SAL match 2 – Wimbledon May 19th 2019

After last month’s long trip to historic Hastings, LCAC went into battle a bit closer to home for SAL Match 2, in leafy Wimbledon.

A short distance away, Venus Williams, John McEnroe and Lleyton Hewitt were serving up an exhibition match to celebrate Court Number 1’s new retractable roof. (And rest assured this intrepid reporter won’t ‘let’ the opportunity to shoe-horn in some tennis references slip by). However, the main event was at Wimbledon Park Athletics Track, as the LCAC team ran, jumped and threw their way to another very successful meet. One team member (*cough* Mike Harwood) even managed all three simultaneously…but more of that later.

Women’s hammer team of Rachael Collins and Dee Strang

First, hammer time. In the women’s competition, after some close line calls and deliberations worthy of Hawk-Eye, Dee Strang’s strong hammer debut of 11.48m saw her claim 3rd place in the B group, while Rachael Collins’ outstanding throw of 18.63m (breaking her own LCAC club record) took 3rd place in the A group. Ally Stanleywho had decided to limit himself to just the 10 events in Wimbledon due to an injury got his programme underway in the men’s event with a powerful throw of 26.18m for 3rd place in the A.

Next up, women’s shot put, and Court 1’s new roof might have come in handy as the heavens opened just as competition got underway. However, athletes are made of stronger stuff than tennis players (or perhaps just have a lower tolerance for Cliff Richard’s singing) and rain didn’t stop play. Rachael Collins threw an excellent 8.13m with her first throw before deciding to retire from the competition. Reports that Rachael took coaching tips from Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ (“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance”) are, as yet, unconfirmed. Either way, her one shot was good enough for 2nd place in the A and Lisa Geary’s solid throw of 5.96m took 3rd in the B.

In the men’s high jump, Ally Stanley was reaping the rewards of his comparatively leisurely schedule and soared over 1.73m to take 2nd place in the A. He then sped off for the 400m hurdles, winning the A race comfortably in a very quick 57.7 – more than 9 seconds ahead of his closest rival.  Long-term LCAC supporters will know that Nick Androulidakis has ‘previous’ in claiming some dubiously quick times on the track. And Nick (*coincidentally* former club record holder over the 400m hurdles!) was up to his old tricks in Wimbledon, managing to get himself announced as winner of the event on the day. While rightful order was restored in the official results, much credit goes to the Wimbledon stadium announcer for his faultless Greek pronunciation!

There was much less controversy in the next track event – the men’s 800m – where the rain poured down for the second time. LCAC was represented by Olly Bellamy and Simon Brown, each competing in multiple track events.  Both men performed strongly and finished very well in the wet conditions, with Olly taking 2nd in the A in 2:14 and Simon 2nd in the B in 2:23, to keep the points rolling in for LCAC.

A slightly damp start to the 800m for Simon and Olly
Olly ensuring his 800m effort will be on Strava later

Next up was the first of the sprint events – the women’s and men’s 100m. And LCAC’s sprinters showed that their storming season-opener in Hastings wasn’t a one-off.  In the women’s competition, Lisi Freeman-Alarconput in an impressive runtaking 4th place in the A in a time of 14.8, while Kirsty Benhamclocked a speedy 14.5 to take 4th place in the BIn the men’s competition, LCAC’s sole representative Mike Harwood powered home in a time of 12.4 to take 4th in the A. Mike then teamed up with Ally Stanley (by now up to his 4th event on the day) for the men’s shot put. In a quality field, both bettered their throws from Hastings and contributed valuable points to LCAC’s total, Ally picking up 3rd place in the A with a throw of 10.15m and Mike taking 3rd in the B with 9.80m.

Lisi Freeman-Alarcon in action in the 100m

Over in the women’s javelin, Rachael Collins continued an impressive all-round throws performance, winning the A competition with a throw of 23.44m. LCAC’s Dee Strang who was officiating the javelin competition may ask for danger money next time, as she came perilously close to being speared by some of Rachael’s long looping throws! Lisa Geary on her javelin debut didn’t cause the same level of worry for Dee, but did manage 3rd place in the B with a throw of 12.34m. Meanwhile, in the long jump competition, LCAC’s sole representative in the sand pit, Nick Androulidakis, showed that his technique is coming on in leaps and bounds with a jump of 4.32m for 4th place in the A.  

Olly questioning his choices on the 400m start line

Back to the track for the 400m. In the women’s event Kirsty Benham continued to shine, taking 2nd place in the B with a powerful run of 66.0. In the men’s, Olly Bellamy was back for the A event but, based on the photo below, was possibly regretting his decision to sign up after a few pints earlier in the week! Nevertheless, he dug deep to take 4th place with a quick time of 59.0. Nick Androulidakis was (unsurprisingly) unable to maintain “his” blistering speed from the 400m hurdles earlier in the day, but still powered home in 64.1 for 4th in the B.

Meanwhile, Maria Butylina was following one of the lesser-known tapering plans for her impending marathon and had signed up for long, middle and sprint distance events on the track. First up was the women’s 5000m where a very well-timed run by Maria in 23:50 took 2nd in the A competition and some very valuable points for the team.

Ally opening up LCAC pole vault section

The next field event – and a first for the club – was the men’s pole vault. And what a debut for LCAC! While a new LCAC club record was already guaranteed, Ally Stanley soared over the bar at 3.00m to win the A competition, a full 40cm ahead of 2nd place. Ally also brought a Diamond League feel to the event by urging the crowd (the competitors in the nearby women’s discus!) to join in an encouraging slow clap which built to a crescendo as he cleared the bar.

Back in the women’s discus (once the pole vault excitement had died down) the club continued its excellent throws performance. Rachael Collins capped a fine individual display with another LCAC club record in the A event – a storming throw of 20.43m taking 2nd in the A competition, while Lisa Geary’s throw of 15.40m topped the B group. In the men’s javelin, Ally sprinted round the track from the pole vault competition to grab 2nd place in the A with a formidable throw of 43.61m. And Raúl Montoliu on his LCAC debut showed the club’s strength in depth, taking 4th place in the B with a throw of 14.27m.   

Women’s discus team of Lisa Geary and Rachael Collins
Triumphant 10kers Andy,
Marie and Tommy

On to the middle distance events, with Tim Sherman and Simon Brown lining up for LCAC in the 3000m. Round these parts, it’s traditional for tall, well-mannered men called Tim to have physical structures named after them. Henman had his Hill, so what does Sherman get? A stand, perhaps? Sherman Stand…nah, that’ll never catch on! Nevertheless, Tim put in an excellent performance in the A, taking 2nd in a pleasingly round number of 10:00.00 with Simon closely behind in 10:08 for 2nd place in the B. Meanwhile, back in Sherman Stand, the raucous LCAC support was bolstered by the arrival of Marie Duignan, Andy Melrose and Tommy Rushton, fresh from some cracking PBs in the nearby Sutton 10k.

 View from Wimbledon’s new ‘Sherman Stand’

Ally took a short break from his field heroics for the 110m hurdles – and powered home to another first place finish in a rapid 17.0. The 200m races also saw some noteworthy performances from the LCAC sprint squad, with Kirsty Benham clocking 29.7 and Mike Harwood 25.6 to take 4th in their respective A races.

Mike Harwood in action in the 200m

Next up was the middle distance part of Maria Butylina’s madcap marathon taper plan – aka the 1500m – and Maria put in an excellent run of 6:45 for 4th in the A race. George Ashdown took 2nd place in the men’s A event with a quick time of 4:43 while Olly Bellamy notched up his third quality performance of the day, with 2nd in the B in 4:51.

  Men’s 1500m team of George Ashdown and Olly Bellamy

And then it was time for the relays. The well-drilled men’s 4 x 100m quartet of Nick, Ally, Olly and Mike saw the baton safely round in a very quick 50.2 to take 3rd place. And after his lead-off leg, Nick continued to sprint round the track to the sandpit to register a triple jump of 7.66m, taking 4th in the A competition.

The 4 x 400m relay was the final track event of the day. For the first time in SAL history it was a mixed event and LCAC had assembled a crack squad of Kirsty, Maria, Mike and Ally. Kirsty started quickly on lap 1 and Maria maintained position strongly on lap 2 – ticking off the last part of that marathon taper plan. On lap 3 veteran Mike didn’t quite manage to run the full lap due to a dramatic calf injury in the last few metres of the home straight, but a hobble, a triple jump and a javelin throw of the baton to Ally kept the LCAC show on the road. As Mike crawled away from the action in a manner last seen in a Vietnam war movie, Ally set off on a blisteringly quick final lap, seeing the team home in 4:23 and 4th in the A race.

The final event of the day was the men’s discus. Ally completed his SAL decathlon with a fine throw of 33.73m to take 3rd in the A group and Raúl took 3rd in the B group with a strong 19.43m effort. By now, Mike was back on his feet (through a combination of ice pack, Haribo and not wanting to listen to any more age-related ‘banter’ from Olly) and was able to hobble to the pub with the rest of the LCAC crew to celebrate another great day out.

Overall,a fantastic showing by the LCAC squad: strong debuts, impressive multi-event performances, three new club records, and the club soaring to new heights in its first ever pole vault competition. Special mention to Ally and Rachaelfor being ranked amongst the top 10 ‘Athletes of the Day’ for their performances in the 400m hurdles and javelin respectively.

A big thank you to Hercules Wimbledon AC for a very enjoyable and well-organised meet.  We finished in 4th place, running East Grinstead close for 3rd and remain well ahead of the club’s points total at this stage last year.

Next up: Match 3 in Guildford on 15 June. See you there!

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SAL match 1 – Hastings April 13th 2019

After a promising rookie season in the Southern Athletics League, LCAC are back for another crack in 2019.  The first fixture of the season drew us in Hastings – could this be the start of an LCAC conquest in SAL Division 3 South East?  Will there be a breakaway section of the club that embarks on an elaborate sewing project, to construct a Bayeux-style tapestry of the LCAC 2019 season for our future clubhouse?

A strong squad made the hour and a half train trip to the South coast, with willing alternates jumping in to cover for some late injuries.   The dedicated LCAC team coach, aka the 26A bus, arrived on schedule to ferry our squad door-to-door to the picturesque Hastings track.  LCAC had some of our best representation in the sprints and throws so far, which would add valuable points to the tally.

The day began in the sun with the women’s hammer – Rachael Collins started off a fine all-round performance representing in the throws, launching a 16.82m effort to take 4th place in the A category.  Maria Butylina was also putting in extended duty with a mix of track and field events, and was up next in the long jump – duly taking 3rd place in the A category with a 3.13m leap.

Recent signing Ally Stanley was making his LCAC debut, starting the day with an elaborate, break-dancing style foam rolling routine performed on the floor of bus stand 1.  The men’s hammer was the first in a formidable 12 event day for Ally, teaming up with Joe Dalton and showing the impressive LCAC strength in depth with Richard Jones sadly out due to a late injury and Tim Campion unavailable.  The dynamic duo made their assault on the leader board; Ally came second in the A group with a 27.07m throw, with Joe putting in a 13.88m heave to take second in the B – the points were starting to roll in early.

Then, it decided to hail.  The women’s shot putt was just getting underway.  The officials asked if some kind of postponement was needed – but Rachael Collins and Lisa Geary are not the sort to be slowed down by an ice blizzard.  Launching the silver sphere through the monsoon, Rachael stormed to 1st place in the A group with an 8.05m catapult and Lisa added further points in the B with an impressive 5.55m throw for 3rd place.  No postponement required!

Women’s shot putt team of Lisa Geary and Rachael Collins

As the hail lashed down, Ally Stanley moved into intense multi-tasking mode as the men’s high jump got underway.  Unperturbed, and having lived through much worse weather on most days of his Scottish upbringing, Ally dialled up a 1.75m leap to take 1st place in the A, beating his closest rival by 15cm.   Deciding that the gaps between jumps were essentially time wasted, Ally got in the blocks for the 400m hurdles, powering through in 57.1 to take the A group top spot and an LCAC club record.  Then back to the high jump.

Left: Distributing the team lunch kindly provided by Hastings AC in the LCAC tent.  Right: controversy in the high jump. 

The next event was the men’s 800m, with Stewart Muir and James Screen on the track for LCAC.  James had his family down in support, inspiring the next LCAC generation.  Chasing a pack of Hastings AC runners, Stew, apparently now having decided that even 1500m was ‘a bit far’, came 2nd in the A group with a 2:15 run and James turned in a speedy 2:22 to take 2nd in the B.

Next up was the women’s and men’s 100m and LCAC was bolstered by a strong sprinter team in attendance.  Lisi Freeman-Alarcon, India Falconer and Kirsty Benham put in the first of impressive set of sprint performances with Lisi storming home in 14.8 to take 4th place in the A group and India powering through in 15.8 for 2nd in the B.  Kirsty, running as non-scorer produced an impressive 14.3 burst.  The rest of the season certainly looks bright for the LCAC women’s sprinters, with Rachael also hopefully back soon on the track from injury.

Women’s sprint team of India Falconer, Kirsty Benham and Lisi Freeman-Alarcon

Over to the men’s and Ally and Mike Harwood were in action – in a strong field both produced explosive runs with Ally’s 12.1 run getting 3rd place in the A and Mike clocking a 12.4 for 2nd in the B.  With no time to waste, Ally and Mike jogged round ¾ of the track straight into the shot competition and continued the LCAC points-fest – Ally picked up another 1st place in the A with a 9.89 throw and Mike’s throw of 9.75 comfortably won the B and would have been 2nd in the A – essentially a nice 1-2 for LCAC.  At the same time, Rachael was continuing her points tally in the women’s javelin – and came away with her second 1st place of the day with a 22.58m throw, over 7m ahead of 2nd place.  Maria Butylina also chipped in with valuable points in the B competition, throwing a strong 8.14m for 3rd place.

Olly and Ally take on the hail and the 400m field

Over in the long jump pit Nick Androulidakis was in making his first appearance of the day ably assisted by Joe DaltonJoe sprung to an impressive 4.71, falling forward and then fearlessly left out of the pit onto the concrete to unselfishly maintain the distance and take 3rd place in the A.  Nick came through with an excellent 4.10 leap to add 2nd in the B and keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Back at Hastings station, a seagull appeared hell-bent on keeping Dante Hall from competing in the 400m – no-one will ever know exactly what happened following the stare down that ensued, but Dante eventually gave his assailant the slip to take his place in the 400m alongside Ally and Olly BellamyAlly and Olly went in heat 1 – both getting fast starts, the pack was tight on the first bend with both in contention.  Ally managed to hang on for 2nd place in the A with a speedy 54.9Olly produced an impressive 57.0 to win the B category.  Dante, running as non-scorer and still looking over his shoulder for the seagull found an extra gear to come first in the second heat in a very strong time of 56.0.  Will a Matt Speed-style ‘project 400’ be on the cards?  Lisa Geary added the 400m to her impressive collection of events on the day, with a third place finish in the A group in 97.3.

It was time for the distance events – in the 3000m Florie Lhullier made her first appearance of the day to claim 3rd place in the A category with an excellent 12:49 effort – Maria was putting in the hours with the field events, but had plenty in the tank for a gutsy 13:11 for second in the B.

Florie in the 3000m

Ally was up to his 7th event by now and was racking up some serious points for the team – with a 44.02 throw he took another 1st place for LCAC.

Unconfirmed reports of a seagull on the officials table at the start of the men’s 5000m left LCAC with the sole representation of Koen Stockbroekx – but what representation – a storming run of 16:26 put him in 2nd place in the A category.

 Koen Stockbroekx in the 5000m

Over in the discus circle, Rachael Collins and Lisa Geary both finished 3rd in the A and B, producing impressive throws of 15.67 and 12.78 respectively.

Ally refuelled himself with Haribo and got in the blocks for the 110m hurdles – with only one other athlete competing, a gripping one-on-one contest ensued.  The race stayed tight until the last 20m when Ally pulled away – another first place was in the book.  The 200m featured some more strong performances – Kirsty put in a blinding 29.7 effort to claim 3rd in the A category.  This was followed by Ally adding a 27.5 in the men’s A and Mike a storming 25.9 in the B, running in the ‘200m Mike’, due to all the competitors in his heat also appearing to be named Mike.

The day was entering its final stages.  Stew, Olly and Maria took their intense rivalry into the 1500m, which on the way home would extend into a challenge of who could make the better Thai curry – results for that are TBC (mine has turnips in it, just saying).  Olly found an extra gear on lap 3 to pull away and chase down a couple of extra places in the last 200m, finishing in a speedy 4:40 for 2nd in the A and Stew not far behind with 4:43 for 2nd in the B. Nick continued his good form in the sandpit, triple jumping a springy 8.13 for 3rd place in the A group. Ally hadn’t done an event of any kind for at least five minutes, so decided to embark on the 2000m steeplechase.  A nearby official declared to the observing LCAC crowd that he may possibly be a little mad – no one from LCAC disagreed. Ally powered home in 7:18 for a second place finish – taking him up to 10 events on the day.

Relay time – and after a baton passing tutorial making use of some fallen tree branches, the changeovers were slick – the women’s quartet of Kirsty, India, Rachael and Lisi stormed home in 59.3 for a well-earned second place.  Mike, Stew, Olly and Ally were up for the men and sneaked 2nd place too in 49.6.

Rachael had one more event in her locker – the small matter of the 2000m steeplechase – storming home in 2nd place in 9:57 to add to the points haul.

The 4 x 400m was the final track event – Kirsty was flying on lap 1, putting the women’s team in strong contention – Maria and Florie hung on to second place, allowing Lisi to finish the job on the anchor leg to maintain position in 5:15.  For the men, James had expertly combined his racing day with a nice family beach trip, and fuelled by the sea air he returned to pull out a storming first lap, with Nick, Joe and Mike getting the baton round for a 4:12 finish and 3rd place.

Maria Butylina waiting to receive the baton from Kirsty Benham 

The final event of an action-packed day was the discus – Ally’s 12th event with Joe also jumping in straight after the relay.  The pair added the final points of the day with a 36.23 throw winning another A group for Ally and a 15.98 throw putting Joe top of the B group.

A great day out by the sea for the LCAC track and field squad, followed by a well-earned pint in a pub where we found out that no-one ever actually leaves Hastings.  If you do, you are destined to always come back – unless – you find a stone with a hole in it on the beach.  No-one did, so we’ll see you next time Hastings AC, thanks for a brilliant and well-organised meet.  We finished in second place on the day with our highest points total so far in the league – big shout out to the multi-eventers, with Ally, Rachael and Maria putting in some serious energy.  See you all in Wimbledon for match 2!

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London Marathon Volunteering

The alarm went off before 6am. An ungodly hour to be getting up, especially on a Sunday. But this wasn’t just any Sunday. It was 28 April, the day of the London Marathon and a small group of LCAC’ers weren’t running (a fact that seemed to make rolling out of bed that little bit easier), we were volunteering. First stop, London Bridge Station for a quick safety briefing and then out into the hall to direct traffic. “Blue start… track x, red start … track y, toilets … back up the tunnel, Gatwick Airport … no idea, you’ll need to check the board, no this is not Euston station”. A steady stream of runners and supporters made their way through the station for over three hours, some cutting it mighty fine arriving just after 9am as the LCAC volunteering team was making its way to Tooley Street for part 2 of the day. After a short briefing and with our high vis Marshall bibs on we were sent out to patrol a stretch from near the Coop all the way to Bermondsey station. For just over seven hours, we chased balloons, tennis balls and stragglers (pedestrians, that is, not runners) off the course, cheered runners and generally kept an eye out for anything odd. All in all a great day out. Such a brilliant way to get a completely different perspective on the event and to give a bit back to the fantastic community of runners participating on the day.

Kasia Sienko



Christmas Party & Awards Night

London City AC held its annual Christmas Party at SAMA Bankside this year in a hugely successful and enjoyable event. A huge thank you to Heather Haggis, who organised this year’s party. This year included our first ever awards ceremony. The awards were to celebrate the achievements of our members and to thank those hardworking volunteers who make everything happen.

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Awards

  1. Volunteer of the Year: Vikki McLachlan
  2. Cross Country Awards (For most points scored for 2017/18 Season): Jess Fawcett & Bryan Maillardet
  3. Southern Athletics League Awards (For most points scored for 2018 Season): Rachel Collins & Tim Campion
  4. Mooiman Award (For positive contribution to our Cross Country Men’s Team): Josh Slingsby & Adam Millbery (shared).
  5. Watson Award (For positive contribution to our Cross Country Women’s Team): Marie Duignan
  6. Spirit of Track Award: Sarah Buckley
  7. International Representative (For most events abroad): Hannu Simola
  8. London Marathon 2018 Awards (First finishers for the club): Bryan Maillardet & Helena Hayes
  9. Big Half 2018 Awards (First finishers for the club): Leah Ward-Bower & Calvin Mullings
  10. Funniest Moment: Edwin Mooiman
  11. 5 Year Service Awards (For 5 years on the London City AC Committee): Edwin Mooiman & Stefan Watson
  12. Life Membership Award (For outstanding contribution to the club): Denise Watson
  13. Draw for Club London Marathon 2019 places: Nick Androulidakis & Andrew Maillardet

Club Trip: Lanzarote 2018 Gallery

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London Marathon 2019 Club Ballot

London City Athletics Club have two places to ballot off to our members for the London Marathon 2019.

Members will receive confirmation of the number of places in early November when you will be invited to apply to enter our club ballot. The number we are awarded is based on the number of First Claim members we have, as explained here. The draw will take place at the Christmas Party & Awards Night on Saturday 15th December.

The London City AC committee have agreed the following criteria for entering this year’s ballot:

  • You must have entered, and been rejected for, the London Marathon 2019 public ballot and be able to evidence this with your rejection email or letter – KEEP YOUR REJECTION EMAILS AND LETTERS!
  • You must be an EA Affiliated First Claim London City AC member.
  • You must have raced or volunteered 3 times during 2018 for the club. Races only include all Met League, Southern Athletics League and Surrey Road League Races, plus the Helsinki and Lanzarote club trips. Volunteering does NOT include taking track registration (members receive a free track session per registration).
  • You cannot enter the ballot if you have received a place from the club in the previous 5 years.

Members – Keep your rejection emails and letters. If you haven’t raced for the club this year we have three Cross Country events remaining in 2018 starting with Claybury on 13th October.

Club Trip: Berlin Marathon 2018

A few lucky lottery entrants, a park run tourist and a superb support crew made up the London City AC Berlin marathon squad. With a summer of intense heat and intense training behind us, we all managed to get to the start line in one piece and were ready to enjoy this famously fast race. What transpired was a world record breaking performance from Eliud Kipchoge, followed by a slew of solid performances from the London City AC team of Florie Lhuillier, James Screen, Jo Tillman, Laura Chesham, Marie Duignan, and Mat Barber. From a runners perspective it was a great course – fast, flat, wide open roads, mixture of the city landmarks and quieter neighbourhoods, and great support along the way from locals, tourists and a whole array of musical entertainment! Our own support crew managed to pop up in a few places along the route, although I was apparently faster than the u-Bahn train at one point so I didn’t see them at 20k!!

Once we had all passed through the infamous Brandenburg gate and then sprinted for the finish line, our targets were smashed, PBs were a plenty, and qualification times for London, Boston and a whole host of other races were achieved. Somehow we all managed to rendezvous both in the finisher’s village for the 40,000 plus runners and then met the others at the carefully selected beer garden for the all important post race rehydration and refuelling. No surprises that Nick Sutcliffe and Andy Melrose were instrumental in that part of the organisation!

All in all, it was a most successful weekend away for runners and supporters alike!

Southern Athletics League 2018

London City AC’s debut season at the Southern Athletics 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!

London City AC at I Move London Relay

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 V
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.

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Southern Athletics League: Fixture 4 at Erith

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