Southern Athletics League 2018

by Marie Duignan
London City AC’s debut season at the Southern Athletic League track and field matches has been a display of both experienced and emerging talent, hard work, lots of fun and a great squad of support. From the first fixture back in April with a handful of members competing in as many events as they possibly could, to the last match at Tooting Bec where we had sprinters sprinting, jumpers jumping, throwers throwing and distance runners racing middle distance (and not doing a bad job!), the blue and yellow of London City AC made a colourful impact on the league and we could not be more proud! Well done to every single member who took part, both those who provided the team with valuable experience (including teaching us how to hand over a relay baton!) and those who turned up and had a go, whether they had done the event before or not. We had it all! 

From my personal perspective as a long time marathoner and ultra-marathoner, the idea of track racing horrified me at first. But after attending a couple of fixtures to spectate and cheer, FOMO took hold fast and the excitement of racing on a track intrigued me, so I was quickly convinced to give it a try. By the last fixture I’d bought myself a pair of track spikes and loved every second of racing! Granted, I stuck to the relative safe zone of track running, whereas I think huge kudos has to go to the members who threw their hat in at the throws and jumps, some of whom had not competed at these events before, ever! And of course I think the biggest cheers go to our now seasoned steeple-chasers who took on the challenge of possibly the hardest event of the match and did it with style and finesse. 
 
It’s been a season of firsts, of PBs and of great team-work. I HIGHLY recommend anyone and everyone to give it a try next season. All we need to add to Melrose’s list of ‘Heroes’ is a few officials for each match. Providing officials is part of the club’s obligations as a league member, so any budding authority figures (who want to help refresh the look and feel of the official side of proceedings!) keep a look out for upcoming official courses that will be advertised soon!
 
Marie Duignan

London City AC at I Move London Relay

by londoncityac

On Monday 23rd July, London City Athletics Club completed it’s take-over of the I Move London Relay with runners filling the baton relay schedule from midnight to midnight. Our members have been taking part in, and volunteering for, the event throughout the month with a full 24 hour takeover yesterday.

The event is a Guinness World Record attempt running from 29th June until 29th July, with an estimated 2,500 runners, carrying a baton over 4,000 miles, in 10k and 5k loops around the River Thames. The event is in aid of three charities – The Running Charity, Sported and Laureus.

Our 10k runners during our takeover day were:

00:00 Alan Venning
01:05 Laura Chesham & Jo Tillman
02:15 Andrew Firth
04:20 Caoimhe Nic Fhogartaigh
05:20 Catherine McGarr
06:25 Mat Barber & James Screen
08:40 Edwin Mooiman
09:55 James Moyse
12:10 Ellie Awford
13:15 Tim Sherman & Andrew Cowan
14:30 Tash Sheel
16:45 Ollie Short
17:50 Sandra Marie
19:05 Nick Sutcliffe, Dee Strang, Susan Round & Jonathan Round
20:10 Juliet Heap
21:20 Heather Haggis
22:25 Jamie Barber
23:25 Andy Melrose & Tash Sheel

Other London City AC runners who have taken part in the relay during the month include:
Alice Aniello, Sergio Benis, Maria Butylina, Lynda Cameron, Maite Ferrin, Kristy Foster, Andrew Gambier, Edwin Mooiman, Kevin Narayanassamy, Tara Ongayo, Sarah Pritchard, Chris Raveney, Ian Saunders, Andrew Shreeve, Rachel Wilson.

Southern Athletics League: Fixture 4 at Erith

by londoncityac

England were due to play Belgium in the 3rd place play off in the World Cup at 3 o’clock. Nobody seemed to care though as blue and yellow LCAC vests filled South Eastern Rail carriages at London Bridge and Deptford to make the trip down to Erith for Round 4 of SAL.

The previous evening Andy Melrose had gone into “friendly bullying” mode. Convinced that participation points were the key to LCAC success and a steady climb up the overall rankings he had commenced a technique of “pre-meditated registration”. This is a technique whereby participants are entered into events before they are actually asked whether they are willing to participate in them. Nevertheless, the Melrose call was headed and “Heather’s Hill” was established early on the Saturday.

Even though nobody was competing in the women’s hammer, the LCAC presence was felt early on as Maria Butylina and Dee Strang (who seems to be making a habit of being the first to arrive and last to leave SAL events) made their way over to the women’s long jump. Maria jumped 2.32m in the A category to finish 3rd and Dee jumped 2.13m to finish 3rd in the B category. The points were quickly added to by Richard Jones who also made the early train to throw 16.79m in the men’s hammer to finish 3rd in the A category.

As more blue and yellow arrived, armed with coffee cups (and in Adam Millbery’s case, a shake consisting of 2.34 eggs, 1.476g of protein powder and 487.3% of his daily allowance of vitamin B12) the women’s shot put was underway. Alice Aniello threw 6.5m to finish 3rd in the A category and Dee Strang threw 5.17m to finish 2ndin the B category.

Heather Haggis in previous days had bravely volunteered herself for the women’s 400m hurdles and a host of other sprint events. She was modest as the hurdles were being set up and claimed it was simply “for the points”. She did not disappoint and finished 2nd in the A category in a rapid time of 89.46 seconds. Nick Androulidakis ran an impressive 73.4 seconds, gliding over the hurdles to finish 2nd in the A category of the men’s race.

Up next was the 800 meters. Jane Mclver finished 1st in the A category and Alice Aniello finished 1st in the B category to take a clean sweep of the points in times of 2.44 and 2.51 respectively in the women’s race. Matt Speed’s “#project800” came along nicely with a time of 2.05 albeit conscious of Tommy Rushton over his shoulder who yet again was attempting to compete in the biggest range of events SAL has ever seen. If there was a blindfolded egg and spoon race on one leg, Tommy would be competitive in it. Tommy ran a sharp 2.17 to finish 3rd in the B category.

Somebody has recently been quoted as saying “Every race Stew runs is entertaining”. Stewart Muir’s modesty and polite nature should not overlook his confidence to run hard and fast in whatever event he is in. It was not surprising then that anticipation was high for the 100m which Stewart had boldly entered himself into. Matt Speed was a victim of pre-mediated registration, running 13.36 to finish 3rd in the A category while Stew ran 13.43 to finish 2nd in the B category.

Edwin Mooiman turned up looking like he was ready for the beach; in short shorts, a tan and flip flops. He was however fresh from a series of Parkrun PBs that just seem to keep coming. Confidence must have been high. His first event was the men’s shot put and he managed to throw 4.15 to finish 3rd in the B category. Andy Melrose who was now his own victim of pre-mediated registration ran over to take part and throw 5.53 meters to finish 3rd in the A category.

Stewart Muir followed up his sprint performance with a 4.60m jump in the men’s long jump to finish 4th in the A category. Tommy Rushton added to his repertoire of events with a 4.49m jump to finish 3rd in the B category.

Chloe Hocking hammered home in 64.23 seconds to finish 3rd in the A category of the women’s 400m while Nick Androulidakis and Andrew Firth both finished 3rd in their categories in times of 62.24 and 68.03 respectively of the men’s race.

Marie Duignan tends to avoid races that don’t involve triple digit mileage and whole lot of pain. She was asked if she wanted to do the women’s 5000m and her first response was “where are the aid stations?” The gun went for the start on the far side of the track and by the first bend Marie was already increasing a 40 metre lead. This continued as talk began over whether she would manage to lap 2nd place. Her inexperience at track racing was revealed however when she was handed a cup of water and proceeded to throw it cleanly yet extremely confidently over her right shoulder. She then proceeded to run as if she had meant to do it. Marie went round in 20.10, about 200 meters ahead of second place. Maria Butylina who was trying to rival Tommy Rushton for number of events competed in ran around in a strong time of 23.47 to win the B category.

The men’s javelin was next and Richard Jones threw 17.56 meters to finish 3rd in the A category. LCAC were without a second thrower and Andy Melrose, whose clip board now resembled a 4 year old’s drawing of 10 spiders unravelling a ball of cotton, ran over to scoop up the points. With clip board still in hand he took hold of the javelin and threw 11.98 meters. In his dulcet Scottish twang he then asked the marshal “Is that a legal throw?” to which the marshal responded “It’s close but I’ll let you have it”. Andy replied “in that case – that’ll be my last throw” before trotting back to his command centre.

Adam Millbery has had three weeks gardening leave and he has used it to develop his Strava stalking app and to live and train as a professional athlete. That’s what he says. His washing is piling up, his beard is overgrown and he hadn’t showered in days. His 3000m was still impressive though and he worked hard at the front of the pack for the majority of the race, finishing in 1st place in the B category in a time of 9.39. Koen Stockbroekx has the intimidating technique of making his watch bleep quicker every 200 meters to increase his pace as a race develops. No wonder he finished 1st in the A category in a time of 9.37. Andrew Shreeve’s Wednesday run buses and pint of milk recoveries earned him a time of 10.40 while Fergal Dunne finished in 12.51. Edwin Mooiman followed up his recent road running success with a time of 12.40.

Jane Mclver finished 1st in the A category of the women’s triple jump with a distance of 8.44.

Dee Strang finished 3rd in the A category of the women’s discuss with a throw of 15.45m while Alice Aniello threw 12.36m to finish 3rd in the B category.

In the women’s 200m Chloe Hocking finished 2nd in the A category in a time of 28.11 while Heather Haggis yet again boosted her sprinting credentials by flying round in 33.95 to finish 2nd in the B category.

Our star of the sprint team, Alpha Bangura was back for the men’s 200m. He beat his previous time of 24.9, this time running 24.44 to finish 2nd in the A category. Thrown in at the deep end again by Andy Melrose, Matt Speed managed to claw back a 26.83 second finish after a slow start to finish 3rd in the B category.

Marie Duignan and Maria Butylina were looking build upon impressive 5000m runs just an hour earlier in the 1500m. By now it was hot and conditions on the track were ruthless. Nevertheless this didn’t stop either as Marie managed to finish 1st in the A category with a time of 5.28 while Maria also finished 1st in the B category in 6.33.

The men’s 1500m was as exciting as it gets as far as inter club competition goes. The pack was closely knit for the majority of the race but as the 2nd lap drew to a close, George Ashdown began to pull ahead. Tommy Rushton and Stewart Muir managed to maintain the gap however and as the race entered the last lap, a game of cat and mouse ensued amongst the LCAC runners. Tommy was on George’s shoulder and Stewart, who is always keen to make a dramatic finish, came flying down the final 100m. Tommy just pipped George at the line. They finished in 4.39 and 4.40 respectively. Stew also finished with a time of 4.40. Less than a second separating all three runners.

Jane Mclver carried on chipping away at her field success with a 1.30m jump to finish 3rd in the A category of the women’s high jump and Nick Androulidakis finished 3rd in the A category of the men’s triple jump with a distance of 9.93m.

Simon Brown’s performance in the men’s 3000m steeple chase was in a word; inspirational. Lots of LCAC folk have spoken about doing the event in recent months but every single one has shied away from actually committing to it. Simon went out confidently and as far as a mere spectator could see… it hurt. Simon went round in a time of 12.22 to finish 2nd in the A category. His performance was met with such enthusiasm that there was even talk of an LCAC takeover at the next SAL steeplechase. Let’s see where we’re at on August 18th! Simon, on the other hand, has been jumping over everything he can find on his long runs since!

In the men’s discuss Tim Campion threw a monstrous 34m to finish 2nd in the A category, beaten to first place by only 3.2m. Richard Jones threw 13.81m to finish 3rdin the B category. In the 4 x 100m relay the women came third with a time of 67.02 while the men came 4th with a time of 59.98. Inspired by Simon’s earlier performance in the steeplechase, in the 2000m women’s steeplechase, Alice Aniello finished first in the A category in a time of 6.48 and Dee Strang finished 1st in the B category in a time of 8.10. The final event of the day was the 4 x 400m relay and the women came 3rd with a time of 5.22 while the men came 2nd with a time of 4.07.

So did Melrose’s pre-meditated registration work? LCAC finished 3rd with 126 points. This was behind Bexley who finished with 239 and St Mary’s Richmond who got 202. Medway Park Phoenix who only had 4 competitors on the day finished with 24 points. The building blocks are there and some incredible individual performances have highlighted the potential for LCAC track and field success in the future.

Hopefully they won’t dock any points for Andy Melrose’s handwriting.

I’m glad I didn’t watch the football.

Matt Speed

Southern Athletics League: Fixture 3 at Tooting

by londoncityac

It was hot. Even at 11am as the first of the women’s hammer throwers were limbering over to the throwing area. LCAC weren’t represented but as the sun beat down over those first competitors, Rachel Collins and Dee Strang were already warmed up, stretched, poised and ready to go in the women’s long jump. A monster 4.65m jump from Rachel providing a 1st place finish in the A category and an impressive 2.05m jump from Dee providing a 2nd place finish in the B category put the first LCAC points on the board.

They didn’t have time to rest or even collect their bags as they rushed over to the women’s shot put. Not that this seemed to matter to Rachel who proceeded to win that as well with a 9.07m throw. Dee put in another strong performance to throw 4.77 meters to finish 3rd in the B category.

Meanwhile in the men’s hammer, Richard Jones was able to throw 17.68m to finish 3rd, falling just short of Courtney Green of Kent Athletic Club who threw 19.62m.

Much to the amusement of Tuesday evening Southwark Park track users, Bryan Maillardet has recently been seen finishing his sessions by repeatedly throwing himself over the high jump bar. It was no surprise then to see him arrive in a pair of oversized reflective aviator sunglasses ready to take flight in the men’s high jump. George Hudson who in the preceding week had decided to sign up to everything SAL had to offer was by his side. Despite being flabbergasted by competitors in the high jump wearing spikes, Bryan was able to clear 1.45 meters to finish 3rd in the B category. George who undoubtable had one eye on start line for the upcoming 800m managed to beat the next height of 1.5m to finish 3rd in the A category.

The 400m hurdles gave him enough respite to warm up the legs and get himself over to the start line for the first of the LCAC represented running events. Matt Speed ran a hard fought two laps (even if I do say so myself ;)) to finish in 2nd place in the A category with a time of 2.08. George was close behind with a time of 2.19 to come 2nd in the B category.

In the women’s 100m, Rachel Collins was extremely close to maintaining her 100% winning streak. Her rapid 13.7 seconds was beaten by a hair and a freckle by Kimberley Garcia, a talented U17 sprinter from Paddock Wood and Folkestone Running Club.

Onto the men’s long jump. George Hudson who was seemingly unaffected by his earlier exploits in the high jump and on the track was now launching himself into the sandpit. He managed to jump 4.85m to finish 3rd in the B category while Tommy Rushton finished his first event of the day with a 4.32m jump to come 4th in the A category.

With the event now well behind schedule and the sun scorching the track for arguably the most difficult event of the day; Heather Haggis was able to fly round the women’s 400m to finish 3rd with a time of 76.1 seconds.

Up next was Sandra Marie in the women’s 3000m. Not put off by an apparently “chatty Southwark parkrun”, Sandra went off like a rocket and managed to hold on for 3rd place in the A category with a time of 12:13.

Chris Raveney’s winning throw in the men’s javelin was Herculean. A 34.47m best by James Nichols of Cambridge Harriers made him look to be cruising. Chris was completely unperturbed by this and produced a 40.26m throw to win the event by a country mile.

With Koen Stockbroekx not available for the men’s 5000m, Calvin Mullings seized the opportunity to turn some recent impressive 5km times into track success. It worked and he finished comfortably in 2nd place in the A category with a time of 16.21. Tommy Rushton finished 3rd in the B category with a time of 18.05. Non scoring competitors Matt Speed and Fergal Dunne finished with times of 16.52 and 22.51 respectively. Despite also running at Parkrun earlier that morning Andrew Shreeve seemed anxious about a diminished weekly mileage after an afternoon of watching athletics in the sun. He decided to run the 5000m and cruise round with a time of 18.29.

Back to the sprint events. Rachel Collins continued her dominant form and came 2nd in the A category of the women’s 200m with a time of 27.8 seconds.

The men’s 200m was keenly anticipated as 15 year old Alpha Bangura was due to make his debut. Unaffected by the step up from some recent incredible performances at junior level, his warm up starts were met with impressed murmurs from those watching and unease by those lingering by the start marshal. He was quick. Really quick. Alpha finished 3rd in the A category with a time of 24.9 seconds, an impressive first race from a talented young sprinter with a promising future. It was encouraging to see the investment in LCAC’s young athletes paying dividends in senior competition.

Jo Tillman ran a well-judged and well-paced 1500m, negatively splitting to finish with a time of 6.08 and a 3rd place finish.

With Cian Cunningham unable to compete due to illness, Adam Millbery, who had already agreed to leave his Strava control centre for the day, was promoted into the A category. Bryan Maillardet meanwhile removed the aviators and agreed to fill in the now vacant B spot. Joe Jenkinson was running his first competitive race since coming back from a frustrating injury while James Screen completed a strong LCAC field.  Adam spent the majority of the race with Bryan breathing over his shoulder. Bryan resisted his usual tactic and urge to shout threateningly at those ahead of him and Adam held him off to finish 3rd in the A category with a time of 4.33. Bryan was 2nd in the B category in 4.37. Joe’s return to racing undoubtedly provided him with a confidence boost as he hammered home in 4.49. James Screen completed an impressive set of LCAC 1500 times by finishing with a tidy 4.53.

Tim Campion represented LCAC in the final field event of the day, the men’s discuss, where he finished 3rd in the A category with a throw of 34.36m.

The LCAC camp moved over to the finish line for the women’s 4 x 400m relay making the support disproportionate to the apparent small number of competitors and spectators. Rachel Collins kicked things off and flew out of the blocks. Who would have thought that she had won the second event of the day six hours earlier?! Jo Tillman was handed the baton and proceeded to run an impressive 1.21 lap. All the more impressive considering that she had only finished the 1500m an hour and a half earlier. Lynda Cameron was due to do an aquathlon the next day but this did not put her off turning up specifically to hammer out a competitive 1.18 third leg. Heather Haggis was handed the baton and ran a 1.17 lap to bring home third place for the ladies and a time of 5.02.

The men’s 400m relay was the running equivalent of the farmer, chicken, fox and bag of grain challenge. Bryan Maillardet did not feel confident having the baton handed to him so he had to run first. Matt Speed could not be handed the baton by Bryan because he would laugh meaning he couldn’t run second. Fortunately Tommy Rushton and James Screen were dynamic enough to fill in the gaps. Bryan’s first lap took a minute. Tommy and James ran 1.04 apiece and Matt Speed finished with a one minute lap. The boys finished 2nd with a time of 4.09.

LCAC finished with 77 points, not far behind Paddock Wood and Folkestone Running Club’s 79. Cambridge Harries ended up with 183 while Kent Athletics Club finished with 227. Nevertheless, some outstanding individual performances, promising signs of LCAC’s age group athletics feeding into the senior squad and by far the best support made for a top day at SAL for LCAC.

Matt Speed

 

Crystal Palace Dino Dash Relays

by Alan Venning

Crystal Palace Fun Runners for hosted their awesome Dino Dash Relays again this week. We fielded 5 teams: Tyrunosaurus Rex, Di-not-see-us-coming-saurs, Londonladysaurus, Triassic 3 and London City Raptors. Each team was made up of three runners who ran an undulating 3k each. Full results and gallery can be found here.

No runners were eaten by Dinosaurs during this year’s event. Pity.

London City AC takeover at I Move London Relay

by londoncityac

London City AC will take part in a Guinness World Record attempt at the I Move London Relay. From 29th June until 29th July, 2,500 runners will complete 4,000 miles carrying 1 Baton in loops of 10k and 5k around the river Thames starting and ending in Potters Field.

Runners will be raising money in aid of three charities – The Running Charity, Sported and Laureus.

We will be taking over on Monday 23rd July with Road Running & Cross Country Secretary Alan Venning starting his 10k at midnight, and ending with Chairperson Andy Melrose running his 10k at 23:25.

Get involved, sign up here and join us on the 23rd July!

 

London Marathon 2018

by Alan Venning

Congratulations to all our runners at this year’s London Marathon!

    Enrico Benedetti 3:32:53
Maria Borg 4:32:43
Shannon Dempsey 4:56:47
Marie Duignan 3:47:29
Ciaran Faherty 2:32:58
Andrew Firth 5:07:06
Tara Gale 3:48:25
Natalie Greenstreet 5:04:08
Andy Grey 3:16:45
Coren Hanley 3:46:22
Helena Hayes 3:16:54
Yasmeen Hussain 3:44:19
Victor Hugo Limachi 3:27:53
Carolina Lanza 3:35:40
Bryan Maillardet 2:48:57
Calvin Mullings 2:50:48
Elizabeth Ottewell 4:50:14
Christina Pennock 3:22:13
Laura Piscitelli 4:08:28
Milena Radoycheva 3:51:51
Ollie Short 3:26:01
Angharad Smith 3:19:18
Mathew Speed 2:54:22
Gen Suzuki 4:15:59
Robert Thomas 3:50:43
Alan Venning 3:46:12
Leah Ward-Bower 3:18:34
Tabitha Warley 4:43:18
Stefan Watson 4:26:02
Penny Williams 3:19:06

Met League Cross Country Distances Ballot

by Alan Venning

In light of the recent and on-going debate on whether or not Cross Country race distances should be the same distance for both genders, London City AC conducted a member survey to establish their views. Our club competes in the Metropolitan Cross Country League in which the distances are 8K for Senior Men and 6K for Senior Women. Members were given a week to respond to an online survey and 50 members responded. Debate on the subject was encouraged and facilitated on our private social media channels.

The Results:

Q1: Do you believe that the Metropolitan Cross Country League race distances for Senior Male and Female competitors should be ‘equalised’ in light of the debate of gender equality in sport?

Yes: 90%

No: 10%

This is a huge vote in favour of equalising the distances. It should be noted that the 10% who voted ‘No’ were all female runners.

Q2: If ‘Yes’ what distances should they run? Rank in order of preference (1 = 1st choice). 

Members were given four choices taken from our online debates on the subject and asked to rank them. These options were:

  • 6K for both races.
  • 7K for both races.
  • 8K for both races.
  • 8K and 6K ‘alternating’ gender per race (so in first race of the season Senior Men would run 8K and Senior Women 6K, then in the second Women would run the 8K and the Men would run 6K).

These options assume that the Senior Male and Senior Female races will remain separate in order to manage the increasing numbers participating in the league.

 

Our first clear conclusion is that 6K is by far the least popular option with an average score of 1.81. It was picked as the least favoured option most, and the most favoured option least.

Members mostly picked a first choice of either ‘8K’ or ‘Alternating’, and then 7K as second choice. This happened so often that 7K won the vote with a score of 3.00. 7K was rarely anyone’s favourite option, and was never picked as the least favourite. 7K is seen as the least controversial option and probably the best option for the Met League if distances are equalised.

8K was the favourite option more times than any other, but it’s score came down as it was picked 3rd and 4th choice often enough (Average score was 2.88).

The ‘Alternating’ option was divisive. Members really loved the idea picking it as their first choice, but almost as many picked it as their last choice (Average score was 2.58). Based on these results ‘Alternating’ would be too controversial an idea to put forward to the Met League.

The conclusion is that our members believe distances should be equalised, but have varying opinions on what that should look like in the Met League.

Moving forward we will share these results with the League organisers and the teams in the league to see what their thoughts are. If 10 clubs express support for the least controversial and divisive option of 7K for both senior races, then we will be happy to propose a rule change to the League for a vote at this year’s AGM in April. Also, if clubs back 8K for both, our club will support this as it was picked 1st choice most often. A majority of the 24 clubs in the League would need to vote in favour of any change.

Congratulations, Coach McLachlan!

by londoncityac
Congratulations to Vikki McLachlan, our Junior Club Secretary, who recently qualified as an Athletics Coach through England Athletics.

Vikki McLachlan

Vikki has followed in the footsteps of Andy Melrose, who qualified in July. So we now have two fully qualified coaches on our club committee! Vikki has been working with the Juniors since she joined the committee this year. Her tireless efforts have resulted in a significant increase in junior membership and participation at the track training sessions and competitions. You will also find her at the sprints session on the track nights, where she has been both assistant coaching and training, week in week out.

Vikki passed her final formal assessment on Sunday 1st October, 2017. We are so proud to welcome her as the newest member of London City AC’s coaching team. Well done, Coach McLachlan!