Weekly Updates Wednesday 6th May

We are very proud of our volunteers, senior members and parents of the juniors, that are still on the front line of fighting coronavirus. Please don’t forget to get in touch if you want or need help or support with anything at all. Keep safe and best wishes to you all. Click read more for this weeks updates…..

UK Athletics in conjunction with the other home countries have extended the suspension of all athletics competitions until Tuesday 30th June. At the time of posting this update we are awaiting further guidance on the suspension of training, however only the most optimistic amongst us foresee restrictions being lifted for training in groups from June 1st. Hopefully by this time next week we will have heard and will be able to clarify for you.

Fixtures and results:

Despite the suspension of face to face competition, there is a growing list of virtual races for our endurance athletes, that are being added to the annual fixtures page. In next weeks update will have some results to report on for you. At the time of posting several of our athletes are doing well in the British Milers Club Roger Bannister Virtual Mile that is due to be completed later this evening.

In the meantime we do have the results and scores for the juniors V coaches home heptathlon agility challenge for you. There was a greater entry than for the run jump throw triathlon the previous week, with several parents getting involved too, much to the delight or embarrassment depending on the views of each child, some of whom did allow their parents to submit their results too! Click here for the full results of the competitors Home Heptathlon Lockdown Challenge.xlsx

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Coaching resources:

Here is a great decathlon circuit challenge from Irish Athletics. Covering the 10 different event disciplines of the decathlon, follow the video for the exercises, all done following restrictions in place around travel & social contact. Click here for the video.

England Athletics webinars this week topics/events between 6th and 14th May include endurance, energy systems, steeplechase, nutrition, discus, javelin and much more, click here for detail and to sign up.

Welsh Athletics You Tube Channel has more uploads of interviews and physical preparation development clips to view here. In addition a webinar for the physiology of endurance running on Monday 11th May to sign up for here.

Officials resources:

England Athletics also have a series of officials webinars between 6th and 14th May including the topics of; accreditation, rule book changes, recruitment and individual profiles. Click here for detail and to sign up.

We are always looking to add to our team of qualified officials, to fulfil our officiating obligations for home and away fixtures. Our offiicials secretary is Christina Jones for all you need to know about becoming an official go to the Welsh Athletics officials pages via this link.

Seniors National Road Relays Dream Team Challenge:

We decided to set a challenge for one of our team managers last week. Swansea Harriers has had a lot of success at the Seniors National road relays with both Mens and Womens teams over last few decades, including several medal winning performances. Team manager George Edwards has been integral to this since 1985 until the present day. With the possibility of no event this year, we did not allow George to put his feet up and relax, and challenged him to pick his dream team / greatest of all time squads, and here is who he went with;
How to choose a 12-man National road relay team from all the superb athletes who have run at Sutton Park since I became team manager in 1985? Not easy. How to choose between the two wins in 1994 and 2017? A little easier, because great those the win was three years ago, nothing beats the first time and nothing can fade the memory of race commentator Bud Baldaro saying as Jerry Hall waved his way up the hill to the finish line “…and for the first time ever the National road relay title goes outside England. Well done Swansea Harriers”. He also said well done George Edwards, but I won’t mention that out of modesty.

Picking the best relay team and picking the best 12 road runners of the last 35 years or so are not the same thing. Joshua Griffiths and Jonathan Hopkins, for example, rank among our best runners but for perfectly good reasons (usually international calls or overseas training camps) have rarely been available for the 12-stage so I have not considered them. So, too, Shaun Whelan, a massively gifted athlete who broke the club long leg record when he stormed away to win the first stage in 1989. Only after I had made the final choice did I realise that only three runners came from the current generation – Dewi GriffithsKristian Jones and Guy Smith. Dewi has produced several outstanding performances including a fastest-time-of-the-day in 2017 and made himself available at every opportunity – so, too, Kristian, who has been prepared to travel down from his home in Scotland and always run exceptional times as befitting a Great Britain international. Guy has excellent times for the long and short stages over several years. With a very heavy heart I just can’t squeeze Marc Hobbs into the team, despite his wonderful run of appearances and massive enthusiasm for the event. Marc is 12-stage through and through and would have to be first reserve, doubling up as assistant team manager.

Leading the way for the former generation has to be the quite magnificent Nigel Adams, like Dewi a great club man and like Dewi somebody who produced brilliant performances year after year, like Dewi, hugely popular, highly respected, modest and unassuming. As a road runner he had no equal when at his best. Among the club’s finest ever natural talents, Ian Hamer was a joy to watch but a nightmare to run against. Ian ran tremendous long and short stages, like Shaun Whelan leading the way home on the opening long stage then two years later running fastest short leg of the day. Mark Morgan, with two fastest-of-the-day long stages is another automatic choice as is Jamie Lewis, yet another to win the first stage, who was also the man who took the Harriers into a lead we never lost in the 1994 victory. Shaun Tobin is a must – a man who totally mastered the mysteries of the tricky Sutton Park course and who apparently had no pain threshold. If ever a man could hurt himself it was Shaun. Cut from the same cloth was the massively loyal Matt Kinane, who fought his way round the tough course on many occasions, wonderfully consistent and a highly popular team-mate whose never say die attitude typified the club’s “we can win” attitude of that era. The graceful Geoff Hill, one of the club’s great naturals, was briefly our long-leg record holder (he set the record on leg five in 1989 only to lose it to Nigel Adams less than 90 minutes later). Geoff also flew round the short leg on one occasion and never had a bad relay run. It was Geoff who, looking round the room at breakfast on race day in 1994 said “we can win today with this team” and he was dead right. Consistency was the watchword for Jerry Hall, who ran the long leg round the old course four times, clocking 26.12, 26.14, 26.12, 26.13 – hard to get more consistent than that – and also for the great Alun Roper, who fills the last place. Another who established complete mastery over the Sutton Park course, Alun ran fast times year in year out and fired up the team in that era with inspirational team talks. He was a one-off and takes the captaincy. So that’s the team with honourable mentions also for Kevin Tobin, Karl Palmer, Andy EynonSteve Smith, Paul Richards and Donald Naylor.

A team needs a carefully thought out running order, so here it is with the luxury of having outstanding long leg runners Ian Hamer and Geoff hill running short (legs 1,3,5,7,9 and 11 are long): Jamie Lewis, Matt Kinane, Mark MorganGeoff HillShaun TobinIan HamerDewi GriffithsGuy SmithKristian Jones, Jerry Hall, Nigel Adams, Alun Roper. Unbeatable!

Choosing a women’s team is far less of an issue because the women’s race over six stages came into existence less than 20 years ago, limiting my choice. However I have been asked to visualise a 12-stage event and this would be spearheaded by Caryl Jones (now Edwards), whose time round the old course was by some distance the fastest ever by a Swansea runner and Verity Ockenden, who has burned up the new course more than once. Teaming up with Caryl and Verity would be Elinor KirkNon StanfordSian EdwardsCatherine Dugdale and, of course, the remarkable Andrea Whitcombe, an all-time great among UK endurance runners. Add to those Amanda Jones, Kate RobertsAlaw Beynon-ThomasEleanor Sherrard-Smith and the brilliant Cari Hughes.

Andrea would have to be captain and running order (assuming same principle of odd numbers being long legs) would be: Elinor KirkAlaw Beynon-ThomasCatherine Dugdale, Elinor Sherrard-Smith, Verity OckendenCari HughesNon Stanford, Sian Edwards,  Caryl Edwards (Jones), Kate RobertsAndrea WhitcombeAmanda Jones.Quite a team packed full of Great Britain & Welsh International athletes,as unbeatable as the men!

Note that whilst we have used the links to their power of 10 profiles where they exist, the power of 10 does not show all historical results. Both our men and women from the 1980s and 1990s have many performances missing, so were an awful lot quicker than you think! Look out for some more senior dream teams in track and field in the coming weeks.

Annual Membership Renewals:

And finally, the club are still collecting individuals annual membership renewals and had been since the end of February you can print a renewal form here ready for when training recommences 2020-2021 Membership Application for New Members & Renewals