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. .