A successful weekend at the Midland Championships, held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, saw Rugby & Northampton AC bring home six Midland Champions, three silver medals and two bronze.
Sprint athletics coach, Roy Humphries, has during his 45 years as an athletic coach, has had many successes with his athletes up to Olympic and European level. The Midland Indoor Athletic Championships at the NIA in Birmingham provided the backdrop to the vista of why as coach, you must always strive for success at all levels.
In the sprint events, two of his athletes who are separated by 20 years of age, showed that they were in harmony.
In the Women’s sprints, Ellena Ruddock, an ex-GB International, won the Senior Ladies 200m in a time of 24.81 secs, a time that would have possibly won her a bronze medal in the World Indoor trials at Sheffield on the same day.
Ellena, who has been with Roy for 22 years, and who enjoys her 36th birthday in two weeks’ time, rolled back the years by winning the 60m final by a metre over her younger competitors, in her best time for three years, clocking 7.76 secs.
Now the 20 year gap in age. Ciaran Wardle, who also celebrates his 16th birthday in two weeks, took his first steps to a career that will hopefully follow Ellena’s success.
In showing his potential for the future, his 200m was well worth watching. He won his heat in 22.56 secs, just outside his best outdoor time.
In the final, a poor second phase did not trouble him, and he won the Midland title by a metre in 22.75 secs.
The day before in the 60m event he won his heat in the new PB in 7.26 secs, and in the final he improved further with a time of 7.19 secs, to finish 2nd.
Ciaran now moves on the AAA U17 Championships in two weeks, again at the NIA in Birmingham. Ellena moves on to the British Masters Championships in Lee Valley in London in four weeks, and then onto the European Indoor Championships in Finland in early April, where she must be one of the favourites to win the sprint titles.
It was a good weekend for the hurdlers with two medals coming in the sprint hurdles. Leading from the gun, Luke Townsend won gold in the U17 men’s 60m Hurdles with a personal best of 8.36 seconds, a time placing him 6th in the UK rankings this year. James Wright overcame tough opposition to earn a well-deserved bronze medal in the U20 men’s 60 metre Hurdles with a personal best of 8.21 seconds, taking him to 7th in the rankings.
In her first race over the new height and distance Brittany Wood came 4th in her heat in the U15 girls 60 metre hurdles with a time of 10.90 seconds. Brittany also finish 4th in her shot putt with 7.79 metres - just outside the medals.
In what was a busy weekend for Ella Forsyth competing in a range of events in the U17 women, Ella showed great improvement in her hurdles with a time of 9.89 seconds.
Success also came in the sprints with Simone Ager decisively grabbing gold in the U15 girls’ 60 metres with a superb time of 9.01 seconds.
Timothy Kerr-Chin claimed two sprint medals, with silver in the U15 boys 200m with 24.12 seconds and 2nd in the 60 metres with 7.50 seconds.
Adding to the medals in his sprinting debut, Cage Boons showed his raw talent, running an excellent 7.26 seconds to gain bronze in the U17 men 60 metres to have two R&N athletes on the podium! Grace Adeyinka narrowly missed out on a medal, coming 4th in the U17 women’s 200 metres with 26.85 seconds.
Moving up to the senior ranks at just 19, Tom Johnson, recorded 23.91 secs for the 200m and 7.7 secs for the 60m event.
Many athletes were new to the indoor 200m track were making their debut in the sprints with Megan Exley 4th in her heat with 29.35 and Ella Forsyth, 2nd in her heat with 27.64 seconds, narrowly missing out on a place in the next round. Ellie Sobers came 5th in her 60m heat.
In the U15 girls Tia Clues came 6th in her heat with 8.94 seconds, Flora Courtney 7th with 9.03.
Over the longer distances Libby Lea finished 4th in 200m heat with 29.17 and Adam Wright knocked a chunk off his outdoor pb to finish 4th in the U17 men’s 400m with a time of 55.46 seconds.
Adding to these successes, the club had excellent results in the horizontal jumps. Cage Boons won gold in the triple jump with 13.45m, putting him top of the UK rankings this year.
Another silver medal came for Timothy Kerr-Chin who jumped a distance of 5.87m in the long jump, placing him 2nd in the UK this year.
Simone Ager jumped 4.96 metres to claim the U15 girls bronze, with Tia Clues 7th with 4.40m. Katie Rowe finished 6th in the U20 women’s triple jump with 10.90m. Andrew Reeves was 6th in the senior men’s high jump with 1.75m. Megan Exley came 13th in the U17 women’s long jump with 4.19m. Ella Forsyth came 5th in her triple jump with 9.51 metres.
Despite no medals in the long distance events, there were still some fine performances. Tilly Lea finished 7th in her 800m final with a time of 2:42.52, Chris Lamb 2nd in senior men’s 800m heats with 1:59.26, Flora Courtney 4th in U15 girls 800m final with 2.41.95 and Adam Wright who finished 4th in his heat with 2:07.96.
Only one R&N athlete competed in the junior quadrathon event; Milan Clues was narrowly beaten to a medal and finished 4th with an impressive 1275 points.
Overall a great weekend for the club, with a good mix of athletes competing and best indoor performances at this high quality event over recent years.