THERE were some heroic performances by many of the Nene Valley Harriers athletes who made the long trip down to Colchester on Sunday for the third meeting of the Southern Athletics League.
Unquestionably the most unselfish act of the day award went to Alice Dolan, who stepped up to the plate to take on the 100m hurdles (second in 20.3), the 400m hurdles (78.2) and the daunting task of the 1500m steeplechase (6:32.1) due to injuries befalling other athletes, meaning she missed competing in her own event, the 800m! Dolan, who has only recently turned 17, has a useful personal best time of 2:29.76, so it will be good if she gets the chance to attack that time at the next meeting at Norwich next month.
She was joined by Ruth Jones in the steeplechase, who was tackling the event for the first time after just half an hour’s training on the barriers two days before the race! Jones crossed the line third in the A string competition in a time of 6:07.8, two hours after a below-par performance in the 3k, where she ran 11:16.1 behind club mates Cat Foley in 10:38.3 and Emma Penniston in a huge PB of 11:13.8. Penniston went onto post another massive best time in the 1500m of 5:11.4, proving her training under coach Dave Clay is coming to fruition.
Another athlete to perform well in a number of events was U20 Rosie Jacobs, placing second in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles in 18.4 and 72.9, before also tackling the 400m flat in 66.5, the high jump with a leap of 1.45m and forming part of the 400m relay team at the end of the day!
Sean Reidy put in a typically gutsy effort when he won the 400m hurdles in 56.2 before placing second in the flat 400m in 51.4, jumping 1.50m in the high jump, and finishing second in the B string 110m hurdles in 16.4 behind Max Everest, who was second in the A competition with 15.4. Reidy’s win in the 400m hurdles also won him the Man of the Match award for that event.
Multi-eventers Adam Fidgett and David Bush put their all into their many events, with Fidgett tackling the 2000m steeplechase in 9:00.2, the pole vault with a jump of 3m, the long jump with 5.22m, the shot put with a throw of 10.48m and the discus with a fine 28.89m.
Staying with the throws, there were athletes from opposite ends of the age spectrum competing in the hammer, with young 17-year-old Isaac Huskisson placing an excellent second in the A event with a new PB of 44.19m, while 62-year-old club coach Tim Needham also placing second in the B competition with a solid 23.82m throw. Andrea Jenkins excelled again, winning the hammer and discus with 51.52m and 40.95 respective throws, before finishing second in the shot put with 10.17m.
The final standout performance of the day was completed by James Mac Donald, who heroically ran the 1500m (5:01.9) less than an hour after running the 5000m in intense heat, placing third in 17:44.8.
The Harriers’ next SAL match takes place at Norwich on July 12, and after only managing a third place overall at Colchester the club will need a full turn out from its many athletes to secure a decent table position going into the final fixture in August.