THE final week of November saw the distribution of Harborough Athletics Club’s junior awards.
After a campaign littered with revised club records – and countless personal bests – competition for the principal trophies was as fierce as it had been across all terrains throughout the year.
Athlete of the Year: Charlotte Ellis
In a season that saw her make a hugely impressive step up to the under-13 age bracket from the under-11s, Ellis accumulated podium-place finishes in all-but-one of her Heart of England track and field competitions.
She also had a very good debut in the National Cross Country Relays in Mansfield, and set personal bests in the 60m, 100m, 150m, 200m, 800m, long jump, shot put and javelin.
Most Improved Athlete: Alice Tansey
Having got her hands on the 2012 Olympic Torch over the summer, Tansey’s season certainly matched the glow of that eternal flame.
With no fewer than five top-three finishes in the Heart of England Series behind her, arguably the highlight of the year came in the shape of a fabulous silver medal at the County Schools Championships over 800m.
Best Newcomer: Toby Fletcher
Having made his club debut in this year’s Quadkids Series, Fletcher has taken to athletics like the proverbial duck-to-water, and has shown great promise. His clear intelligence for the sport has meant that he has progressed very quickly, and his eagerness bodes well for 2013.
Coaches’ Choice: Ethan Shewring and Alfie Major
Like Fletcher, Major also first donned club colours at the Quadkids Series. He swiftly displayed a huge interest in competing, and is wonderfully committed to every single event in which he competes. The enthusiasm and vigour with which Shewring approaches his training belies his age and, this season, he has shown fantastic, commendable maturity. And the club fully expects him to go from strength-to-strength.
Quadkids Awards: Grace Brookes (UKA Silver Award, year 3/4 girls) and Charlotte Ellis (UKA Gold Award, year 5/6 girls)
The year 5/6 girls came third overall in the Leicestershire league.
In the UKA 365 Challenge Awards, the majority of under-11s achieved a Red Award, with another eight athletes in the U11/U13 age range achieved Yellow Awards.
The remaining U13/U15s all achieved Green Awards.
After the gongs had been handed out, the club’s head junior coach Traci Edwards, was full of praise for her young charges.
She said: “I have to extend huge congratulations to all the winners, and can’t wait to get started again for another great year ahead.”
As if to offer the proof to support their coach’s aspirations, a number of the club’s younger memberswere among those taking to the undulations of the latest installment of the North Midlands Cross Country League, held at Wollaton Park, Nottingham.
In the under-13 ranks, twin sisters Niamh and Mollie Watson, took respective 13th and 15t places (over the 3.1km course), with team-mates Lottie Edwards (23rd), Alice Tansey (31st) and debutant Ursula Clapp (43rd) all contributing valuable points to the team competition.
In the boys’ race, Charlie Blencowe’s 28th-place underlined his early-season consistency.
One representative apiece in the under-15 boys’ and girls’ races ensured the yellow and black vests were in evidence again.
Over 4.7km, Sam Edwards took a very combative seventh spot, while Martha Clapp (over 3.1km) maintained her form with eighth. In the next age bracket – the under-17s – Callum Burston reinforced his strong series results to date with another top-20 finish; this time in 19th position.
Proving the adage of only ever being “as old as your legs feel”, an array of the senior and veteran members were also plying their trades to the backdrop of the Elizabethan Park’s splendid Mansion house – the site of Wayne Manor in the latest Batman blockbuster.
In the male 10km race, Will Clapp headed the HAC triumvirate, taking 65th position.
Martin Gore chased hard for 95th, while Adam Brooks turned to more level terrain than his norm, for 115th.
In the women’s race – held over a 6km route – the squad of Hannah Eveleigh (13th, and 1st FV35), Yvonne Scarrott (37th, 1st FV45), Karen Brooks (51st, 1st FV50), Nicola James (56th, 2nd FV40), Lianne Brooks (76th), Lin Farrow (90th), and Marise Taylor (94th) ensured that top-spot in the overall Veterans League standings was retained with aplomb, with three races of the four-race campaign completed.
Just less than 24 hours later, Ady and Jackie King – only a week on from their exploits in the Benidorm Half Marathon (where Ady had placed 79th, in 1hr 26mins 03secs, and Jackie, 825th in a new PB of 1:49:51) – were joined by Richard Bufton for the second Derby Runner League cross-country race.
Ady’s 22nd spot, Bufton’s 126th, and Jackie’s 62nd all reflected strong returns over a testing, yet firm underfoot, Sinai Park course.