Track & Field Report, 24-29 March

Cheltenham Harriers duo Michael Gardiner and Jane Horder each won three medals at the European Masters Indoor Championship in Poland. Horder won the over 55 400m in 68.35 seconds, took gold in the 60m hurdles in 10.15 and was a member of the winning GB 4 × 200m relay team. Gardiner won the vet 45 400m in 53.09 seconds, finished second in the 200m in 23.32 and was a member of the gold wining 4 × 200m relay team.

The third and final Midland Indoor Open saw Harriers’ athletes competing in the sprint and hurdles events in Birmingham. One such debutant was Jeremy Drackett in the men’s 100m who ran a PB of 11.14 in coming second in his race. Equally impressive was Sam Griffiths in the women’s 100m, coming second in her race with an indoor PB of 12.39, which had been preceded by a second place in the 60m in a time of 7.80, only 0.03 seconds outside her PB. Adam Peachey won his 60m race in 7.33, whilst in the under 20 men’s events Ben Clarke just missed his PB in the 60m with 7.53 and finished first in his 100m race with a seasons best 11.62. In the under 17 women’s events, Hannah Tilley and Ruby Phelps both contested the 60m hurdles and 80m hurdles. Tilley was placed 3rd in her 60m race with a time of 9.44, and was making her debut at the longer event, finishing fifth in a time of 12.49. Phelps was competing in her first ever hurdles races. Times of 9.96 for the shorter distance, and 13.38 for the longer race were good markers for the coming outdoor season. In a busy morning, Phelps also ran in the 60m flat, producing a time of 8.31 to finish 5th in her race.

The under 15 girls saw a host of new talent appearing in the Harriers’ colours. Sophie Hefter, Isabella Kilbride, Lowri Shepherd, and Natalie Sodzi were all making their indoor debuts, running in the 60m and 100m sprint races. The pick of these was Kilbride who won both her races, recording times of 8.55 for 60m and a 13.68 PB in the 100m PB. In the same age group Abi Williams finished first in her 60m race in a time of 8.34 and placed third in her 60m hurdles race with a new PB of 9.73. Finally, for the under 13 girls, Helena Shannon produced PBs in both sprint events. In the 60m she was second in a time of 8.54, a PB and also a new Harriers record, breaking the one she had set in February. This places her eleventh in the 2015 UK rankings for this distance. In the 100m, she finished fourth in her race in a time of 13.68 which was also a PB.

In the outdoor throws events at the adjacent Alexander Stadium, Will Sage opened his season with a win in the men’s javelin, throwing 47.56m. Alex Griffiths battled rain and wind to take second place in the under 17 hammer with 36.69m and Ben Wade also had to deal with poor conditions to win the under 15 discus with a PB of 32.98m. Wade also placed third in the shot with a putt of 9.53m. There were two wins for Melissa Bird, throwing 34.22m in the under 17 discus and 10.87m in shot. In the under 15 age group Isabella Kilbride placed fourth in the shot with 6.49m whilst in the women’s events Ruth Bird placed second in the shot with 8.25m and fourth in the discus with a seasons best of 23.05m. At the Barrie Strange Memorial Throws Open at Horspath, Beck Phillips produced a PB in the under 17 shot with 11.14m to take second place and also took second place in the discus with a throw of 38.12m.