For the first time on the afternoon before the "Night of the 10000m PBs” many clubs across England were invited to take part in this event. With numerous clubs withdrawing as unable to field teams, we were fortunate to have reserves on hand to replace a couple of late (but understandable) withdrawals. The latter part of the meeting was shown on the BBC Red Button, and mentioned this youngsters' relay.
A nerve-wracking experience for Gregor Sampson (all photos: Paul Hancock)
For Woodford our first leg runner was Year 6 Gregor Samson who is enjoying a fine season on the track. He got WG&EL off to a good start, recording 3 mins 24 for his leg to bring us home in second spot. Next away was Essex Year 6 XC champion Molly Sherrin, who recently ran 5 mins 22 secs for 1500 metres. Molly held 2nd in 3 mins 28 seconds. Next away was Harry Wood, who is coached by Steve Cody in Harlow and who is a year 6 lad. This was Harry’s debut for us and he ran superbly to record 3 mins 38 secs. We still held 2nd spot at this point. The 4th leg for us was taken of by Year 7 girl Abigail Reid. Four days earlier Abigail had broken the Year 7 Essex Schools 1500m record, winning in 4 mins 55 secs. Abigail ran another great race and almost caught the leading club, Highgate, with a 3 mins 08 stint which was the fastest leg of the day, boys and girls. Year 5 boy Oliver Brown ran the 5th leg and held onto 2nd spot really well, running 3 mins 39 secs.
The sixth leg was taken care of by Year 5 girl Caitlin Hancock, coached by Joe Everitt. Caitlin ran with superb desire with a great clocking of 3 mins 43 secs for her leg to maintain our 2nd spot. Ethan Day, yet another Year 5 with a late call up, showed much grit and determination to hold 2nd but Highgate had built up a good lead at this stage. Ethan ran 4 mins 02 secs. So with three legs remaining Highgate were well clear of us with Victoria Park 3rd. Rosemary Kelly, who had won the West Essex Schools Year 7 1500m the day before, hardly treated leg 8 as a recovery run with a return of 3 mins 38 secs. Leg 9 was covered by another Year 5 in Leo Everitt, who has been improving all the time in recent months and who held onto 2nd place with a time of 3 mins 58 secs. But VPH were closing up on us. The last leg saw another reserve brought in at late notice but Lexie Bonney took it all in her stride. Lexie has been coached by Steve Cody since December which had resulted in her 2k parkruns improving by 2 minutes. Lexie set off with a VPH runner not far behind who just happened to be the girl who won the final Met League U11 race. Lexie gave everything but we were eventually overhauled - but it was close and Lexie was happy with her 3 mins 51 secs clocking.
So the team finished third and the athletes were thrilled to receive national medals. It was a great experience for them all and it was such a young team to be fair. My thanks to the parents for transporting the athletes to Parliament Hill, to coach Joe Everitt for helping out and warming up the athletes and to Terry McCarthy and Alex Wardle being there in support and helping out too.
It was a great memory savoured by all present on the day.
A nerve-wracking experience is over and the team can smile
Medals for Caitlin Hancock and Oliver Brown
An exciting event is over!