The highly charged atmosphere of the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships took place at Alexandra Stadium, Birmingham on Friday and Saturday 11/12th July.
The event is hopefully a stepping stone for future champions, past winners at the event have been Paula Radcliffe, Kelly Holmes, Sebastian Coe, Eamon Martin and Steph Twel. Stockport Harriers’ athletes who have won at this event include Jess Coulson, Luci McLoughlin, Dale Canning and Zoe Peatfield.
The process to get to the Championships starts at the beginning of summer where athletes selected for their school go through to the District championships and into the County qualifying championships where strict times and distances have to be met to gain entry into the English championships. The event is the biggest outside the Olympics in numbers of athletes and events.
Club Member Chelsea Jarvis, last year’s English Schools’ 800m Champion representing Merseyside schools, made it through her heat on day one and into the final on Saturday to take the bronze medal.
The final was a tactical battle of wits with one athlete falling just before the bell who Chelsea had to get around as she fought for position. With 400m to go Chelsea was in the driving seat and was still leading with 150 metres to go.
The chasing pair of Kaylee Dodd Essex and Emily Jenkinson hung on and timed the run to the line well as they overhauled Chelsea in the final 100m. All three athletes posted National standard times.
Chelsea who attended the ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ day met with her idol with other athletes who are on the scheme to offer advice before her race and after at the presentation.
Stockport Harriers athletes again made up a good part of the Greater Manchester Team at these Championships, with two sprinters and two middle distance athletes selected it was a good achievement for the Club.
The most unlucky person on the team was Emma O'Connell who after running the 200m heats with a time of 26-97 sec she did not qualify for the final, She then ran in the 4 x 100m relay with the team finishing 3rd in the heats achieving a national standard of 49.84 sec. After waiting all day for the relay final, a bad change over on the first leg meant the team did not manage to finish the race.
In the senior boys 100m Jonathan Regan who has had a fine season did not get good start and was eliminated in the first round with a time of 11.58 sec.
The heats of the junior girls 800m saw Olivia Wild again set a PB of 2m 18.48 sec, achieving an English Schools’ standard to finish 5th in what was a very fast race.
In the 3,000m final Jack Nixon had a good race and finished with a time of 9-12.88 sec in 20th place.