Essex 6 & 12 Stage Clubs Virtual Relay 3rd – 5th July 2020

Havering ladies came close to victory and the senior men placed sixth as club athletes tackled their second virtual competition at the weekend, an Essex club’s relay competition organised by Woodford’s Tom Beedell.

The ladies event saw athletes tacking six legs – two of 5 miles and four of 5km – and Havering pushed the Billericay squad all the way before having to settle for the runners up spot.  Ginte Bailey (19:07) posted the squad’s fastest 5km leg, for fifth fastest overall, with Kate O’Neil’s 19:26 effort seventh fastest. Robyn Matson (20:16) and Sophie Rand (20:29) were the other Havering 5km scorers.

On the long leg Morgan Campbell’s 29:58 clocking for the 5-mile distance – was third fastest lady and Lydia Hallam posted a 31:11 leg for fifth fastest. The B team were 12th as Jade Edwards (22:27), Debbie Appleton (22:30), Clare Davies (22:49) and Tracy O’Neill (26:12) ran the 5km legs and Bella Woods (36:21) and Jo Sullivan (41:28) were the 5-mile contestants.

For the men it was 12 lap contests comprising of six legs at each distance. James Connor posted a brilliant 24:18 on Friday for the long 5-mile leg and no one was able to better that all weekend. Ben Davis (26:59), Rob Warner (27:15), Gavin Watts (27:48), Barry Smith (28:13) and James Stewart (29:45) were the other fastest club athletes on the long leg. On the short 5km leg Sam Atkins’ 16:50 run was 11th best overall and Jason Lendon’s 17:20 made the top 20 fastest. Gavin Maley was not far behind with 17:14, with Rob Trevor coming home in 17:34, John Whitehead 17:48 and Martin Chester concluding the scoring six on 18:36 to place the team in sixth.

The B team, mainly comprising veterans, were 11th thanks to the long legs posted by John Barker (30:56), Steve Walker (31:46), Trevor Keys (32:43), Graham Hogan (32:49), Rob Dickenson (33:11) and Darren Priestley (34:11) with the 5km legs contributed by Matt Bland (18:50), Paul Berrett (19:27), Gary Atkins (20:19), Roy James (21:01), Richard Rowe (21:23) and Jon Hart (25:25).

Phased return to training

Havering AC have taken further steps back to full training as they welcomed back athletes from the younger, Under 13 and Under 15 age groups at Hornchurch Stadium this week.

The first phase of training started on Monday 22nd June when older athletes in the Under 17 and above age groups returned. After a successful review the club’s proposal to expand numbers were given the go ahead by their landlords, Havering Council.  Group sizes are still restricted to six, one coach to five athletes, in line with government and England Athletics guidance, which mean that athlete numbers fall far short of the usual capacity. Coaches are managing their sessions carefully to give as many athletes as possible the chance to return to training.  At present all athletics competition remains suspended and all planned events have been cancelled, and we are waiting for updates on what competitions may be held, although this will need changes to existing National guidance.

Club Chairman Tony Benton said “This is an important step for our coaches and athletes and they have responded fantastically to adapting to the social distancing requirements that we have to work to.  A knock-on effect, however, is that we have had to close our waiting list as we can’t consider taking in new members when we’re still unable to accommodate the usual number of club members at our club nights.”


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