Middlesex Virtual Junior Road Relays – 06 to 13 Sep 2020

Radhika’s Under 11/Under 13 group

With the usual autumn road relays cancelled due to the pandemic, Middlesex AA set up an alternative virtual competition, with a view to giving junior athletes an opportunity both to challenge themselves and to compete against their peers. All surfaces were eligible (track, road, off-road) provided the performance took place between 6th and 13th September and was submitted by 14th September. The U11 and U13 age groups tackled 1500m, while the U15/U17/U20s ran 3000m. The top three times in each age category formed the basis for the team relay result.

ESM’s coaches did a great job of organising our athletes, posting 43 performances in total, with a full team in nine of the ten categories. No other club came close to that.

Debra Booker writes: The majority of our U13 and U11 endurance athletes put on their competitive caps and ESM vests to run 1500m around Perivale Park on Monday 7th September. The Middlesex Road Relays may have been virtual this year, but the effort and the support for each other most certainly were not. Lots of cheering from fellow athletes, parents and grandparents definitely spurred them on to run their best.

The athletes were set off around a pre-measured course at 1 minute intervals with our fastest athletes leading the way. In the U13 category we saw 12 year old Rory Johnston setting the fastest time with a very impressive 04:51 followed by Isaac Mezey with 05:12. Our fastest 11 year old boy was Mika Stripp clocking 05:41. 12 year old Flora Allan posted the fastest time from our pool of girls with 06:36.

Unfortunately we had no U11 girls taking part, but we witnessed some excellent running from our talented and determined U11 boys. Leading this group was 9 year old Jack Hayward with a speedy 05:41 followed by 10 year old Bilal Yusuf with 06:15.

Graham French and Steve Mann timed their athletes on Saturday 12th. The atmosphere was very positive, reports Graham, with everyone cheering each other on, and plenty of good feedback afterwards. There were proper races of up to five at a time, albeit that the immediate competition was other ESM members. Special thanks are due to Reiko & Tom Hewitt, and Sailesh Siyani, who helped with stopwatch duties. Catherine Gallagher was side-lined with a nasty insect sting, but did a great job as cheerleader for her team-mates. 

The Saturday crew

Bridie Lebdiri‘s group of U15/U17s ran their 3k races mainly on the Sunday, though Lauren and Alec had done theirs the previous day. Bridie commented that was more a case of “getting round” and doing it for complete teams, with some tired legs from Saturday football. Arun led over the first four laps, with Jonah, Katie, Lucy and Thomas following in close order. They slowed a little over the next two and then picked up the pace again on the final lap. Jonah was very strong over the last 200m, overtaking Arun.

Some of the older athletes took advantage of the Harrow Open Meeting on Thursday 10th, which featured graded 3000m races. U20 Elias Ahmed submitted the fastest ESM time for the young athlete relays, with an impressive first outing over 3000m on the track. U17 Seweryn Czapka clocked his first 3000m last year, but took 24 seconds off that on this occasion, to achieve our second-best time for the relays. (Other attendees at the Harrow meet also ran well, albeit no longer “young athletes”. Mo Hashi ran a PB of 8:25.17 and John Fielding ran a PB of 9:05.41).

So how did we fare against the competition? Well, as already noted, we were far better represented than any other club, which is always a good start! We were placed first in five categories: U11B, U13B, U17M, U20M & U20W. Our U17W were second and our U13G & U15G were third.

Congratulations also to those six ESM members who posted the fastest legs overall in their age group:

U11 Jack Hayward
U13 Rory Johnston
U17 Seweryn Czapka
U17 Lucy Henson
U20 Elias Ahmed
U20 Katie Hay

It’s good to know our young athletes are in such great shape, so a big round of applause to our coaches who have worked so hard to keep them fit and motivated. For a broader perspective on the event, scroll down to organiser Simon Baker’s commentary.

ESM results summary:

U20M (3000m): Elias Ahmed 08:43, Mohammed Ali 09:03, Oscar Jones 09:59, Arun Manget 10:53, Tom Barry 10:54
U20F (3000m): Katie Hay 11:49, Angel Grimes-McTavish 12:56, Amira Nuseibeh 13:14
U17M (3000m): Seweryn Czapka 08:58, Thomas Edgar 10:42, Rafa Davison 11:07, Jonah Mezey 11:25, Arun Smith 11:33, Thomas Bass 11:55
U17F (3000m): Lucy Henson 11:42, Lauren Beale 13:45, Anna Dussaillant 14:04
U15M (3000m): Alistair Larkam 11:38, Alec Edgar 11:51, Ed Flewitt 15:35
U15F (3000m): Nicola Hewitt 12:27, Rosie Hewitt 12:37, Sonia Ouzhene 13:27, Reha Siyani 14:19
U13M (1500m): Rory Johnston 04:51, Isaac Mezey 05:12, Finlay Vadon 05:38, Kevin Prempeh 05:39, Mika Stripp 05:41, Henry Jones 05:59, Elliot Edgar 06:03, Inian Dhandapani 06:08, Noah Levy 07:03, Junias Lee 08:04
U13F (1500m): Isabela Dussaillant 06:35, Flora Allan 06:36, Adela Davison 07:10, Diya Siyani 07:38
U11M (1500m): Jack Hayward 05:41, Bilal Yusuf 06:15, Marcus Muers 06:39, Ilakian Dhandapani 07:05, Jack Jones 07:13

Full results here. For more photos, see the Facebook page.

Organiser Simon Baker writes:

As the Middlesex Road Relays were cancelled this year the County trialled a virtual race to provide some competition to Juniors who have restarted training after lockdown.  Performances between 6th-13th September on the track, road or taken during training were eligible to be submitted by Clubs.  A club relay competition was also calculated using the three best times submitted by each club in the respective age groups.

Almost 180 Athletes produced eligible performances during the week demonstrating that enthusiasm for running amongst the County’s youngsters remains as high as ever with the range of performances varying from nationally ranked times to U11’s running their first ever 1500m.

The team competitions saw ESM, whose Jack Hayward produced the fastest individual time of 5:41 win the U11 Boys race with London Heathside 2nd.  London Heathside won the U11 Girls race with Serpentine in 2nd place.  First in the U13 Boys race was ESM’s Rory Johnston who recorded an excellent time of 4:51 to lead his team to a win ahead of London Heathside.  Lyra McDonald of VPH&TH produced the fastest individual U13 Girls time with a speedy 5:05.6.  Thames Valley Harriers won the team event ahead of London Heathside.

The U15’s and above had to run 3,000m.  Reece Freeman of Harrow was the fastest U15 Boy while the team race was won by St Mary Richmond with Trent Park second.  Maya Sutaria of Thames Valley Harriers was the fastest U15 Girl with her team just piping London Heathside to the win.  ESM were the winners of the U17 Mens competition ahead of Trent Park with St Mary’s Richmond just ahead of ESM in the U17 Women.  The U20’s saw fewer competitors however ESM managed teams in both U20 categories.  Liam Garrett (LH) and Katie Hay (ESM) were the fastest individuals.

Thank you everyone who took part and the clubs who organised and submitted their results.  We hope it provided an interesting focus for training and a useful fitness benchmark.  Figures crossed we will see all the runners at the Middlesex County Cross Country Championships at Wormwood Scrubs in January 2021.