Track and Field Review 2010

Team Success Brightens a Disappointing Year”

The highlight of the Track and Field season was undoubtedly that of the Senior Women’s Team maintaining their place in Division 1 of the UK Women’s League. It has not been such a successful year on an individual basis with only one athlete gaining a GB International and fewer athletes gaining National Championship medals or ranking in the UK Top Ten than in previous years.

Note: This review cannot detail every achievement, but attempts to provide a broad review of the club’s activities on the Track & Field. It covers only Track and Field and first claim members only.

The International Arena

Mark Draper competed successfully in various Grand Prix meeting across Europe and this elevated level of competition enabled him to post personal best and club records in both 1500M and 5000M.

Lucy James added another International vest to her collection when she represented the GB U20 team in both the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m at the Loughborough International in May.

The Masters were a more fruitful area. At the European Masters Championships in Hungary four athletes gained six medals between them. Andrew Moraghan won bronze in the M35 1500m, silver in the 800m and topped it with gold in the 4 x 400m Relay. Tennyson James took silver in the M50 100m Hurdles, Oriana Johnson claimed a bronze in the W45 400m Hurdles and Lance Croft a gold in the M40 4 x 400m Relay. Oriana later went to the South American Masters Championships, where she took gold in the 400m Hurdles and silver in the 4 x 400 relay.

Ian Roberts was team coach to England Teams Indoors and English Schools Team outdoors.

The National Stage

Eleven athletes were ranked in the National Top Ten (Power of Ten Ranking) in their age group, seven of them were in the top five.

It was a Bedford one-two at the England Athletics Closed Championships, with Mark Draper taking the gold and Neilson Hall the silver in the 5000m.

Chris Alderman was AAA U15 Indoor High Jump Champion; whilst Hannah Frith took silver and Bronze in AAA U20 and English Schools Championships respectively. Danni Belbin won bronze in the English Schools 300 Hurdles and Olivia DaCosta did likewise in the AAA U17 Javelin.

Many more athletes gained medals at the South of England Championships.

12 Club Records Set (of which 9 survived) and 22 (17 surviving) more in the Masters

Whilst the number of records set this year is down on previous years, one must not forget that each time the standard is raised it makes it harder to beat the next year. The standard of our records is really very, very high indeed - most of our all-time records would rank in this year’s top ten performances, so it takes something special to break them.

Team Successes and Disappointments

The Senior Women again fulfilled their promise by more than holding their own in Division 1 of the UK Women’s League. With the valuable addition of a quartet of higher claim athletes and an outstanding team spirit they finished fourth and on these criteria could be judged the 12th best women’s team in the UK (there being a Premier Division above Division 1).

The Men again had a disappointing season. The loss of a couple of our best athletes and an inability to get the strongest team out meant they could finish only 5th in Division 4 of the British Athletics League. In the BAL Qualifying Match athletes rallied to the cause, but third place was not enough to redeem their season. After ten years in the BAL, rising at one time to Division 1, this was the end of an era. Hopefully their drop into the Southern League will only be a temporary one.

In the Seniors-only Southern Women’s League Division 1, the team finished 6th; whilst the men earned promotion to SML Division 2 North, having been pipped on the post last year.

The young athletes finished 6th in the Eastern Young Athletes League, but improved to 3rd in the EYAL Top Six Final – a reversal of what happened last year.  They failed to hold their own in the Southern Premier East Division of the National Young Athletes League and were relegated.

The composite Team Bedfordshire finished, as last year, in fifth place out of seven teams in the Thames Division of the National Junior League.

In the Masters competitions, the Men triumphed in the Final of the Eastern Vets League (consisting of the top 8 teams from across the whole region) having placed second in the West Division of the EVAL League. The Women who were third in the West Division did well to place fourth in the final at Milton Keynes.

With apologies for any errors and omissions,  

Dennis Johnson 30.11.10