Weekend, 17-18th June 2017
The sun was shining brightly in Bedford for the England Athletics’ U20 and U23 national championships, as four Bolton United Harriers pulled on the blue vest to pit themselves against the elite of British Athletics.
Jonny Kay, competing in his first national track championships, raced in the U23 800m. It was a slow and tactical race and Jonny found himself towards the back of the field with 200m to go. Despite a fantastic sprint finish, Jonny came an agonising third in the heat and failed to qualify for the final by just one place.
Chris Mann competed in the High Jump and recorded a season’s best in the U23 men’s high jump, with 2.05m to finish sixth.
Georgia Lever entered the U20 Long Jump knowing that she would need to leap a massive PB to challenge for a medal. In the second round, she recorded her best jump of 5.39m, which yielded tenth position.
U17 sprinter, Hannah Kelly, moved up an age group to compete against the best U20 female sprinters in the country at the 200m. Hannah, still only 16, was desperately trying to run a fast time to try to gain international selection. Hannah, and coach Les Hall, had carefully planned her race strategy and had decided rather than manage the rounds, to use the heat as a time trial. As ever, Hannah’s competitive edge came to the forefront. With the UK number 1 athlete on her inside lane she was really up against it, but a superb bend saw her enter the home straight in a strong second. Hannah powered through to the finish line and clocked an amazing 24.25 seconds, which was 0.25 seconds inside her PB!
In the semi-final, once again Hannah lined up in the same race as the UK number 1, Maya Bruney. She followed her amazing run in the heat to finish second again and qualify for the final in another exceptional time of 24.46s. All had high hopes for the final; Hannah got a fantastic start and came off the bend in third place. However, her previous two races and the heat took their toll – she tired in the last 60m to finish seventh in a time of 24.71s – fantastic given the step up in age category.
Sunday, 18th June 2017
The third fixture of the Lower (U13s & U15s) Youth Development League took place at Bury for the second time this year.
Bolton finished sixth of seven teams on the day and 9 league points in total. It all adds up to a likely battle to avoid relegation with Macclesfield in a month’s time.
Saturday, 17th June 2017
The Mason Trophy Inter Counties Schools’ Championships at Birmingham’s Alexandra Stadium today and was the last chance for athletes to achieve the qualifying standard for the prestigious English Schools national championships in July. Two BUH&AC juniors compete in the orange vests of Greater Manchester against the ten other school counties.
Ben To, fresh from his medal at the Greater Manchester County Schools’ Championships, had already secured the qualifying mark for the U15 boys’ 100m. However, he clocked 11.60s seconds to claim a new PB and another bronze medal, but this time against much higher competition.
In the U15 boys’ 1500m, Louie Johnson was aiming to reach the time of 4:22 but alas it wasn’t to be, with the youngest athlete in the field clocking a very creditable 4:32.
Four Bolton United Harriers have now achieved the English Schools’ qualifying standard in their respective events – Hannah Kelly and Taiwo Taiwo in the inter-girls’ 200m, Georgia Lever in the senior girls’ Triple Jump and Ben To in the junior boys’ 100m. All now will wait to see if they have been selected for the finals.
Weekend, 10-11th June 2017
Blue Vests were in action at the Northern Athletics (NoEAA) outdoor T&F championships at Manchester’s Sportcity this weekend.
Having represented Greater Manchester Schools for the last three years, Georgia Lever took the next step up as an U20 athlete with one eye on qualifying for the Senior English Schools’ competitors. Her favoured event – the long Jump, was on Saturday. Hopes were high of gaining a new PB and a medal. However, things don’t always run to plan and the blustery conditions played havoc with her run up; entering the final jump of the competition she had no Mark, only five no jumps. With the pressure on and Georgia trying to work out how best to get a legal jump, she ended up running through the jump. Though bitterly disappointed, her jumps had been exceptional and she knows that next week will present another opportunity to show that she is capable of getting close to the 6.00m mark at the England Athletics’ U20 competition at Bedford. Hopefully her season best and PB this year of 5.51m will stand her in good stead for selection for the English Schools’ Finals, though this year it would be in the Red Vest of Lancashire due to her college location.
At the beginning of the season Georgia also decided to try out the Triple Jump and, as expected, found it to her liking and capability! With this in mind, she managed to gain a late entry into the U20’s event today. It was timely to revive her spirits after yesterday’s disappointment and she duly set off on her first jump, which yielded… a no jump! Luckily, the Officials deemed that the EDM had not been calibrated correctly and so the first three jumpers, including Georgia, were allowed to re-take their jumps. Georgia was spurred on and duly dispatched a jump of 11.18m, only 3cm behind her previous PB. As her confidence grew, she then registered a new lifetime best of 11.33m, even though her take off was several centimetres behind the board. It was always going to be a big ask to win a Gold medal as she was up against the second best Triple Jumper in the country, Naomi Ogbeta from Trafford, who duly went on to win the competition with a new Championship Best performance of 12.94m. Georgia’s performance earned her a well-deserved Silver Medal and ranked her at nineteenth in the country – some going in an event she has only just started!
Other good performances in all three competition categories were had by Chris Mann, Rebecca Kay, Mercedes Mercer, Katie Oakley Jonny Kay and Karl Darcy, Frazer Jardine and Declan Toomey.
Saturday, 10th June 2017
Three Blue Vests hope to be selected to compete in the upcoming England Athletics national championships next weekend after achieving the qualifying standards today.
Hannah Kelly warmed up in the best way possible by winning the 2017 Greater Manchester county schools’ championships’ inter-girls 200m at Stretford. For once, Hannah ran in a red vest as she was competing for Bury schools but the Bolton United Harrier was in imperious form. Not only was the gold medal won but her time of 24.8s was the fastest time ever run at this event, so she is now the proud holder of a Championship Best performance. Entering next weekend’s U20 champs, despite still being an U17, offers the chance to chase a qualifying time for future international races.
In the same race, Taiwo Taiwo won the silver medal in a time of 25.9s. This means that both athletes have achieved the qualifying standard to compete at this year’s English Schools’ national championships.
It was also a great day for Ben To, who competed in the Junior boys’ 100m. He finished a creditable third in the final, but more importantly also achieved the qualifying standard of 11.7 seconds, where the entire podium clocked the same time.
There were many other fantastic performances on the day from Bolton United Harriers with many PBs, finalists and medals won, including Rachel Bailey’s silver (400m) Mercedes Mercer’s gold (400m Hurdles).
Saturday, 10th June 2017
Molly and Lily Philbin took part in the sixth and final race of the English Junior Fell Running Championships today at Cowpe. Hosted by Rossendale Harriers, the race took place in picturesque Cowpe village in Waterfoot, Rossendale.
Over a challenging 2.8km course with 175m climb, U13 Lily ran bravely to finish 11th in the race with 16:43, also securing 11th place overall in the 6-race series (best four positions count).
By the time Molly ran in the U17’s race, the heavens had opened and, combined with blustery conditions, the 6.4km race with 299m of ascent was very challenging. Molly battled hard also to secure 11th place in the race with 44:43 and also 11th place overall in the series, an exact repeat of sister Lily’s result.
Both girls will be in the same age categories next year and will have their hopes pinned on achieving a top-ten position.