TOBY BISHOP WINS SOUTHERN U20 GOLD
Toby Bishop set five personal bests on his way to winning the Southern Under 20 men’s heptathlon title at Lee Valley last weekend.
His 7.34s 60m opener was a new best and his 6.18m long jump was close to his best outdoors. A 12.07m shot put added a metre to his previous best and a high jump clearance of 1.72m saw him finish Day 1 in the lead. Day 2 saw Toby set new marks in all three events as he clocked 8.46s in the 60m hurdles, added 16 cms to his pole vault best with 3.26m and finished with 3m 2.32s for the 1000m to tally a winning 4494 points and improve the club Under 20 heptathlon record which had stood since 1994. Posted: 20th December 2021
THREE WINS AT LONDON REGION VOLUNTEER AWARDS
The club enjoyed a very successful evening at the England Athletics London Regional Volunteer Awards, held on line last night (Wednesday 8th December).as all three club short-listed nominees won their categories.
The club itself won the Club of the Year Award for the second time, after an earlier victory at these awards in 2016. This was backed up by two individual awards, as 16-year-old Katie Ennis won the Young Volunteer of the Year award, and club Vice Chairman, coach and official Kevin White won the Unsung Hero category. Katie has already achieved her Level 1 Field officials licence and is well on the way to Level 2, while Kevin, on top of his numerous club volunteering duties, has progressed to Field official Level 3 and completed his Athletics Coach Award. The recording of the live streamed ceremony can be viewed HERE Posted: 9th December 2021
JACOB BLANC ADDS TO HIS MEDAL TALLY
Jacob Blanc added to his growing national medal tally when he added individual bronze and team gold competing for the English Schools Team in the Schools Pentathlon International at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena on Saturday. Jacob started with a swift 8.09s clocking in the 60m hurdles, and improved his shot best to 11.91m. His 200m time of 22.98s was a fraction outside his legal best and a long jump of 6.37m placed him third before the 800m event. A third-place 800m finish with 2m 6.53s, saw Jacob win individual bronze with a points tally of 3672, as England teammates Sammy Ball (4000) and Jake Minshull (3866) took the other podium places, with their fourth competitor Edward Foy finishing sixth. The winning England points total of 11,538 comfortably set a new championship best, improving the 1998 record.
Tom Pitkin opened his indoor season in style by setting a new career 400m best of 47.26s to improve the Butler University record, at South Bend, Indiana on Friday. He moves him to third on the club all-time list. Pitkin also trimmed his 200m best to 22.18s and helped the Butler 4x400m quartet set another University record. Posted: 6th December 2021
WINS AND MEDALS AT CHELMSFORD/ESSEX 10K
There were two individual wins and two team medals for club runners at the competitive Chelmsford 10k race on Sunday, which doubled as the Essex County Championship event.
Alex Ford led home the club contingent, just a couple of weeks after his 18th birthday in 32m 58s, to win Under 20 gold. James Stewart was next home in eighth, clocking 32:21, just outside his career best, and Kieran O’Hara sliced two minutes off his best in 18th with 34m 23s, as the trio won Men’s team silver.
Sixteen-year-old Shane Hart placed 29th on his 10k debut with a promising 35:21, to finish first U17M home, ahead Rob Trevor (35th – 36:20), and John Barker (52nd 37:29) and Martin Chester 38:06. Next to finish was 19-year-old Molly Sweetman whose 10k debut of 39:10 placed her sixth female and won her the U20W gold medal. Kizzie Leadbitter (age 15) was 110th overall and 12th female finisher, and first U17W home in a good 43:13 while Clare Davies (45:34) and Tracey O’Neill (53:24) completed the bronze medal winning club team.
Other results: 147th Roy James 45:33; 160th Jon Hart 47:13 Posted: 23rd November 2021
LESLEY FOLEY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The club also took the opportunity of the Track & Field Awards evening to give long-overdue recognition to one of the club’s greatest athletes on achieving over 50 years as a club member – Lesley Foley nee Kiernan.
Joining the club in June 1969 she set world age 12 & 13 bests at 800m in the next two years and in August 1973, just after her 16th birthday, she won European U20 800m silver clocking 2m 3.66s (still the third fastest ever by a UK u17W). She went on to full GB vests, national titles and an 800m PB of 2m 1.48s before injuries and motherhood prematurely ended her career and Olympic ambitions.
She still holds the club 800m records at U15G, U17W, U20W & senior women, and is also in the all-time club top 20s at 200m, 400m & 1500m as well.
A club life member, she has maintained her club contacts and her daughter Megan Slattery achieved national success & international vests, and the current generation Sydney and Isabelle Foley compete for the club, while her father Brian still coaches at the club. Posted: 22nd November 2021
VERONA ELDER INDUCTED TO EA HALL OF FAME
Club life member Verona Elder MBE received the honour of being inducted to the England Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday. When Verona joined Havering AC in 1980, after moving to the local area, she was already an established international athlete, while a member of her original club Wolverhampton & Bilston, having three times won 400m gold at the 1973, 1975 and 1979 European Indoor Championships and relay golds and 400m silvers 1974 & 1978 Commonwealth Games. Verona became a valuable member of the Havering club during the 1980 and 1981 seasons, at one point holding the 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m club records - and her 300m and 400m records still stand 40 years later. She gained more international vests while at the club and won European indoor 400m bronze in Grenoble in 1981. After retirement from competition Verona went on to teach sport to students with a learning disability at Thurrock College. She successfully managed the GB teams for athletes with an intellectual disability and was Chef de Mission at the 2011 INAS Global Games in Italy. A long-time resident of Rush Green, Verona moved back to the Midlands a few years ago. Posted: 25th October 2021
CLUB MARATHON RECORD FOR JAMES CONNOR
James Connor broke Paul Bettridge’s club marathon record that had stood for almost 30 years in placing fourth of the mass start finishers at Sunday’s London Marathon.
James had gone close to the record in his last marathon in Frankfurt two years ago but this time he made no mistake, averaging around 16m for each 5km until half-way, which he passed in an excellent 68:12. Although slowing in the final stages James finished in 2 hours 20 mins 16 secs, just under a minute inside the long-standing club mark. Although not part of the elite race James ran quicker than five of them and his time placed him 20th fastest man overall. Posted: 6th October 2021
SCHOOLS VESTS FOR STEPHANIE AND JACOB
Stephanie Okoro and Jacob Blanc did the club proud against the best of the home countries in the School International at Derby on Saturday. Stephanie ended her season in spectacular style when she took over a second off her previous best to win gold.. She stopped the clock at a superb 41.60s which was not only a new championship best (and Havering AC club record) but the third fastest ever time at the event by a UK Under 17. Stephanie added a second gold as member of the winning 4x300m relay squad whose winning time of 2m 37.57s was another new championship best and the second fastest by a UK U17 team.
Jacob Blanc ends the season as the top ranked UK Under 17 100m hurdler, despite losing out at Derby to teammate Daniel Goriola, having clocked the fastest time in the UK in winning the English Schools title in July and adding England Athletics gold in August. Jacob had the honour of being appointed boys’ team captain for the event and now has a further international vest to look forward to as he competes again for the English Schools team in the indoor pentathlon in Glasgow in early December. Posted: 27th September 2021
THREE PODIUM PLACES AT MIND HAVERING HALF
Club athletes excelled in Sunday’s MIND Havering Half Marathon. Barry Smith equalled his best of 78:13 in winning the overall men’s and M40 categories, after finishing third in the 2019 race, and John Whitehead was second and first senior man home clocking 78:38. Morgan Campbell made up for her injury affected season with second place in the women’s race, the same placing as in 2019.
Other results: 19th (4th M50) Steve Walker; 43rd M50 10th) Darren Priestley; 58th (M50 13th) Roy James; 99th (36th M40) Jon Hart; 366th (& 33rd Women) Jess James; 369th (34th Women) Emily James Posted: 16th September 2021
THREE MEDALISTS AT SCHOOL GAMES FINALS
Five club athletes took part in the prestigious School Games Finals at Loughborough, which brought together the leading Under 17 athletes in the UK and three returned with medals.
Stephanie Okoro has dominated the 300m hurdles this season and did not disappoint clocking a fast 43.17s for victory despite clattering the first and last flights - she has now clocked the fastest eight times in the event this summer and has another season in the age group. Stephanie added a silver medal in the 4x300m relay for her Rio team – each team was named after Olympic host cities - with Olivia Boachie, who had earlier placed sixth in the 300m individual event, helping her Athens team to bronze. Denzel Achi was outside the medals in his favoured long jump, placing fourth, but stepped in to cover a gap in the 100m and was rewarded with a bronze medal in that event.
Jacob Blanc was a favourite to add the sprint hurdles crown to his English Schools and England Athletics titles, but after placing a close fourth in the 400m hurdles event, was a little below par in the 100m hurdles as his opponents raised their game and edged him out of the medals into fourth. Dikachi Godwin was the fifth of the club contingent, placing a respectable fifth behind Achi in the long jump. Posted: 7th September 2021
FIVE MEDALS AT SEAA AGE GROUP CHAMPS
Club athletes picked up five medals at the recent (21/22 August) South of England age group championships at Kingston.UK Number 1 Stephanie Okoro again took the headlines with gold in the Under 17 Women’s 300m hurdles, and added bronze in the long jump. Olivia Boachie improved her best to win silver in the U17W 400m, and Bobby Williams added U15 javelin silver to his English Schools silver, while Patrick McLean-Tattan completed the medal roll with bronze in the U17 shot.
Ayo Babatunde was fourth in the U17M 200m, Karis Thomas was fourth in the U17W 100m, and Katie Ennis improved her discus best to place fifth in the U17 competition. Other finalists were Ryan Alexander who was fourth in the U13 high jump, Fisola Fagbadegun was sixth in both U13G sprints, Zikora Ezeonwuka was also sixth in the shot with a new PB, and Paris King seventh in the U17W 100m. Posted: 31st August 2021
RICHARD BREAKS SENIOR 100M RECORD
Richard Akinyebo made a stunning breakthrough when he twice improved his career best to break the club senior 100m record set in 1998 – three years before the 19 year old sprinter was born.
Akinyebo had started the season with a legal 100m best of 10.93s but twice bettered this mark with clockings of 10.80s and 10.76s at the recent England Athletics Senior championships. But on Saturday, competing at the Be Fit Today Track Academy Open at Dagenham’s Jim Peters Arena, Richard was timed at 10.59s in his first round race before improving even further in the second series to an impressive 10.42s to erase the club record of 10.54s set exactly 23 years before by Kevin Farrell, and equalled by Matt Russell in 2004.
. Posted: 27th July 2021
ENGLAND ATHLETICS SENIOR & DISABILITY CHAMPS
Two Havering athletes were in action at the England Athletics Senior & Disability Championships at Bedford this weekend.
Rebecca O’Rourke added to her growing tally of medals when she won silver in the senior women’s Ambulant 1500m race. The 17-year-old athlete, who competes in the T20 category for athletes with intellectual impairments, posted a time of 5m 48.75s in sweltering conditions behind Southend’s Jordan Lacey.
In the men’s Ambulant 1500m equivalent Kieran O’Hara was timed at 4m 20.10s in sixth place. Posted: 21st July 2021
RETIREMENT OF COACH DAVE NAYLOR
Middle distance coach Dave Naylor has decided that the time is right to hang up his whistle and stop watch after over 50 years of top-level coaching with Havering AC.
After being medically discharged from the Army after an accident in 1968 left him paralysed Dave's determination saw him start coaching the following year - and the rest is history. He has coached numerous athletes to success at local, regional, national and international level. All this has been achieved despite the disabilities caused by his major injury, which unfortunately have limited his visits to the track and competitions and have progressively affected his health in recent years.
To recognise his long and important contribution to Havering AC his sister Sue presented Dave with a gift on behalf of the club Committee to mark his well-earned retirement. Dave will now be able to call on the assistance of “Alexa”, in addition to his valuable support from his wife Eileen, who continues to coach at the club. READ MORE Posted: 14th July 2021
FOUR IN NATIONAL U20/U23 ACTION
Four club athletes mixed it with England’s best at the National Under 20 & Under 23 Championships at Bedford last weekend.
Richard Akinyebo confirmed his good early season form by setting a career best of 21.59s for the 200m in his heat in the Under 23 age group, the fifth fastest ever by a club sprinter to qualify for the final in which he clocked 21.73 for eight place.
Alice Brown’s 38.21m discus throw placed her sixth in the Under 20 event, while javelin throwers Peter Brinton-Quinn and Adelaide Thatcher-Gray were both eight in their Under 20 events with 51.32m and 38.07m respectively. Posted: 22nd June 2021
NEW CLUB UNDER 17 RECORD FOR JACOB BLANC
Jacob Blanc was the star performer at Monday’s Lee Valley Hurdles & Barriers meeting. He opened with a new club record in the Under 17 Men’s 400m hurdles as he improved on his day-old personal best to 54.79s to trim six hundredths of a second off George Hadler’s club best set in 2012. Later in the day Jacob won the 100m hurdles in the fastest time in the UK so far with 13.21s, the third fastest ever by a club U17. Also at Lee Valley on Monday Stephanie Okoro improved her 300m hurdles best in only her second outing to an impressive 45.06s, for third best club all time.
On Saturday Findlay McLaren improved his 800m best by clocking the fastest time by an Under 13 Boy this year at the BFTTA Open at the Jim Peters Stadium, Dagenham. His 2m 14.89s clocking was the second best ever by a club Under 13, with only Bob Thanda’s record of 2m 10.3s set in June 1998 ahead of him. Posted: 2nd June 2021
TOM PITKIN SETS SENIOR 400M HURDLES RECORD
One day before losing his club U17 men’s 300m hurdles best to Jacob Blanc, Tom Pitkin more than compensated for his impending loss by breaking Mark Bishop’s club senior 400m hurdles record competing for Butler University at Normal, Illinois on Saturday. The 23 year old ex-Campion student, who hails from Gidea Park but has opted to run for Ireland, stopped the clock at 51.07s to post the sixth fastest time ever in the event by an Irish qualified athlete. The former English Schools medallist has improved his best by over four seconds since returning to the hurdles event since joining Butler last year.
Also in the USA Zoe Hughes (Duke University) set a new outdoor long jump best of 6.06m, after improving the club senior record to 6.16m during the indoor season, competing in Durham North Caroline on Monday.
ZOE BREAKS CLUB SHOT RECORD
Zoe Hughes broke one club record and came close to adding two others when placing second for Duke University in the Tobacco Road Challenge & Combined Events competition held in stormy conditions at Durham, North Carolina last weekend. Her 13.41m shot putt PB added almost half a metre to her previous club record and she came within a whisker of setting a new club 100m hurdles best, as her 13.71s clocking was just outside Kate Cowley's 13.7 club best from 2004. Zoe’s other results were a 200m run of 25.35s, a long jump of 6.00m w/a, 1.64m high jump, and 32.60m javelin throw before her 2m 25.38s 800m run saw her total a new PB and UK lead of 5541 points, just 16 points shy of Kate's club heptathlon record of 5557 points set in 2003. It was her first heptathlon mark since 2017 and added almost 100 points to her previous best.
The previous weekend Tom Pitkin moved up to third on the club all-time list when he posted a new career best of 52.70s for 400m hurdles, to break the Butler University record that he had set the week before. Pitkin’s mark brought him victory at the Redbird Invitational meeting held in very unfavourable windy conditions at Normal Illinois.
There were tentative steps back to outdoor competition for some Club athletes at the Lee Valley and Blackheath Open at the weekend. In bitterly cold conditions at Lee Valley on Saturday Under 17s Dan Peters and Maddie Barker opened their accounts in the 800m, as did Matthew Blacklock and Natalie Sewell in the 1500m. Paris King (U17W 100m) and Matthew Agnimel (Senior 200m) also started their 2021 campaigns. In better conditions on Sunday Kieran O’Hara, James Stewart and newcomer Richard Morris kicked off their season in the 1500m races at the Blackheath event at Bromley.
TOM & ZOE POST GOOD OUTDOOR MARKS
As we look forward to our return to training, there's good news from two of our Stateside athletes who both competed in style at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina as the outdoor season started over the pond.
Tom Pitkin opened his account on Friday with his third fastest ever 400m run of 47.61s, breaking the Butler University record which had stood since 1927! He returned the next day to run his first 400m hurdles for four years and smashed his PB to 53.51s for fourth on the club all-time list.
Heptathlete Zoe Hughes, competing for Duke University at the same event, posted a good 100m hurdles season opener on Thursday with 14.04s (her fastest since 2017) and on Saturday added a 25.36s clocking for 200m, her fastest for three years.
Well done both!
TOM PITKIN RETURNS TO ACTION IN STYLE
With the UK still in lockdown it was again down to one of the club’s Stateside contingent to provide the on track action
Tom Pitkin, who graduated from Brunel University last summer, made his long-waited debut for Butler University, Indianapolis after much of their indoor season had been on hold. Pitkin who represented Ireland at 400m in the European Under 23 Championships in 2019 had not raced since August that year but returned to the track in style at the Big East Triangular event in Chicago to place third in the individual 400m with an indoor PB of 49.57s. He ran even faster an hour later, clocking an impressive 48.38s opening leg for the Butler quartet in the 4 x 400m relay squad setting them on the way to victory in a Butler record of 3m 16.54s. With the US outdoor season starting on 20th March Pitkin soon hopes to be back in outdoor action, after being unable to race domestically in 2020 before making his move Stateside.
GREAT RESULTS IN CHELMSFORD JUNIOR CHALLENGE
With all club training and competitions still not allowed under the current lockdown, club athletes took the opportunity to compete in the Chelmsford Virtual Junior Challenge, held last week. Athletes had to run designated distances between 13th and 20th February within a reasonable distance from home, under adult supervision, record their times on permitted running apps, and submit these to the organisers.
Club teams came out on top in three age groups, and added a runners up and third placed team, with two individual runners up and two third place finishes. Overall an impressive 36 club athletes too part and the club had the most finishers in two age groups. The victories were achieved by the Under 13 boys, with Findlay McLaren second and Jack West third, with Freddie Rowe in 8th, and both Under 17 teams, as runner up Alex Ford, third placed Dan Peters and Matt Blacklock in 7th, took the men’s honours, while Maddie Barker (4th), Natalie Sewell (5th) and Hannah Yexley – 12th) won the women’s equivalent. Freya Long (6th and Charlotte & Hannah Evans (8th & 11th) were Under 15 girls’ runners up, and Daniel Lamas (9th), Ryan Carroll (10th) and Oliver Taylor-Bush (12th) placed third for the U15 boys. The Under 13 Girls trio of Maggie Smith, Rosie Warner & Abigail Rogers were in 8th. RESULTS
ZOE BREAKS CLUB LONG JUMP RECORD
Zoe Hughes broke Kate Cowley's senior women's club long jump record with a 6.16m leap, competing indoors at Clemson, South Carolina on Friday. Her first round jump added 9cms to her career best and 4cms to Cowley's record, set in July 2004.
The US based athlete, now a Global Health graduate student at Duke University, after graduating from Harvard last summer, has had mixed fortunes in recent years after a series of minor injuries but has shown good form since the New Year in her indoor competitions, with more to come. .