“Bedford isn’t windy”, said no one ever.
Last weekend saw EUAC head to Bedford to take part in the biggest event in the University athletics calendar; the BUCS Outdoor Championships. Three days in which athletes across the country put revision aside, up their racing game, and turn the banter well and truly on - EUAC were no exception. Beginning the long journey to Bedford on Friday 29th, boredom was killed with Nicole's trivia quiz.
The team arrived bright and early at the Bedford International Athletics Stadium on Saturday morning for the start of the Championships. First up for EUAC was Zach Nolan who put in a great performance, knocking an incredible 11 seconds off his PB in 4:09.59, and only narrowly missing out on qualifying for the semi finals. Taking to the track next were the 100m sprinters. With Club Captain Nick Logan having to pull out due to illness, 400m specialist Jack Lynch took up the 100m challenge against British champion CJ Ujah. Whilst Ujah put in an unbeatable performance, Jack came through strong, breaking his PB in 11.49 - though sadly pulling his hamstring in the process! Putting in an equally resounding performance was next year's Social Sec, Jake Mair, who also stormed through in a fantastic time of 11.39. Becca Silk certainly did not let the team down in the woman's heats, pushing through to a massive personal best of 13.49; surely there’s a sub 13 to come!
Meanwhile on the field Alex Hancock took to the high jump, bouncing back from illness and injury and only just missing out on a qualifying jump for the final with 1.48m. The women showed us how it's done again in the 800m heats with two Fresher's up for the challenge. First was Suzie Reid who finished 4th in her heat in a time of 2:21.50; qualifying her for the semi-finals the following day. In the heat straight after was Penny Oliver who came through strong in her heat with a time of 2:29.93. Following his impressive 1500m PB hours before, Zach Nolan stepped up to the 800m game and stormed through with a PB of 2:00.73; just missing out again on the semi-finals!
Next on the track for EUAC was Lucy Fligelstone in the 400m hurdles, who showed great promise for the season ahead by running a time of 65.42 seconds; automatically qualifying her for Monday's final. Up next was the men’s 3000m Steeplechase with next year’s Club Captain Charlie Critchley battling the barriers “like a gazelle” to finish fourth in his heat; another qualification for Monday's final. As the day came to close Max Beeching took to the 400m, racing a superb 57.47 despite an exhausting day at the champs. Closing the day on a strong footing for EUAC was Nicole Kendall who powered her way through her 400m heat in an extraordinary 56.86; leaps and bounds ahead of her contenders and qualifying her for the semi-finals.
The second day at BUCS saw an early start for Nikita Steiner in the 10,000m who took part in her debut track race only 1 week after her stellar performance in the London Marathon. Unfortunately for Nikita, the judges miscalculated her laps meaning she ran an additional 400m - our very own 10.4km champion! In the men's 10,000m EUAC's Robert Mann and Joachim Tranvag took to the track. Despite Joachim having to pull out mid-race due to injury, Rob stuck closely to the chasing group, pushing his PB pace and smashing his PB with a time of 33:30.22.
We had action on the field with Tom Beckett first up in the triple jump, launching into the pit with 12.55 meters, before producing a great series in the long jump with 5.85 meters. Next up in the jumps was Alex Painting in the men’s high jump. After clearing heights of 1.86 and 1.91, he then attempted a new PB. After three very close attempts the bar was knocked off meaning Alex missed out on the qualification height of 1.94 meters - we're sure there'll be a 2 meter jump in the near future!
After a break from EUAC action, it was time for the women’s 400m semi-finals and Nicole Kendall came through strong in her semi to take the win in a new personal best of 54.59, securing her a spot in the final! From one lap to the sprints of the 200m heats we had Becca Silk, who after her massive 100m PB didn’t disappoint running a great bend and looking comfortable down the home straight; coming home in her second fastest ever time of 28.19. The men's 200m saw Jordan Cochrane produce a fantastic bullet start, powering down the home straight and smashing his PB to 23.97 #themlatsthough. Next up was Jake Mair who strode through the 200m in 23.87 - another sub 24 in his first season back from injury.
Now it was time for the relay heats with a solid team consisting of Jordan, Tom, Max and Jake taking to the 4x100m. All had great changeovers and Jake bought it home in 46.73, beating the likes of Bath and Bristol and thus making us top dogs in the South West - again!
It was finals day and EUAC had three finalists to hot things up at the track. The first final of the day was the women’s 400m hurdles with Lucy Fligelstone. Despite being in lane 8 and having to run blind, that didn’t stop her running her best season opener in a time of 64.47, finishing in 6th and securing EUAC 3 BUCS points. Next was Charlie Critchley coming through in 9:47.47 for his steeplechase, a brilliant performance from him. Our final finalist of the day was Nicole Kendall in the 400m who ended up equalling her time from the semi’s and came through with a silver medal, a great way to round off the championships!
Overall, the championships was a great success for EUAC, we had so many personal and season bests. We secured 10 BUCS points which put us in the top half of the team standings - I’m sure that there is so much more to come within the next few years. Well done team!