Venue: Victoria Park
Team WGEL U9s and U11s were out racing this weekend in the Chingford league. A one mile, single lap course was set around the main path of the famous “Vicky Park”. This made a pleasant change from the grass, mud and puddles of recent weeks.
There was a good field of 48 junior athletes competing in the race, the final in the series of the individual competition, with a mix of newcomers and race-hardened athletes looking to add to their final score. The scoring system rewards consistency and performance with a total score for individuals made up from their best five results (from maximum of six races) over the series.
Joe Everitt's squad was dominant at Victoria Park (photo: Marc Owers)
There are medals for first, second and third, and going into this race WGEL boys and girls were amongst the leaders despite missing earlier races (due to fixture clashes) after strong performances in the races in which they competed. The question was, could these strong performances continue and could medals be heading to our WGEL athletes?
Results - U9s & U11s Boys
Boys U11s A team: Oliver Brown (1st) Daniel Arnold (3rd) & Yuvan Kumar (10th)
Boys U11s Squad: Zac Everitt (13th) & Ethan Day (14th)
Boys U9s Squad: Elijah Waterfield (2nd)
Results - U9s & U11s Girls
Girls U11s A team: Natasha Wynn (1st), Autumn Le Chevalier (2nd) & Caitlin Hancock (3rd)
Girls U11s Squad: Faye Owers (4th), Eliza Bridges (5th) & Amber Higgs-Smith (7th)
Girls U9s A-Team: Marissa Higgs-Smith (1st), Sophia Parker (2nd) & Sofia Sneath (3rd)
Girls U9s Squad (U9s): Grace Cherry (4th), Zoe Wright (5th), Eva Hayford (6th) & Armani Clegg (7th)
U9 & U11s Boys -Race Report
The junior race again incorporated all U9s, U11s & U13s (boys and girls). However, this time the younger athletes funnelled into the finish after a single one-mile lap whilst the U13s carried on for two.
The course at Vicky Park was flat but not without challenges. The wind and open park landscape meant the young athletes had to think hard about their pacing. Their task was to maintain a consistent effort throughout. It was important for them not to waste energy pushing into the wind and end up flat-footed without energy to benefit from the extra speed they would get when the wind was at their backs.
The winner of U11s boy’s race managed his pacing superbly. Oliver Brown, first home for WGEL, ran the one-mile loop in 6 min 53secs! He took the win on the day with a fine sprint, finish beating Luke Bennett (Orion) across the line. This was another excellent victory for Oliver who won previously at Hackney Marshes. It is possible Oliver would have taken the overall individual title given his fantastic form, but with only two races under his belt, the individual medals (for this year!) were out of reach.
Daniel Arnold (3rd) was next home in 6 min 57secs. This was Daniel’s fourth race in the Chingford League this season. His fine run capped off an excellent series. He took third on the day and secured third place overall in the individual competition. Daniel held off fierce competition from Henry Gillman (Orion) and Aaron Trotman (Loughton) to ensure a medal would be heading his way. Well done, Daniel!
Yuvan Kumar (10th) was next home. Yuvan showed great composure, finishing strongly in a good group of U11 boys in only his second race in WGEL colours. Yuvan is set to build on his experience gained racing in the Chingford league, joining the WGEL midweek training group to help progress his endurance running.
Zac Everitt (13rd) and Ethan Day (15th) completed the WGEL squad. Zac finished like a rocket, nearly catching the athletes in 12th and 11th, with all three finishing within 3 seconds of each other. Ethan was only 10 seconds behind this group and showed great determination and resilience, having suffered from a tight calf during the week. This completed the WGEL boys team, who finished second overall on the day.
In the U9’s boys race Elijah Waterfield (2nd) built on his experience from his first race last month in the Met league, finishing second in his age group in 9min 12 secs. Elijah is developing his confidence race after race and managing huge smiles along the way!
U9 & U11s Girls - Race Report
WGEL girl’s squad blew the doors off in both the U9s and U11s! First home and winner of the U11s race was Natasha Wynn, who ran 7mins flat for the mile. This was impressive racing. Natasha is in great form and recently posted PBs indoors over 800m. It is great to see Natasha flourishing with her team mates at WGEL and despite not scoring for the team (Natasha raced previously for Orion) her run capped a fine individual performance over the series and secured her as the winner in the individual race overall.
Autumn Le-Chevalier (2nd) was next home for WGEL. Autumn once again showed great poise and strength on her run, finishing ahead of many older age grouped athletes. Autumn has finished first and second in her three Chingford league races but, like Oliver in the boys' competition, with overall scores based on a best of six an individual medal was just out of range.
Teammates Caitlin Hancock (3rd), Faye Owers (4th) and Eliza Bridges (5th) zoomed in behind them. Their strength and speed was there to see again as these three tore up the final 100m to the funnel. These girls have all progressed tremendously together over the winter. They completed a clean sweep of medals with Faye finishing second, Caitlin third and Eliza fourth overall. Well done!
Completing the WGEL squad was Amber Higgs-Smith (7th). This was Amber’s best race of the season. She is starting to see her fitness return and closing the gap on those ahead.
In the U9’s Marissa Higgs-Smith (1st) won on the day, completing the mile in 7min 51secs. With this fine display, Marissa wrapped up the overall U9s title and added this victory to wins at Hogg Hill and Hackney. Teammate Sophia Parker (2nd) was close behind and secured a fantastic second place overall. These two deserve huge praise for their efforts this season. Well done!
Next home was Sofia Sneath (3rd) who continued the fine performances from the U9s girls. Sofia recently joined WGEL training with the squad at Lea Valley on Thursday nights. Sofia, a fantastically graceful runner, took to her first race as part of the team in tremendous fashion, running the mile in 8min 19secs.
Grace Cherry (3rd), another young athlete in her first outing for WGEL, was next home. Grace is a regular at Saturday Wasps training sessions and it was fantastic to see her competing for the team. Zoe Wright (4th) was right behind Grace and, despite her being slightly disappointed by her run, should take a lot of confidence in her determination, and her time of 8min 35sec shows that she is not far behind her teammates.
Completing the WGEL squad were Eva Hayford (6th) and Armani Clegg. For both Eva and Armani it was their first races for team WGEL. A quick start burnt off some of their energy and both slowed to a jog/walk by half way due to a stich. This did not stop them and once they had sight of the finish line their energy levels re-bounded and they hurtled toward the funnel. Once again, the smiles and pride in finishing the race shows the true, positive attitudes of all the athletes at WGEL.
The Chingford league has been a good adventure for the squad this winter. The final event is a team relay on Wansted Flats (Saturday March 7th). Up the WGEL!