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A Great Day at Sprints Festival

A lot of happy people left Whitehall on Saturday with big smiles on their faces and many asking if we could do another one’? Athlete Owen Miller from Yeovil remarked: “This is a very well organised and relaxed event – well done to all”.

Jeff Staples, coach and parent of one of the great sprinters who travelled from Newport had this to say:

“I thoroughly enjoyed it and from a logistics standpoint it was really smooth, a great team you’ve got there! I would suggest you hold these events more frequently as it’s a good opportunity for an informal run, I’m sure with that you could get more competitors too”.

The sunshine helped the mood with different groups of spectators given their own space between two hurdles defining their area. Over 50 athletes came from far and wide to take advantage of this rare opportunity for a run out. The standard of competition was very high with the u17’s men semi and final being a real test with Zak Wall of Cardiff just pipping our two great u17 sprinters Ed Wilson and Josh Maggs with all three finishing in 11.2, 11.3 and 11.4 respectively.

The Masters races were of a particularly high standard with the pick of them being Juliet Sidney from Newport Harriers (M50) running the 100m in 14.1.

Great to see long jumper Ella Bowell and pole vaulter Nyree Perry chasing 100m sprints specialist Sophie Reid Thomas who ran  PB against the wind in the final. Ryan Brady also demonstrating he is definitely one to watch as he made it look easy with speed and strength to spare.

Smile of the day has to go to sprints coach Tristan Jamieson who not only got his wish to run against Olympian Emily Diamond in the 200m, he also recorded a PB – trying to catch her. Great race. Thanks must go to Emily for making the day that bit more special.

Hilary Nash, who watched the most anticipated event of the day from the central infield said “It was a real pleasure to watch Emily’s smooth flowing action and the guys were struggling a little to keep with her. It became clear that it was going to be a close finish and the guys managed to find a last effort to give the track judges a difficult task to sort out a blanket finish. The timekeepers could not separate the first three Emmanuel Shutsha (SM), Josh Maggs U17 and Emily all on 24.1 with Tristan Jamieson just behind but delighted with a new PB 24.5. I’m sure the guys will all remember the day they competed with Emily.”

Tristan later remarked that, from a coaches perspective, the whole day was an extremely positive vibe. Smiles everywhere and a lot of conversation between people who had never met. I’m sure the weather helped to set the tone of the day.  The U17 boys 100m was an especially fun set of events – heat 1 was very close all the way to the finish, heat 2 was a nail-biter and the final had a lot of drama with the gun miss-firing and then a blanket finish with the times being split by 0.1s

“From an athletes perspective, the set-up of being allowed to line either side of the track with spectators was the best atmosphere I have ever raced in. The senior 200m final was thrilling for me – I got to race a cross-track rival, a training partner and a Team GB international!  We emerged from the bend relatively staggered but still quite close and then the straight drew us even closer with a blanket finish to top it off.  A strong head wind set the front 3 back a second from their respective PBs but I still managed a PB despite the wind.”

Another great day for the club and local athletes!

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