South of England Relay Medals for Young Athletes

Roy Clarridge reports:

Thames Valley Harries under 15 girls team came away with third place medals in the South of England cross country relay championships. The home course was extremely dry for this annual event and for once we had our top trio of girls available. On lap one, Ava White was in confident mood as she went off with the leading starters. She soon took the lead and finished her lap in 7:14 which was the second fastest lap of the day. Then Melina Duer who runs better on tougher courses bravely tried to hold on to the seven girls who passed her. Her seventh place finish gave Charlotte Buckley a chance of catching back some of the girls in front. She managed to get up to third place with the fastest time of the day but the Norwich and Walton girls had just too much lead to be caught. Her performance brought TVH home comfortably third. To have the fastest two girls in the race was a great boost for TVH.

The U15 girls ‘B’ team also did well to finish 27th On the first lap Nimah Murphy finished 29th and then Lily Salkeld held that place. Arianna Alonso-Bizzi then had a good run to bring the team home 27th.

The under 17 women were not quite so lucky. With Alice Harray just behind the leaders in 8th place, Amelia Casey improved the team’s chances of medals by finishing 5th. Then Kosana Weir passed two athletes only to be passed by a West Suffolk runner which left the Valley in fourth place. Rose Barkle ran the first lap for the ‘B’ team and finished 15th.

On lap one of the under 13 girls relay, Zakia Mossi had ambitions to break away at the front of the field. Unfortunately this did not happen and she slipped back to 5th place. Lily Dafter was unable to get TVH back to the leaders and brought the team home 7th. Then Kaisa Hanni, who is only just 11, lost places to bring the team home 14th. For the ‘B’ team another 11-year-old, Angel Acheampong was having her first cross country race for the club and did remarkably well to finish 22nd on the first lap. Mabel Salkeld, also 11, ran well to finish 24th but didn’t have a third runner to hand over to.

It was good to get a full under 17 men’s team for the Valley. Lucillo Burrell had an ambitious start but faded later in the race to hand over to Max Buckley in 10th place. It was a bonus to get Max in the team because of half-term he didn’t have school commitments. He managed to gain one place. Likewise, Jake Hooley, who is in his school rowing squad was able to run the third lap. He slipped back and brought the team home in 10th position. Oliver Weintraub fought hard for his 21st place and Nicholas Duer ran steadily for the second lap in a non-finishing team to end up in 17th position.

Our only under 13 boys available were Basil Rock and Charlie Rollo. Basil managed to put his foot down a hole on the course and limped home in 12th place and Charlie had a steady run to finish 17th.

SEAA Cross Country Relays, Wormwood Scrubs, Oct 22, 2016

Under 13 Girls, 3 x 2000m
5, Z Mossi 7:56; 7, L Dafter 9:22; 14, K Hanni 8:59. Team 14th.
22, A Acheampong 8:33; 24, M Salkeld 9:32.

Under 13 Boys, 3 x 2000m
12, B Rock 7:37; 17, C Rollo 8:25.

Under 15 Girls, 3 x 2000m
1, A White 7:14; 7, M Duer 8:10; 3, C Buckley 7:13 (fastest lap).  Team 3rd.
29, N Murphy 8:15; 29, L Salkeld 8:35; 27, A Alonso-Bizzi 8:28.Team 28th.

Under 17 Women, 3 x 2500m
8, A Harray 8:51; 5 A Casey 9:31; 4, K Weir 8:51. Team 4th.
15, R Barkle 10:03.

Under 17 Men, 3 x 3000m
10, L Burrell 10:52; 7, M Buckley 12:03; 10, J Hooley 11:48. Team 10th.
21, O Weintraub 12:12; 17, N Duer 12:33.

England Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee 2016 – Ron Roddan

In 2008 England Athletics started the Hall of Fame to honour those people who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport of athletics. This year the seven inductees included TVH sprints coach Ron Roddan. Ron was presented with his induction award by Linford Christie at the awards ceremony on 15th October.

Ade Mafe who competed for TVH also received an award as part of the Tokyo Men’s 4 x 400m relay team.

England Athletics synopsis of Ron’s athletics career is copied below.

Ron Roddan

As an athlete with Thames Valley Harriers, which he joined in 1947, he was a decent club sprinter who was a medallist at the Middlesex Championships and whose best result was a 50.2 quarter-mile. But as a sprints coach Ron Roddan became a legend. Since he began coaching in 1964 he has guided more than 30 athletes to international status, the most celebrated of course being Linford Christie.

Born in Crewe, Roddan was aged six when in 1937 his family moved to London. As a runner he started at the middle distances, dropping down to the sprints in his early twenties. His transition to training other sprinters was not planned. His own coach retired due to health problems and Roddan, then in his early thirties, was urged by his team-mates to take over. “Initially, I carried on with what my coach had taught us, but then I went on courses, met other coaches and began to put my own ideas to work.”

He was not a professional coach. He worked as an engineer for 15 years, with two years out for national service in the Army, and then was a Geological Society laboratory technician until he was made redundant in 1990. But he always found time to coach, initially at Alperton, then at West London (later Linford Christie) Stadium, and he derived as much satisfaction from helping the less talented to improve as with those who reached the top. “My athletes getting PBs or just running better than they thought they were capable of… those moments make me feel that it is all worthwhile.”

A quiet man, Roddan was always respected by those he advised – a father figure to them. “I’m not pushy. I’m the opposite to what most sprinters are. They’re brash, loud and extroverted. I don’t know what it is but I just seem to be approachable.”  His first major successes were Mick Hauck, who developed into a 46.75 400m performer, and Dick Steane, who set a British 200m record of 20.66 at the Mexico City Olympics. Many more followed before that day in 1979 when a 19 year old by the name of Linford Christie approached Roddan. He had placed second in the English Schools 200m and his best times were 10.7 and 21.8. Christie had talent but in those early days lacked self-discipline. “He just wouldn’t come training and only did when he felt like it,” Roddan recalled.

Following the 1984 season, by which time Christie’s PBs were 10.44 and 21.38, Roddan gave him an ultimatum on the lines of “either work seriously or don’t waste my time.” That was the turning point. In 1985 he clocked a wind assisted 10.20 and early in 1986 he won his first international title, the 200m at the European Indoor Championships. Later that year he succeeded Allan Wells as UK record holder for 100m and the rest is history, a brilliant career climaxed by Olympic (1992) and World (1993) titles. The Roddan legacy lives on as, having learned so much from his mentor, Christie is himself a highly successful coach these days.

Linford Christie presented Ron with his award.
Linford Christie presented Ron with his award.

Silver medals and 5 complete Senior Ladies teams at the South of England XC relays

Congratulations to the TVH senior ladies A-team, Victoria Carter, Tracy Barlow and Sarah Johnson, who won silver medals at the relays on the scrubs on Saturday. Victoria started strong in a very competitive first leg and brought the team home in 13th position. Tracy chased down the other 2nd leg runners and, with the 2nd fastest leg of the day, came back in 3rd position. Finally, Sarah ran hard to bring the team back 2nd overall and only just shy of a gold medal.

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There were 4 other complete teams also working hard to show off the extensive depth of the TVH ladies team. Despite a last minute re-shuffle of the team order we still managed to bring home 2 more teams in the top 20 and 21st and 29th.

Continue reading Silver medals and 5 complete Senior Ladies teams at the South of England XC relays

Win for Tracy Barlow at the First Met League

Once again the first Met League at Claybury Park in Woodford was held on a beautifully warm October day, and we were fortunate that the storms that appeared later in the evening missed the racing completely. Not as dusty as in some years, the lumps and bumps along the grassy paths nonetheless presented a challenge for the unwary.

Continue reading Win for Tracy Barlow at the First Met League