Southern Athletics League – Peterborough – Sat 18 May 2019

Last Saturday ESM travelled to Peterborough for the second Southern Athletics League (SAL) fixture of the 2019 season. Having won the opening match at Perivale, joint team managers Jamie Taylor-Caldwell, Patricia Thomas and Chris Hepworth were hopeful of a good result deep in the heart of rural east England. The trio worked hard to assemble a strong squad, and the 49 seater coach was packed full with athletes of all ages, plus a team of dedicated officials. Never before have so many from ESM travelled so far.

You could say it was mission accomplished, with ESM winning the competition ahead of the host club and three other teams from the eastern region. As a result, we now sit top of Division Three North with three matches to go. One of these is at Perivale on 17th August.

To be successful in the athletics backwater that is SAL Division 3N, it can be something of a numbers game, ‘bums on seats’ if you like. The ESM men left just one blank space on the team sheet, namely the ‘B’ string 110m hurdles spot. The ‘A’ string position was gallantly filled by Chris Hepworth, the tallest member of ESM. Chris came through the race unscathed, and later managed to finish second in the ‘B’ string 1500m. Not to be outdone by his co-team manager, Jamie Taylor-Caldwell was equally brave as he took part in the pole vault, triple jump and steeplechase. Rob Brown partnered Jamie in the steeplechase before dashing off to do some sightseeing at Peterborough Cathedral. Nothing like making a day of it!

Members of Pat Cornell’s training squad covered a variety of events, with Ash Conteh and Rowan Board performing well in the sprints, although William Lord was unlucky to sustain a hamstring injury in the 100m. Kai English ran a personal best in the non-scoring 200m as well as gaining useful points in the high jump, long jump and javelin. Oscar Gjesdal won the ‘B’ string long jump with a lifetime best. Towards the end of the afternoon, ESM triumphed in the 4x100m relay.

Gurcharan Singh and Juan Botillo Perez were sorely missed in the opening fixture, but dominated the throwing events here, with Gurcharan achieving a PB in the javelin. He also managed his best ever throw in the discus, but unfortunately it was as a non-scorer. Juan is one of the ESM club coaches, but our team always seems much stronger when he pairs up with Gurcharan.

In the middle distance events, Ben Waterman and Elias Ahmed won both strings of the 800m, with Vitaly Bender and Akira Anzai Jackson running their best ever times as non-scorers. Seweryn Czapka lowered his 800m PB at the recent Middlesex Championships, but dropped down to 400m here, showing sub-2 minute form as he set a best mark of 54.2 seconds. Mo Hashi is the reigning county champion at 1500m/5000m and chose the intermediate distance of 3000m to score a convincing win. Mukhtar Farah finished second in the ‘B’ event, but in the same race non-scorer Reece Asik ran his fastest ever time.

Several female athletes were making their track and field debuts, including Jenny Jones, who bravely doubled at 800/5000m in the damp conditions. Claire King has appeared in many midweek Vets League meetings, but really enjoyed her first SAL competition, covering the hammer, shot and javelin events as ‘B’ string to the more experienced Debbie McCaw. Debbie won the hammer throw in a season’s best of 33.96m. Denise English threw a season’s best in the ‘B’ string discus in only her second SAL appearance.

It’s not often that you see UK champions in action at a SAL, and it was great to welcome new member Tanisha Prince on board. Tanisha is the fiancée of Chris Hepworth, and in March they triumphed in the UK Wife Carrying Race for the second successive year. However, on a rainy Saturday afternoon in the less glamorous surroundings of Peterborough’s Embankment track, Tanisha switched to track and field. After just a couple of brief training sessions, Tanisha took part in six individual events, all of which could be described as ‘technical’ to some degree. Tanisha won the pole vault outright and added another victory in the ‘B’ string 400m hurdles as well as gathering good points in her other events. She even found time to run a solid leg in the 4x100m relay.

Olamide Belewu and Miriam Abdelgader enjoyed successful outings over 100m/200m/4x100m relay, and were not the only ESM athletes to cover multiple events, as Shona Cowper extended her range over 400m/800m/1500m and high jump! Lucy O’Brien finished second in the 1500m and 400m hurdles races along with a useful third place in the flat 400m event.

One of the more surprising results of the afternoon came in the 4x100m. The ESM quartet stormed through to second place after one of the other teams managed to drop the baton. Our team comprised just two specialist sprinters in Olamide Belewu and Miriam Abdelgader, while Lucy O’Brien is better known as a middle-distance runner. Tanisha Prince had no previous experience of relay changeovers, but in the unpredictable world of relay running, her ‘safety first’ strategy paid dividends.

In an attempt to ‘jazz up’ the format by introducing new ideas, the SAL have introduced a mixed 4x400m relay event to some of the fixtures. This is in line with the recent televised IAAF competition, and involves teams comprising two males and two females running ‘A’ and ‘B’ string races. The rules allow clubs to run athletes in whatever order they choose. At Peterborough, Shona Cowper, Lucy O’Brien, Olamide and Miriam joined in the fun, combining with Rowan Board, Elias Ahmed, Mo Hashi and Ben Waterman in the two ESM quartets. An inaugural club record was set in the ‘A’ race, and was nearly beaten in the following race! Full credit to Olamide and Miriam, who had not previously attempted the 400m distance.

We were unable to field any ladies steeplechasers, so if anyone fancies giving this a go in the next match, please contact team manager Patricia Thomas ASAP. The next match is much closer to home at Parliament Hill on Saturday 15th June. All welcome!

Final match scores: 1 Ealing Southall & Middlesex AC 320.0, 2 Peterborough AC 301.0, 3 Huntingdonshire AC 261.0, 4 Braintree & District AC 152.0, 5 West Norfolk AC 87.0

ESM results summary:


100m: A: 2 Ash Conteh 11.6; 200m: A: 3 Ash Conteh 23.5; B: 1 Rowan Board 24.0; NS: Kai English (U20) 23.2; 400m: A: 2 Rowan Board 53.3; B: 2 Seweryn Czapka (U17) 54.2; 800m: A: 1 Ben Waterman 1:55.9; B: 1 Elias Simon Ahmed (U20) 2:01.1, NS: Mohamed Hashi 2:00.9, Akira Anzai-Jackson 2:18.3, Vitaly Bender (U17) 2:16.7; 1500m: A: 2 Elias Simon Ahmed (U20) 4:12.6; B: 2 Christopher Hepworth 4:17.3; NS: 2 Seweryn Czapka (U17) 4:22.1, 4 Vitaly Bender (U17) 4:44.4; 3000m: A: 1 Mohamed Hashi 9:02.3, B: 2 Mukhtar Farah 9:41.5, NS: Reece Asik 9:54.6; Akira Anzai-Jackson 10:04.4; 110mH: A: 2 Christopher Hepworth 28.8; 2000m SC: A: 2 Jamie Taylor-Caldwell 12:06.2, B: 1 Robert Brown (M50) 12:33.8; 400mH: A: 2 Jamie Taylor-Caldwell 67.0, B: 1 Philip York (M55) 2:08.6; 4x100m: 1 ESM 46.2; HJ: A: 2 Oscar Gjesdal (U20) 1.78; B: 2 Kai English (U20) 1.63; LJ: A: 3 Kai English (U20) 5.55; B: 1 Oscar Gjesdal (U20) 5.25; TJ: A: 3 Oscar Gjesdal (U20) 11.24; B: 3 Jamie Taylor-Caldwell 7.29, PV: A: 2 Robert Densley (M65) 1.10;  JT: A: 2 Gurcharan Singh 30.98; B: 2 Juan Botillo Perez (M50) 25.75; HT: A: 3 Gurcharan Singh 22.35; B: 2 Juan Botillo Perez (M50) 18.98; DT: A: 3 Juan Botillo Perez (M50) 28.35; B: 2 Kai English (U20) 23.59; NS: 1 Gurcharan Singh 29.93; SP: A: 2 Gurcharan Singh 9.92; B: 1 Juan Botillo Perez (M50) 9.89


100m: A: 3 Olamide Belewu (U20) 13.6; B: 3 Miriam Abdelgader (U20) 14.3; 200m: A: 3 Olamide Belewu (U20) 28.3; B: 3 Miriam Abdelgader (U20) 30.3; 400m: A: 3 Lucy O’Brien (U20) 67.6; B: 3 Shona Cowper 77.6; 800m: A: 3 Shona Cowper 2:45.5; B: 3 Jennifer Jones 3:56.6; 1500m: A: 2 Lucy O’Brien (U20) 5:29.0; B: 2 Shona Cowper 5:30.5; 5000m: A: 3 Jennifer Jones (W50) 26:59.2; 100mH: A: 2 Tanisha Prince 28.9; 400mH: A: 2 Lucy O’Brien (U20) 87.8; B: 1 Tanisha Prince 93.9; 4x100m: 2 ESM 57.8; HJ: A: 3 Tanisha Prince 1.13; B: 2 Shona Cowper 1.03; LJ: A: 4 Miriam Abdelgader (U20) 3.78; B: 2 Tanisha Prince 2.56; TJ: A: 3 Tanisha Prince 5.94; PV: A: 1 Tanisha Prince 1.75; JT: A: 3 Debbie McCaw (W35) 17.68; B: 3 Claire King (W40) 14.06; HT: A: 1 Debbie McCaw (W35) 33.96; B: 3 Claire King (W40) 11.55; DT: A: 3 Debbie McCaw (W35) 24.04; B: 3 Denise English 12.46; SP: A: 4 Debbie McCaw (W35) 8.15; B: 2 Claire King (W40) 6.75


4x400m: A: 3 ESM 4:14.0, B: 2 ESM 4:15.8


Full results on power of 10