming back from injury was 55th in 14:03 to complete the team.