Last Saturday we had our first cross country race of the season! We headed across to Markeaton Park where we had our way with the mud! There was a great turnout for the first race, with many XC debuts! The course was fairly dry with two main hills in the loop (a great opportunity to use those arms we've been building in circuits!).
Lisgos ladies kicked us off, with Kiri had a stormer and came in at 7th Place. Ellie Armstrong was the fastest fresher, coming in just behind Kiri at amazing 8th place! Other notable performances were Katie Buckingham (16th), Megan Gildea (or Gilder lol) (18th), and Lottie Richardson (25th) who worked well as a group and managed to have a great race. Nicola Mead is also making a fab return to the mud after a bit of a break, coming in 53rd place.
In the boys had 3 laps of the course to get round. Aki had a tremendous performance coming 2nd! Our fastest fresher was Owen Thomas (33rd) who had a rapid performance as his first race for UONAC. Shout out to Jordan who managed to get out of bed at 1pm, but being so dedicated and hopping in to a taxi to make it for the race- strong effort. Still managed to have speedy run, coming in at 42nd. Lee Taylor, who is fairly new to running had a great race! Tim Stratton (62nd) also had a solid run, with this race being his first XC in a while! A superb effort from Will Morris (35th), Matteo Gala (49th) and Sam Gale(49th). All three worked really hard and ended up being some great performances.
Overall a wonderful start to the xc season. Keep up the good training! #roadtobucs
7th October 2017 saw the annual Welcome Relays take place at the Wollaton Hall, Gardens and Deer Park. Similar to previous iterations of the Relays, the event saw a sizeable turnout with a good mix of new members and returners alike. We also had alumni members come back, like Allan Wilson and Vincent Ly, ex committee members, gracing the relays.
The blustery wind did not hinder the high spirits among the members, who were taking the time to warm up to each other. The race started in earnest soon after the team allocation, with the effervescent Adam Houchell flagging off the first leg with the trademark loudspeaker. Notably, there were some new names pitched against old veterans of the Club, putting in strong performances all round.
The race provided for an intriguing battle between all teams, with no clear leader at any one point in time. Spectators were kept on their toes wondering who was in the lead and who were in close pursuit of the leaders. It all unravelled in the last leg, with Team K consistently placing higher each leg and their runners skilfully picking their opponents one by one. Team K was aided by the late introduction of Bruce Beckett; in fact, 5 minutes before the start of the last leg, no one was due to run for Team K's last leg! But Bruce, warmed up from his Futsal match, ran a steady 7:34 which was well short of his previous Relay timings, to take a resounding win for Team K. Team E and Team A followed close behind to round off the podium spots.
While each runner had put in solid timings for their respective legs, commendation must be given to the following runners. Akiharu Kitagawa, treating the Relays as part of his training, was the only runner who cracked 6:00 at 5:54 and is undoubtedly the Fastest Male. Moreover, Aki had a go on the course twice - truly remarkable stuff. Katie Lord had also put in a commendable shift, coming in as Fastest Female at 7:01. Like Katie, Ellie Armstrong's performance was an indication of the Club's promising season ahead, coming in as the Fastest New Member (Female) at 7:06. Last but not least, George Wheeler came close to breaking the 6:00 barrier and was the Fastest New Member (Male) at 6:00.
In all, it was a good day of strong running, new friendships formed and some sick pictures taken by Lee Taylor. With Ed Prickett's and the proposed Varsity series on the horizon, the Welcome Relays have been a precursor for an exciting season to come.
|Leg 1||Leg 2||Leg 3||Leg 4|
|Rank||Name||Individual Time||Name||Individual Time||Name||Individual Time||Name||Individual Time|
|1||Akiharu Kitagawa||5:54||Tim Stratton||6:13||Jody Meredith||6:48||Akiharu Kitagawa||6:03|
|2||George Wheeler||6:00||Allan Rees||6:18||Alessio||7:50||Rhys Gibson||6:20|
|3||Jack Allison||6:08||Sherwin Goh||6:48||Lucy Brett||8:56||Will Morris||6:40|
|4||Rhys Gibson||6:12||Chloe Bird||7:06||Rea Steinberger||8:58||Ben Brown||7:24|
|5||Will Morris||6:13||Natasha Taylor||7:07||Sally Rose||8:58||Bruce Beckett||7:34|
|6||Oliver Dighton||6:14||Katie Buckingham||7:34||Ella Morgan||9:10||Ellie Armstrong||7:35|
|7||Harry Buchanan||6:15||Roussy||7:41||Nicola Mead||9:12||Emma Delgado||7:41|
|8||Calum Duck||6:57||Alice Hughes||8:00||Robbie Bird||9:18||Megan Gildea||7:44|
|9||Katie Lord||7:01||Jacob Hodge||8:13||Letitia McMullan||9:31||Calum Duck||8:17|
|10||Ellie Armstrong||7:06||Fran Francis||8:22||Harriet Parker||9:41||Amy Jackson||8:32|
|11||Megan Gildea||7:06||Harry Webb||8:38||Isabelle Pola||10:24||Katie Lord||8:41|
Welcome to the brand new home of the University of Nottingham Athletics Club!
For those who don't know, Dan Leng asked me to create a new website for the club at the end of July, as a place to collect all of our race reports, PBs, training things and pretty much everything you could imagine. Because I have no life, I accepted, and now, 200 hours of work later, here we are!
This new website is not entirely finished, as you will find when you click on the "Athletes" tab. Some of the things we want to do won't be possible until people start coming back to Nottingham, so you'll have to sit tight for now. We'll let you know when we get that ready, although (sneak preview) I need to borrow EVERYONE in the club at some point for about half an hour each once you come back to Nottingham. We have BIG plans for this section of the page, and right now we intend to keep it a (very badly kept) secret!
Right now, the website is in a sort of "life-support" mode. This means that every little change that appears on the website, including these articles, has to be done manually by me in SQL injection and all sorts of horrible things have to happen to get it to work. That won't do long term, so I'm gonna make an Admin section to the website to let approved users sign in and submit and edit things, so that I can pass off all of the hard work I have to do to other people and I can go back to my own boring life. That's in the works already, but it's stupidly complicated and may take some time. (Ever wonder why websites cost so much to make bespoke? It's because EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING needs to be molly-coddled and written perfectly and it takes FOREVER!)
In addition to this, we're also gonna look at making a separate microsite for the Ed Prickett Relays, as opposed to the page they are currently on. This means a lot of extra work, so I'm not gonna do that until this one is perfect, but hopefully it should all be ready in time for the actual event (which would be nice, ya know!).
In the meantime, enjoy your new website!
So that's it! As the year comes to a close, I just want to thank you all for a fantastic time at UoN Athletics! There have been some brilliant performances and PBs throughout the year on the track, road and grass, and I'm proud to see the improvements made by so many of you.
Well done for all the hard work put in at training - all the hours spent putting the miles in on the road (Daniel Leng, Chloe Bird), at the track (Ailsa Malcolm, Nick Lawrence - when your calf permits), in the pool (Adam Thorpe, Will Morris), at the gym (Pierre Celestin Walker), in the library (Vincent Ly) or in Crisis (Jack Allison, Daniel Cresswell, Bruce Beckett), it's great to see the hard work paying off!
But seriously, it has been a pleasure to share this year with you all - a top year with great people that I will not forget! A special big thanks to everyone on committee this year - you have all put in a big shift for the club, and I am very grateful for that. Best of luck to you all for next year, and whether you are staying with the club or moving on, please keep up the training! Those staying, I know that you have a lot to look forward to next year, and will be in safe hands with the new committee.
I look forward to seeing you all again at some point in the future (likely either at a race, or (more likely) at a social when I inevitably get bored of post-Nottingham life). I hope you all enjoy your summers, and come back ready to smash it again next year!
That's all folks! Your university year of racing is complete! Finishing it off in style we took some of our finest athletes to the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont for a great night of racing. The 10 Mile course was a couple of windy laps around the boating lake and with miraculously scorching weather and little cover from the elements it was to provide a stern test indeed.
Aki Kitagawa, fresh off the back of his incredible Highgate performance set off in his typical fashion, slowing building into his running. Meanwhile road lover Dan Leng tried his best to keep a tight leash between the two of them, hoping it would set him on course for a sub 58min clocking. After the first few miles there wasn't much between them with Dan starting strongly. Slightly further through the field we had Rob Middlewick and Calum Duck working well together to push each other to good times. After a turbulent couple of months with injuries it was great to see Rob able to push himself on once more and equally see Calum demonstrate his level of improvement from the start of the year.
A few other athletes who have made an extraordinary improvement this year include Josh Gardiner, Allan Wilson and Lee Taylor, all of whom looked to settle in well and with their great performances at recent parkruns, they were hoping for more strong performances. By the midpoint gaps were forming between our athletes. Aki picked off those ahead and powered on to a mighty impressive 9th place in 54.02. Sadly a couple of troublesome final miles prevented Dan from his sub 58 target but given the blustery conditions, crossing the line in 58.28 and 22nd place was no mean feat.
The exciting battle between Rob and Calum continued right to the final stages with Rob really building the pace towards the line, but this only dragged Calum with him and in the end both delivered very credible times of 1.03.43 for Rob and 1.03.53 for Calum. Having suffered slightly in the heat, Josh still managed 1.10.48 and Allan with another stormer ran 1.12.32, at a pace not much slower than that of his 5km time, showing his prowess over the longer stuff. Lee also finished well with his time of 1.46.21, demonstrating how well he's progressed since running some more with us.
So to the 1 Mile Championship and long-term absentee Lori Marshall made a more than welcome return to racing after battling with her stress fracture. The straight mile alongside the boating lake was run completely into a headwind so any quick times were impossible, or at least so it seemed. Lori started fast and quickly turned the women's race into a head to head with fellow Notts AC athlete Lucy Holt. Taking the win on the sprint finish Lori made the return to racing we all hoped to see, running a terrific 5.05, just 3 seconds off her track PB. I'm sure a massive relief to come back so strong after all her hard work over winter.
What better way to finish a superb year than with a win! Thanks to all of you who have got involved with our club throughout this year. You've made mine and Dan's experience as your XC Captains a truly memorable one and we've loved every minute. We really hope you've enjoyed experiencing some new challenges and successes so thanks again to all who have made this year so special.
Dan & Adam
Due to the immense success of our previous venture to Long Eaton, we added a repeat of the event to our Summer Road Series as the penultimate race of the year. We had 14 athletes escaping exams for the morning to stretch their legs and drop some sharp parkrun times once more and after such a successful first race here it would be great to match that level of performance again.
Adam Houchell carried on his good form of late, going fastest on the day running 15.38, putting him 4th on the list of all time Long Eaton Parkrun performers, just one second behind Jack Millar's run a few weeks prior. Particularly impressive considering Adam spent the majority of the race trying to start his watch. Jack followed home in 3rd this time with 16.41, playing the hare for Dan Leng who set a new best of 16.49. He must have been happy because you could hear his feet clapping himself home for the final mile. The ever-consistent Will Morris put in another shift running 17.12 and Matteo Gala made a long-awaited return to racing with his 18.07, presumably using the alcohol from the night before as a pain killer for his recent injuries. Conor Vale made one of his best performances this year to finish 12th in 18.27, good to see him back looking strong.
Our ladies were a dominant force once again with Hannah Novakovic storming home first in 18.50 and Lottie Richardson ran 19.42 to follow in 2nd, a whole five-minute improvement from the start of the year and a real testament to her progress and commitment. Beth Neal was finally running once more after her incredible marathon performance and subsequent knee troubles and her fitness seems as good as ever as she ran 20.52. Fiona Starkey added to the great female performances with her 21.47 clocking.
One athlete who looks stronger every race is Josh Gardiner and he grinded out a hard solo run to best himself yet again running 19.00. Chris Thomson fought a tough race with Lottie after having battled the whole way round Colwick 5k together a couple of weeks earlier. He managed to forge on in the final stages to finish six seconds ahead in 19.36. The best performance of the day came from Allan Wilson in 20.20 and after so many gutsy runs throughout the season I think more than deserved. Maybe yoga is all that was needed to help Allan find his best form! Matthew Grammatico rounded up a memorable day out in the summer sun with his run of 21.46.
It was fantastic to see so many of our athletes enjoying getting out and running again even in the midst of exams so thanks to all who turned out! It was a lovely atmosphere and fitting opportunity for our president Jack Millar to enjoy his lap of honour and don the university colours for one final time. Can't believe the year is nearly over!
For the first ever Nottingham University Summer Series race a contingent of eight Nottingham University athletes headed to Colwick Nature Park for a successful 5k.
Despite hiding at the back of the starting pack, Jack Millar came to the front of the race within the first kilometre. Jack had disappeared from everyone else's view by 3k and finished his 'tempo' run in a solid 16.10. This meant Jack finished more than one minute and eight seconds ahead of the nearest runner. The next University athlete was Daniel Leng who, having only decided to race ten minutes before the start, still produced a respectable performance to finish third in a time of 17.21. Daniel Nash followed behind in a solid time of 18.48.
The first PB of the day arrived with Josh Gardiner (9th) edging ever closer to the 19-minute mark in a time of 19.11. Next up to the line was Chris Thompson who put in a big sprint to go past the winner of the lady's race Lottie Richardson. Chris (10th) and Lottie posted respective PB's of 19.47 and 19.53 meaning both broke the 20-minute mark for the first time!
Having had a tough time with injuries this term, Matthew Grammatico raced well to conclude his race in a time of 21.47. Our final finisher was Lee Taylor who managed run under 30 minutes for the first time ever in a time of 29.55. This meant that the University of Nottingham rounded off the race with four PB's and even though Jack Millar ran for Bristol, we also managed to claim the men's team prize (Daniel, Daniel and Josh).
Unfortunately, our next summer series fixture, the Trent five miles is booked out so no one else can enter. Next after that will be the Long Eaton Parkrun on the 4th of June, I hope to see lots of you there!
The 13th annual Ed Prickett Memorial Relay took place on Saturday the 18th of March at the University of Nottingham. The University of Nottingham Athletics Club (UoNAC) hosts the event every year in memory of former UoNAC athlete Ed Prickett, who was sadly killed in a road traffic accident whilst at the British Universities Track Championships. Half the proceeds from the event are donated to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund (RPMF) - a charity Ed Prickett benefitted from - and despite soggy conditions, with impressive 165 runners turned up to support the cause.
We had teams travel from all over the country with university clubs which included Birmingham, Loughborough, Keele, coupled with many running clubs attending, Sheffield Running Club, Reigate Priory AC, Notfast AC, Pierrepont AC, Beeston AC, The Running Wilbury's, Crawley AC, Mansfield Harriers, IMS and Mixed Teams, and our Alumni teams who supported us. All runners steadfastly started off in their respective teams undeterred by the soggy weather conditions, holding their pace throughout to produce some cracking times.
Birmingham A team won the men's race (4 legs), finishing in an impressive 45:39. This was followed by Loughborough A team and Keele A team who ran equally impressive totals of 47:25 and 48:03 respectively. The Nottingham A team narrowly missed out on first place in this year's women's race (3 legs) with a total of 43:04, just 6 seconds behind Loughborough A team who once again won with a fantastic total of 42:58. In third place, we had Nottingham C team, who finished the course in 47:33. Team Mungai came first in the inter-mural sport (IMS) category with a time of 61:08, and in the mixed team category, we had Stuart's Dream Team who finished in 59:15.
Unfortunately, the already tough course was altered once again this year due to construction around Highfields Park at University Park Campus, bringing the distance up to a gruelling 2:37 miles. The racing had a longer run along University Boulevard, moving on to the gruelling Portland Hill followed by the trepidation of striding up the Keighton Hill and this was not without some punchy steps taken, before embarking on the sprint finish on the Downs, however, were kept as a traditional part of the relays.
With all the teams, having run brilliant times all round, the individuals to run the fastest legs were Jonny Davies of Birmingham A team who finished in 11:05. Our very own Chloe Bird of Nottingham AC women's X team who finished with an impressive performance of 14:08 time. Shortly followed with a fastmoving performance from Hannah Novakovic in women's Y team with a time of 14:23 and speedy stepping behind in the women's Z team, Megan Gildea who performed a time of 14:33.
The next remarkable run took place with the Nottingham AC C men's team, Tom McGuinness who performed an outstanding time of 11:19. In the men's, A team, our own running legend, Jack Millar performed an amazing time of 11:39 and tailing next in the men's AC B team, speedy Adam Houchell grabbing an impressive time of 12:25. Shortly followed by another group of fast paced men, who held no punches, to dazzle on the running circuit: Rob Middlewick: 12:55, Bruce Beckett: 12:56, Jack Alison: 13:00, Will Morris: 13:03, and Dan Leng: 13:04, delivered a solid performance for their respective teams.
Overall, on the university platform, the University of Nottingham AC men and women teams did not disappoint or let the wet and muggy weather conditions hold them back by navigating themselves through the race route, with steam coming off their running shoes before hitting a penultimate finish. Despite this, very impressive, performances produced across the board.
A massive thank you to the numerous people who helped organise the event, making this an amazing and successful event, especially to Mr and Mrs Prickett for supplying us with the medals awarded to the fastest male and female. Thank you also to everyone else for attending despite it coming down in buckets all day! Next years Ed Prickett Relays will be organised by a new "Home Fixtures team" Kelvin Leong and Chris Fielding, we wish good luck and every success to them both for an enjoyable relay race day in 2018.
We hope everyone had a wonderful day.
Allan and Rea
Known to be a flat and fast 5k, the Long Eaton Parkrun was added to our race schedule at the start of this term. A large contingent of 20 University of Nottingham athletes attended this inaugural fixture and with over 10 PB's the event was a big success.
Having led from the front Jack Millar stormed around the course in a time of 15.37. Although this time didn't qualify Jack for the BUCS 5k, it was another impressive performance for our president who had been aptly paced by Aki Kitagawa for the first few kilometres. Tom McGuinness also had a strong run and followed just 20 seconds behind in second place.
With our first two athletes comfortably up the road, it was left to Daniel Leng to round up the top three University athletes. Despite claiming he had finished in under 17 minutes on Strava, the Parkrun results dubiously suggested otherwise and Daniel was left with a time of 17 minutes' dead and a new 5k PB! Chris fielding then added to this list of official 5k PB's by finishing 10th in a time of 17.40. This time is made all the more impressive given that Chris was taken out by a dog during the parkrun. The tide of PB's continued to arrive with Callum Duck's storming performance which saw him finish just under 18 minutes in a time of 17.57. Daniel Nash backed this up with another PB of 18.35, which is almost 2 minutes quicker than his previous PB!
Next up were our vice president elect and president elect battling it out to be first lady to cross the line. Megan Gildea went past Katie Buckingham to finish in a time of 19.17 although Katie was only three seconds behind! This also meant that there were another two PB's and that the PB tidal surge was now turning into a PB tsunami.
Having not done a race over 1500m for four years, Makun Madar finished as the first track and field athlete in a time of 19.29. This was yet another PB and Makun was closely followed by Kelvin Leong in a time of 19.38. Needless to say, this was yet another very impressive personal best. Next up, Lottie Richardson just missed out on a sub 20 minute 5k in a time of 20.01. This was Lottie's quickest time ever and means she has knocked off 4 minutes from her 5k time at the start of the university year! Vincent Ly also just missed out on a sub 20 5k, having been effectively paced around by Adam Thorpe up until the 3k point and PB'd in a time of 20.07. Beth Neal followed Vincent but was just short of her own personal best of 19.58, finishing in a time of 20.16. Only two seconds behind, a hugely improved Michael Gaynor did manage to PB and stopped his clock at 20.18. Sam Towell and Harry Ellis also completed the course in personal record times of 20.26 and 20.39. Allan Wilson also managed to sneak under 21 minutes in a time of 20.50 and was the 14th athlete of the day to run a personal best.
Emily Starman and Dayannah Ahmad rounded up a memorable morning by finishing in 24.04 and 25.12 respectively. This was Dayannah's fastest 5k and Emily only just missed out on finishing in the top 100! With 14/17 finishers running their own PB's that means that there was an 82.3% PB rate which is double what the British Milers Club claims to achieve at their races. Thanks to everyone that came for what felt like a very worthwhile morning. We may even do it all over again next term!
A long but successful weekend at the EIS Sheffield kicked off on Friday afternoon with Dom in the 60m coming home with a strong 3rd place in his heat (7.21 sec). He was followed on the track by Sally who ran a respectable 8.93 sec to finish 6th in her 60m heat. Whilst the heats of the 60's were going on in the field our scholar Tatum opened her BUCS debut with the shot putt, throwing an impressive 13.22m securing herself an automatic place in the final on Sunday. Next on the track was Sam in the 60mH who came in 6th place in his heat (9.81 sec). This was shortly followed by the women's 60mH where we saw Tatum ease through to the semis in her second event of the day (8.61 sec). Jack A was the first of the middle distance runners to compete over the weekend, running his 800m heat in 1:59.77 finishing in a respectable 3rd place. Jack was shortly followed by Katie (2:33.67) and Emma (2:31.00) in the women's 800m who both finished 6th in their respective heats. Tatum finished the day off for UoNAC in the 60mH semi finals, with a commendable run of 8.70 sec (5th place) which unfortunately wasn't enough to see her through to the final in arguably one of the most competitive events of the weekend's schedule.
It was an early start on Saturday morning with Will and Adam in the 1500m heats, Will finished in a respectable 6th place with 4:16.66 and Adam had a cracking run to qualify for the semis after finishing 4th in a fast heat. He went on to knock almost 5 seconds off his qualifying time to finish 9th in his semi with a personal best time of 4:01.67! PB's were coming in thick and fast in the 1500m as the girls followed in Adam's footsteps as we saw Katie make her second appearance on the track to run a new personal best 5:12.85 to finish 8th in her heat. Megan had a fantastic weekend qualifying for the semis where she finished 8th with a time of 4:55.36, which beats the PB she set in the heats by 1 second and her PB before the weekend by almost 3 seconds. It was over 2 laps that Makun made his 2017 BUCS debut with a Christine Ohuruogu style finish getting him into the semis in third place (51.50 sec). Over in the field our jumpers made their first appearance with Donelle and Tatum in the long jump both putting out respectable jumps (Donelle - 5.19m, Tatum - 5.48m). Tatum's first round jump was enough to see her through to Sundays final, but due to a slight injury picked up during the second jump she was unfortunately unable to jump in the final and had to withdraw from the high jump qualifiers - however we still had her shot putt final on Sunday to look forward to. The Track Captains also had their time in the pit with Harry in the long jump, 4.97m and Beth in the triple jump, 11.21m was enough to see her through to the final on Sunday. President Jack M was next up with a very strong run comfortable seeing him through to the 3000m final. Chloe represented the girls in the 3000m running an excellent race to come home with a PB of 10:46.33 and 9th place in her heat. The women's 4x200m relay finished a successful day with 3rd place in their heat (1:54.70). Holly got us off to a good start, passing the baton to Ailsa who had an excellent run, moving us up into a better position to give our relay substitute Donelle a good chance, despite the fact she required a lot of convincing to run the relay she had a very solid run and passed the baton to our last leg in a strong position and Becca brought us home well to finish in 3rd.
The final day of competition was a day of finals, starting with the women's triple, women's shot and then concluding with the men's 3000m. An excellent early throw of 13.75m put Tatum in medal position from the word go and ended up with her first BUCS medal (hopefully the first of many!) she had some very good throws in the later rounds but were unfortunately no throws, but 13.75m was still good enough to comfortably give her 3rd place. Jack M had a cracking run in his 3000m final, to come home with 7th place in a very exciting race whilst knocking almost 20 seconds off his PB (8:33.20). Ailsa was on the track again in the morning for her 200m heat in which she came 4th with 27.82 sec. She was shortly followed by Makun who came home in 3rd with 23.36 sec. After a short break Makun was back on the track for his 400m semis, another strong finish secured him a new indoor PB of 51.16 sec (4th place).
Thank you to everyone who competed and those that came to support. Keep training hard as it's not long now until BUCS outdoors!
After many months of 'building', the day had finally arrived. An enormous 59 of us travelled to Sheffield for the British University Cross Country Championships in Graves Park and what a course they had in store for us. Hills, hay bales and plenty of mud were the order of the day for the 1991 competitors. After a final pep talk from Coach Lisgo, with the key message to 'not get drawn in' being deeply emphasised we watched on as the Men's A race burst into life.
Following a superb run out in Spain prior to the event, an aspirational Sam Stevens positioned himself at the head of the pack with Adam Houchell sitting on his shoulder. The downhill start meant a vicious pace over the first kilometre but when the gradient reversed we began to see packs begin to form. The top 10 containing Sam forged a small gap to the rest of the field, but not far behind Jack Millar and Tom McGuinness had grouped up with Adam. The punishing course began to take its toll with athletes continually shifting positions based on how well they had paced their effort. Aki the master of this art continued to sift his way through the field picking up well over 50 places to draw level with Jack and they ploughed on together, neither willing to accept one was better than the other in what was their first race together. The vehement competition between one another made for an exhilarating watch, with Millar's face etched with grit, pain and determination and Aki's pure focus. These two were not without challenge though as Tom reeled them in on every hill, showing his prowess from his fell running days. Nathan too had provided a strong run, forcing his way up towards Adam, setting the stage for many epic final lap battles. It was hard to judge just how well our team was doing overall, but it looked like we might just get our four scorers home within 60.
Thanks to some of the greatest support our athletes have ever received they continued their assault on the final lap of the course. Was it still too early to consider that BUCS points were realistic? Tom tenaciously battled through to pick up some crucial final positions. Stevens 15th, Kitagawa 34th, Millar 43rd, McGuinness 50th; was it enough? Either way, with all 6 athletes coming home in around the first hundred athletes it would be without a doubt one of the greatest performances from a Nottingham team in many a year...
The women's race had reason to keep you on the edge of your seat too. In what was the largest race of the day it was always going to be quite a spectacle and with our girls covered in war paint they were ready for the challenge. Yet again we had a strong team and with no set A team runners in the women's event anybody could step it up on the day to score for the team. Hannah Novakovic looked serene as she set the early pace for our team, closely followed by Kiri Marsh and Alice Reed. The first lap was a logjam with no athletes able to make any real inroads on those ahead, but as the hills started coming thick and fast we saw some movement.
After a fierce fight at Wollaton, Amber Reed and Megan Gildea looked set for a repeat with neither gaining any real advantage over the opening kilometres. Megan gradually distanced herself as the race went with on, showing her recent consistency. The biggest surprise came from behind though with Charlotte Richardson running incredibly strongly. Seemingly thriving in this previously unfamiliar territory she continued climbing through the field, setting up for her best performance of the season. The terrain provided a stern test for the athletes as conditions worsened throughout the race but our eventual scorers packed well with Alice pacing her effort best to come home in 80th, closely followed by Hannah in 87th and Kiri in 91st, all finishing within 20 seconds of each other. A very strong showing from a team plagued with injuries, but showing off the depth of our team extremely well. It was nice to see some true green and gold spirit too as Kate Backhouse, Issie Forrest and debutant Michelle Ruas crossed the line arm in arm.
The Men's B race epitomised what BUCS cross country is about, with war cries and mocking chants from all teams, it was more like a battlefield than a start line. The eruption of noise as the gun went was enough to send shivers down anyone's spine. Similar to the women's race there was a bottleneck at the first corner, so getting a swift start was vital and our lads all seemed to get away reasonably well. Having continually delivered on the university circuit this year, Dylan Stanway stuck on Adam Thorpe's shoulder for the first lap, eventually settling back with Rob Middlewick who was in a rich vein of form, despite injury. The pace was strong even with the deterioration of the course and most people managed to successfully negotiate a particularly muddy ditch, with just one or two exceptions...
After such a big lead up to the event, none of the athletes wanted to be beaten by their teammates and from the many rivalries that are ridden throughout the team, Dan Leng, Bruce Beckett and Lewis Fagge were in a tight contest of their own. Come the finish Dan Leng narrowly maintained his lead to beat Bruce by just one place in 147th and 148th respectively. Fortunate really, as it meant no trees came to harm post-race. The hay bales proved a welcome addition to the course too, giving something to look forward to each lap, especially for the likes of steeplechaser Dan Cresswell. Starting more aggressively than we've seen before Ewan McLachlan targeted Chris Fielding and was rewarded with a noticeable improvement on Wollaton and one of his best runs to date. Overall the team performed supremely, finishing much higher than last year with Adam 53rd, Rob 96th, Dylan 103nd and Will Morris 107th.
After a painful wait and watching Jack Millar constantly trying to work out whereabouts we might have come, the scores finally came through. Our men's team had come 5th! BUCS points! A terrific and immensely relieving result and a true showing of what Nottingham Athletics Club has really become. This just topped off a cracking weekend with such tremendous success thanks to all our athletes putting on a fine display. To celebrate everyone's endeavours we had a lovely squad meal, followed by a night out in Sheffield. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a fantastic team and to have made such a good trip of the championships. It really wouldn't have been the same without you all! Can't wait till next year now... How long till then again?
XC Love - Adam & Dan
On 1st February a strong group of 11 UoN athletes competed at the Steel Cup held at Sheffield, where 12 different university teams compete against each other in a points-based event.
There were strong performances all round with SB's across the board and importantly everyone leaving injury free! Some standout performances to note include:
This all sets us up very well for a successful BUCS indoors in a couple weeks time.
Women competing were: Sally Best (60m, Relay), Beth Mortiboy (Triple Jump), Donelle Arulandam (Long Jump, Relay), Bernice Coulson (High Jump, Relay)
Men competing were: Pierre Walker (60m, 200m, Relay), Makun Madar (200m, 400m, Relay), Michael Jones (60m, Relay), Olly Shad (400m), Dominic Burnham (Relay), Jack Allison (800m), Harry Ellis (Long Jump)
With BUCS Cross Country looming large the final instalment of the North Midlands Cross Country League was always going to provide for an interesting watch. This race provided the final measure of performance for all athletes wanting to run in the famous green & gold vests before the biggest university race of the year.
In good conditions, six University of Nottingham athletes lined up for the start of the women's race. Having finished as the second University of Nottingham athlete at the Derby and Kettering races, Amber Reed looked to go one better by leading the University home on a familiar course. However, Megan Gildea provided another improved run and both athletes were neck and neck going into the final one hundred meters. In a Korir-esque sprint, Megan strode ahead of Amber to finish 18th in a time of 24.28 whilst Amber finished three seconds behind in 20th place. Outside of the individual battles, Hannah Fleet rounded up the women's team performance by finishing 30th in a time of 25.40. This meant that the women's team finished a notable 4th for the Wollaton Park fixture.
However, the impressive performances didn't end there. Charlotte Richardson finished 38 places higher than she did in the first North Midlands fixture in a time of 25.52 (37th). Hayley Mills, in her first North Midlands race, just missed out on a top 50 finish finishing 53rd in a time of 26.44. Fiona Starkie rounded off a good race by finishing 61st in a time of 27.14.
With the women's race wrapped up, the 16 Nottingham University athletes amassed at the starting line for the men's race. However, for this race there was an added dynamic. Three places were available for the Universities 'A' team at BUCS Cross Country. As it turned out, some athletes thrived and others took a distinct nose dive in the face of this opportunity.
With most athletes getting involved in a borderline sprint for the first 400 meters, Aki Kitagawa ran a controlled race pulling past the initial front runner Adam Houchell. In fact, despite being outside the top 20 for the first half a mile Aki pulled his way through the field to finish 3rd in a time of 34.54. A textbook run meant that the Aki effectively guaranteed his spot in the men's 'A' race for BUCS Cross Country. Having headed the University runners for the first mile or so, Adam Houchell also held up well and whilst he couldn't hold onto Aki, he stayed well clear of the rest of his teammates. Adam finished 12th in a time of 36.33 and now looks good for the BUCS A race. Finally, first year runner Nathan Gibson managed to finish as the third-place University runner with a time of 37.04 (18th) which puts him in pole position to take that final spot in the BUCS 'A' race.
Of the other performances that stood out, Robert Middlewick provided yet another impressive performance to finish 32nd in a time of 37.58. Rounding up the impressive second place team finish for the Universities men's team Will Morris finished 41st in a time of 38.18. Bruce Beckett (46th), George Russell (60th), Daniel Cresswell (63rd),Sam Broomhead and Will Bloomer (94th) all also provided outstanding runs in a good field to finish top one hundred. Conor Vale (129th), Ewan McLachlan (131st), Allan Wilson (195th) and Michael Gaynor (222) capped off a good season of North Midlands races.
And yes, there were sixteen athletes who started the race not fourteen. Unfortunately, Adam Thorpe who had been going toe to toe with Nathan for the third spot in the BUCS 'A' race was unfortunate to roll his ankle going into the final kilometre. This forced him to drop out. I also dropped out.
Our final finish to the North Midlands Cross Country season was a good one and added another podium finish to the first two provided by Jack Millar at the Derby and Kettering races. Things are looking good for BUCS Cross Country in two weeks' time!
The culmination of hard work over the autumn semester had come to this; Leeds Cross Country Relays. We took a 25 strong team up to West Park, a change of venue to previous years. The new course presented a challenging test for all athletes with a mix of light gradients, muddy sections and a very distracting social sec wielding a megaphone.
A small but stacked women's field toed the line to contest the first race and an alarming pace was set from the moment the gun went. A group of four containing our very own winner from Holme Pierrepont Hannah Novakovic began to break clear in the early stages, with Beth Neal and Emily Starman in pursuit. Sadly the early pace took its toll as Hannah faded in the latter stages to finish 8th but still posted an extremely swift 12.39, with Beth and Emily following home in 19th and 23rd with times of 14.02 and 14.28 respectively. Taking over from Hannah, the ever consistent Kiri Marsh picked up a place to finish in 13.01 and handed to Megan Gildea to bring it home. A superb leg of 12.48 meant picking up one final place to bring the team home in 6th and demonstrate our strength in depth with what was an entirely different A team to that of Manchester Relays. Strong runs and a tremendous hobble from everyone's favourite VP Katie meant our other women's teams both pulled through the field throughout the race finishing 16th and 21st.
Off the back of a stellar performance at Manchester, Jack Millar led our men's team from the front again. A well-judged start led to him picking up places later in the race, bringing him to the front of the pack. With his eyes lighting up with the success which might ultimately befall him, he had a slip even Steven Gerrard would be proud of, as he tumbled to the floor on a muddy section of the course. Definitely nothing to do with ruckus generated by Jack Allison and his new favourite toy... Rushing to get back up again, Millar slipped once more on the ice-rink like surface, sadly costing precious time and much momentum. Despite this he soldiered on to record a thoroughly impressive time of 10.04, finishing 10th, but it was certainly an opportunity that went awry. Tom McGuinness quickly put us back in our rightful place as he swiftly ate up the miles to put us back into 6th with a run of 10.16. Nathan Gibson then held his position well against many competitive runners behind, holding 6th with a 10.42 but unfortunately it was not a position we could quite maintain as we dropped back into 9th place by the finish, with just a few valuable seconds costing us, despite Adam Thorpe running 10.40.
First leg was tightly contested between our second and third teams, with Dylan Stanway leading out Will Patterson for the whole race. However a late charge from Will resulted in him coming home just 2 seconds ahead with a brilliant 11.00. A particularly classy run came from Rob Middlewick, running 11.05 helping our B team to finish 28th overall and a strong debut by Joe McLeod also rewarded him with a fast time of just 11.42. Alex Gardner took full inspiration from our president Jack Millar when it came to how to deliver the complete performance and not only crossed the line in a quick time of 12.34, but also with a rather muddy right leg.
I greatly appreciate everybody's efforts on the day, particularly Jack Allison and Adam Houchell for their brilliant supportive techniques. It was yet another fantastic event and a great way to end the term, but now we must build. BUCS Cross Country is on the horizon.
On the 27th of November 22 University of Nottingham Cross Country runners descended upon Holme Pierrepont Nature Reserve for the first fixture of the East Midlands Cross Country League.
At 11.00 am the men's and ladies race set out on a tight and twisting course. A strong Nottingham University ladies team was comfortably led home by debutant Hannah Novakovic who led the race from the start to finish. Hannah extended her lead to over a minute by the finish, providing the first, 1st place finish at any cross country this year for the University of Nottingham. Katherine Owen followed this up by only narrowly missing out on a podium finish to place 4th in her first race for the university this season. If the East Midlands League was hoping for a competitive team competition they were soon to be disappointed. Alexandra Ridge finished 6th in another strong performance to back up Manchester Relays and provide the final counter for the winning ladies team.
Not far behind the first three, veteran runners Hannah Fleet, Alice Hughes and Beth Neal all produced strong runs to finish 9th, 10th and 11th respectively. Their consecutive finishes meant that our second team finished third in the overall ladies' team standings. An ever improving Charlotte Richardson followed close by in 14th with another good performance. Fiona Starkie then wrapped up a tremendous ladies' race finishing 32nd on her debut race.
Not to be outdone by the dominant ladies' team performances, XC Captain Adam Thorpe produced a tremendous tempo run (seems to be popular amongst XC Captains!) to win the men's race. Adam was the only sub 30-minute runner on the 8k course and finished in 29.57 and on his return from injury is looking very strong. Only nine seconds behind Adam, Jack Crabtree's former training partner Dylan Stanway produced an impressive performance to make it a Nottingham University 1-2. Complementing our first two counters, Rob Middlewick and debutant Ben Ashby finished 5th and 9th respectively. This meant for the first time this year the UON's men team finished first in the team event.
Not too far behind, club Treasurer Will Morris (12th) led in the second team alongside debutant Lewis Fagge (11th), Ewan McLachlan (18th) and Matt Simpson (42nd). All raced very well and Ewan described is as 'probably the best cross country race that I've ever done'*. An injured Greg Wright was the first finisher for the third team and debutants Chris Thompson (59th), Miran Faily (68th) and Alex Gardener all provided notable performances. This was wrapped up by another debutant Kelvin Leong (93rd), Allan Wilson (106th) and Michael Gaynor (112th )who's good races ensured we ended the day on a high.
Thanks to everyone who came along to a great day with some superb performances. Next up is/was Leeds!
*It's on Strava
For the second instalment of the North Midlands Cross Country we headed to Wicksteed Park in Kettering.
In wet conditions the women's race set off following a one-minute silence for the two Aldershot girls and a former official of the North Midlands League. In a repeat of the Derby Race, Amber Reed provided another fast start and was closely marshalled by Chloe Bird who managed to pull ahead of Amber to finish 7th. Amber finished twenty seconds behind in 10th place and both remain as first and second counters for Nottingham University. Following in behind Amber and Chloe, Megan Gildea produced an indefatigable run to finish 14th. The combined efforts of the women's team meant they finished second on the day, only losing to Notts AC on countback. Our next two finishers, Emily Starman and Charlotte Richardson both showed substantial improvements in their placings compared to the Derby race. Emily finished 43rd and Charlotte finished 50th. That is an 11 place and a 25 place improvement respectively!
For the men's race we welcomed some debutants to the cross country scene. Calum Duck, Chris Fielding, Rob Middlewick and Chris James all turned out for the first time but our heartless president Jack Millar showed no mercy by speeding off into the front pack almost instantly. Unlike our last League race, Tom McGuinness chose not to take on Jack and provided a more reserved start. Millar was rewarded with a second place finish meaning he continues his run on the podium. Tom followed closely behind in sixth with another strong run.
Third counter for the University was Daniel Leng. A decent 67 second final 400 meters meant that he finished in 32 place. However, not too far behind Rob Middlewick produced a tremendous debut run. Rob had persistently stuck with Daniel throughout the race and had only slightly dropped off towards the finish meaning he completed the course in 38th place. Chris Fielding also provided another eye catching debut performance outsprinting Beeston AC's fell running champion and fellow university runner George Russell to finish 61st. Calum Duck was also not too far behind in 68th place and rounding off the debut performances was Chris James finishing in the top half of the field in 90th place. Allan Wilson and Matthew Grammatico then concluded an impressive team third place for the men by finishing 151st and 153rd respectively.
Kettering provided yet another great team performance and some outstanding individual performances. Who's ready for East Mids XC?
The 2016 relay season commenced on the 22nd October with the much anticipated Manchester Relays, at Wythenshawe Sports Ground. In one of the largest turnouts in years, a cohort of 30 of our finest athletes made the journey up north to take on some of the country's best university teams, in a performance we hoped would be a clear sign of our club's growth and prominence on the national race circuit.
The relays began with the men's race and Jack Millar led off our A team in true presidential fashion. Jack made the most of the optimal conditions, as he smashed his own 3k track pb, in the process clocking the 14th fastest leg of the relays in 8.46. Among the fresher's, making the A team, was Dylan Stanway, and backing up his impressive run from Markeaton Park kept us in contention with a time of 9.42. He handed over to another new boy Sam Stevens, who proved a night out need not be a reason for a lacklustre performance, as he stormed through the field, in what was the fastest performance by any fresher at the relays, in a time of 8.37. This brought us up to 4th, very closely following Leeds and Bristol's Alumni team. It was Nathan Gibson who was tasked with the unenviable job of holding this position on a highly contested leg, but he did just that with his run of 9.15. The pressure was building as the finish neared and Aki Kitagawa gave Jack Allison a handsome position to work on after his leg of 9.04. As Jack entered the final field there was a matter of seconds to our nearest rivals and in an epic final few hundred metres, he managed to hold off a Birmingham runner to secure 5th team home. A mark to be proud of and a statement of our improvement from finishing 23rd the previous year.
Our men's B team put on a good performance too. This was comprised of a large proportion of Dave's Warriors and everyone's favourite alumni, Alex Bradford - they brought the team home in 24th. There were some outstanding runs from Will Patterson (10.01) and Dan Cresswell (9.38), between them they showed that injuries are not always enough to hold back a quality runner - great want was shown from all members of our squad.
Moreover, there were positive performances all round and it was particularly pleasing to see the progress certain athletes had made. Matt Simpson led off the C's on what has been a much delayed return from injury and he didn't disappoint with his run of 10.49. Backed up well by his team, they finished a respectable 48th.
Starting five minutes after the men, the women stamped their mark on the race. We had 5 women's teams demonstrating the magnitude of our strength in depth and with several new runners it was always going to spring some interesting results. In her university debut, Lori Marshall, set the pace delivering a sterling performance, running 11 seconds clear of the field in a time of 9.51, and despite the later start time, she was entering the final field moments after some of the men's race were starting their second legs. Capitalising on this storming run, Amber Reed set to work on increasing our lead and after employing some devious, yet fair to say accidental tactics by means of a slight corner cut, handed over to Chloe Bird in the lead. A gutsy run of 11.00, sadly wasn't enough to hold off two very strong runners but not many teams can give Birmingham a scare and I think it's safe to say we did! A very well deserved medal finishing well ahead of 4th even after the time penalty incurred.
An additional, very solid performance, was from the B team, which brought them a well-deserved 16th place, as all three of Kiri Marsh, Megan Gildea and Katie Buckingham delivered on the day. However in a testament to the depth of our squad, it was the E team who stole the show. Alexandra Ridge switched it on in the second half of the race to run an impressive 12.06, only to pass on to Jo Helme who gave her own performance to remember, running 12.02. After just 3 minutes rest from her first leg, Amber built upon her teammate's fantastic work with another fine run of 11.43, cementing what was certainly the team performance of the day in 23rd.
The entire girl's contingent certainly take home the plaudits with all 5 teams finishing in the top 32 from a field of 61. Now, with Leeds relays on the horizon, I'm eager to see who else steps up to the plate. Let this be but a stepping stone on our conquest to university domination!
After a solid finish to last years track season, the University of Nottingham distance squad headed off to Markeaton Park in Derby to get their Cross Country season underway. The ladies race was 6k and the men's race 9.8k.
First lady home was Chloe Bird who finished the course in an impressive time 26.38. Despite having been led by debutant Amber Reed round the first lap Chloe managed to pull ahead, finishing 8th, three places ahead of Amber in 11th. The final counter was another debutant Kiri Marsh (19th) who consistently held her placing ensuring that Nottingham University had three runners in the top 20. This meant that the senior ladies team finished second only behind Nottingham AC in the overall team rankings.
A little behind the first battle of the day had started between Megan Gildea and Katie Buckingham Megan led Katie the whole way round until the second and final lap where the two drew level. Despite Katie's hard work, Megan doggedly pressed ahead in the last few hundred meters and managed to finish five seconds ahead of Katie. They finished 29th and 30th respectively. Beth Neal backed them up having run through the field to finish in 41st place. The final Nottingham University runners were debutants Emily Starman(54th) and Charlotte Richardson (75th). Both produced impressive runs, finishing in the top half of the field and looked at home in a strong field. Finally, the best run from a Nottingham University student was Lori Marshall who finished a strong second running for Nottingham AC.
In the men's race debutant Tom McGuinness set out to shock club President Jack Millar by storming into second place immediately. Whilst grinning, Jack set about catching Tom which he did so so by the end of the first lap, however it wasn't until the second lap that Jack finally started to pull away. Despite the club infighting Jack managed to finish the race in a memorable third place in just 32.30. Tom was 42 seconds behind and finished in sixth place.
In last years race Jack had led Nottingham University home in 29th place so the improved depth of the men's team this year was highlighted by Matteo Gala and Dylan Stanway finishing 26th and 29th respectively. Dylan had led Matteo most of the way but Matteo managed to catch him on the third lap and pulled ahead of Dylan in time for the finish. Both Matteo and Dylan were debutants but our final counter was returner and club treasurer Will Morris. Despite a cold he produced a strong run finishing in 45th. Behind Will, another battle had developed between Greg Wright and Bruce Beckett. Despite a solid performance at Wednesday nights social Bruce couldn't hang on to Greg (62) who outkicked Bruce (63rd) in the final few hundred meters of the race.
Having last been seen on the first lap telling spectators he had 'lost his shin' Jack Allison then emerged chatting to Daniel Cresswell. The two ran alongside each other until the finish where Jack (82) outkicked Dan (83rd) in a short sprint.
Our final four runners included a sick George Russell (115th), a fatigued Ewan McLachlan (127th) who raced on Saturday, Conor Vale (149th) who was constantly moving through the field throughout the race and a much improved Allan Wilson (203rd). After seeing the men's and women's team today at Derby I really, really can't wait for BUCS.
As per tradition the annual Welcome Relays took place on the Saturday 8th of October in Wollaton Park, a friendly race around the lake where newcomers to the club could get to know each other. We had a fantastic turnout of 41 superb athletes sorted into 11 teams of 4 - the keenest of which ran 2 laps instead of one.
It was a wonderful autumn afternoon offering optimal running conditions - on the other hand the general public thought so too, meaning some unlucky runners had to deviate from the path to avoid hitting people! Despite that every single person ran around the 1.85k loop in impressive time undeterred by the hill up to Wollaton Hall. Exciting times ahead for UoN AC athletes, a massive well done to everyone who competed!
Team M finished 1st with a brilliant time of 26 minutes and 33 seconds, followed by teams F and K which had overall times of 27:32 and 28:01 respectively. The fastest lap was run in 5 minutes and 41 seconds by newcomer Sam Stevens, followed closely by our very own president Jack Millar who ran the lap in 5:42. Newcomer Tom McGuinness also finished the lap in under 6 minutes with a time of 5:51. Among the females newcomer Hannah Novakovic ran the fastest lap in a fantastic 6 minutes and 54 seconds. As part of the winning team newcomer Kiri Marsh ran the second fastest lap in nimble 7 minutes and 16 seconds, followed by our Vice President Katie Buckingham with a time of 7 minutes and 32 seconds.
After a collective cool down prizes where awarded and everyone headed to mooch for a well deserved meal and drinks - a fool proof way to end the day after all that intense running!
Extending a thank you to an incredibly supportive committee and their family members the event ran smoothly and we even ended up with a collection of delightful pictures, capturing super running styles, which can be viewed on out Instagram and on Facebook. Full results can be found on our Facebook page.