… to Shadine Duquemin. No sooner has big brother Zane won his first senior England vest than Shadine is selected to represent Great Britain U20s at the Loughborough International meeting this weekend. In both cases it’s a case of hard work and dedication – not always in great supply amongst young athletes, well and truly paying off.
Crikey, I thought it would be an easy number taking on the Statistician job at Spartans again. Instead we’ve had about a dozen new club records this season already and it’s only a couple of weeks old! This is assuming all are ratified by the Spartan committee.
Starting the rush was 40-year old Jo Gorrod who broke her own Spartan, Jersey and CI marathon record by clocking 2:50.39 in London last month. Zane Duquemin has twice improved Tony Satchwell’s 27-year old senior discus record, the latest in Gothenburg on Saturday on the occasion of his first English senior vest, throwing 56.00m. Sister Shadine has similarly twice moved on her U17 shot mark to 12.o2m and has also improved her discus to 43.13m. Ross Jeffs set a new senior triple jump record of 13.95m in the BUCS.
New sensation Stanley Livingston is carving chunks off various U15 marks – 51.09 for 400m, 23.54 for 200m, and 11.28 for the 80m hurdles which had stood for 18 years. For good measure he clocked 57.21 in the U17s 400mH race setting a GB all-time best in the non-standard and rarely recorded U15 rankings for this event.
The rarely-spotted left handed hammer thrower Donnie Rocket chucked 52.40m yesterday in Portsmouth whilst Robbie Stenhouse set a new U17M 200m electronically timed mark of 22.97, though Steven Prosser was hand-timed at 22.5 in Guernsey seven years ago.
The Duquemins and Livingston are up there in the top few in GB in their events. However I was disappointed to see the lack of athletes in the younger age groups in the county championships over the weekend. Out of interest here are the number of Spartan medalists at U13G level in recent years.
2000 – 0
2001 – 8
2002 – 9
2003 – 7
2004 – 14
2005 – 10
2006 – 2
2007 – 5
2008 – 2
2009 – 5
2010 – 5
2011 – 2
Not sure what this illustrates but I can’t help but be frustrated that we’re so thin on the ground these days.
After 21 days I finally put some recordable running time in my diary yesterday. Not since I took my first tentative steps in early 2003 have I had so much downtime. After falling apart in the White Horse Half I’ve not felt inclined to lace up my Frees but I finally broke my duck. Very gentle and pleasant it was as well. I trotted the half-mile or so to the track and spent an hour just messing around; mainly slow jogging but throwing in 100 metre strides whenever I found myself at the beginning of the home straight. With the athletes and coaches away in Portsmouth for the county championships I had the place virtually to myself on a sunny though breezy morning. It’s maybe quite sad but there are fewer places I’d rather be on a sunny day than an athletics track – relaxing for both body and soul. I used the surrounding grass banking to break up the run, revelling in the new-mown smell before reluctantly trotting home again some time later. Truly the best things in life are free.
And this morning I was down there early again, thoroughly looking forward to working with the Minis again. There are as many coaches as there are athletes in the 12-14 age group right now so Sunday mornings are the best chance I get to get involved with the young athletes who are aged about 8-11. A better turnout of about 25 this morning. Long-time Minis coach Dave Lawson showed up and we were therefore able to split the youngsters; I took charge of the younger group. So a warm-up of Stuck in the Mud followed by-
- Speed ladder
- Sprints over 30-50 metres, in groups
- Start practice, standing and crouch
- Reaction work
- Triple jump sequence, on the grass
We finished off with a 600m race for those so inclined. I don’t force any child to do this – I’ve seen too many totally put off at an early age by being made to run middle distance.
A great session, and happily I had three slightly older lads wanting to do throws afterwards. So we got the javelins out – also the hammer, which is an event too neglected. As well as the three lads one of the Minis, young Lillie, has demonstrated she has an aptitude for throwing and she has taken nicely to javelin. This morning I gave her a first taste of discus remembering how we started Shadine Duquemin at just about the same age. It’s high time a few others made their mark in the throws and they have every opportunity and plenty of examples to follow of those that have gone before in the last few years.
Here’s Crusaders’ Alix Hughes on her way to a bronze medal in the Irish Indoor T&F Championships in Magharafelt, Co Derry recently. Memories of one of my first coaching evenings at Irishtown when the first task was to take a spade and shovel several inches of Brent Geese shit out of the shot circle 🙂 Since then the Crusaders’ kids have built themselves a bit of a reputation as throwers with Alix leading the way.
Junior Cru May 2011 Here’s a link to the second issue of the excellent and inspiring Crusaders Junior Newsletter. Now starting off their third summer season the enthusiasm that was so evident in the early days shows no sign of dimming – quite the opposite. Many of that first intake are now ‘old hands’ and are setting an example to the newer ones. Well done to them all and their dedicated coaches and I’m looking forward to tracking their progress in the next few months.
A strange time. Everything has ground to a halt. A couple of weeks back I had so many plates spinning I could barely keep up. Now I’m twiddling my thumbs.
Notably my running has stalled completely. They’re still expecting me in Edinburgh in three weeks time but the crowds will be disappointed. I’ve got to make a decision whether or not to travel anyway – I’ve a hotel room booked for three nights. But running-wise I’ve barely set foot outside the apartment since I trailed forlornly around the Oxfordshire countryside three weeks ago. This is not good – my running shoes are looking at me accusingly from under the coffee table. In addition my summer running class I was due to hold via Highlands College was under subscribed.
There’s some salvation as I kick off a work-based Couch to 5k course on Tuesday, my fourth. At least that will get me out again. Hopefully the enjoyment will return. In the meantime I’m trying to eat a greater percentage of protein & veg than I’ve been accustomed to – chicken breast + stir-fry coming up in a sec for example. Who knows, I might finally hit on a reason for the huge peaks and troughs in my running.
But other things have suddenly stopped as well. All three writing projects, for example. My first (enthusiastic and naive) vanity novel is finished and Chris Lake is setting it out for printing/publishing. With the ludicrous amounts of public holidays recently my second book, a better, well-researched effort, got finished and the first draft is being read through by a work colleague. And my contribution to Chris’s Jersey Athletics History is complete bar a final proofread. That should be published quite shortly now, though the initial deadline of February slipped a bit!
I got a rotten mark in a distance learning assignment and may pull out of that particular effort. Birmingham City are unable to chip out the final point that will save them from relegation. Nothing is moving forward right now.
Coaching-wise I’m committed to the Minis on a Sunday but very little else. (I hope they’ve done OK in Guernsey today.) There are so few juniors involved in athletics right now that I’m really surplus to requirements. I still grab any likely lads and lasses for throws coaching but it’s nothing like in the past. The other evening a couple of young ladies commented that there was a big group that night – it was about a dozen. They laughed in disbelief when I told them that, not so long ago, I sometimes had 40-50 junior girls alone in my group at the height of the track season. This is not good.
So I’m open to suggestions as to projects to keep me out of trouble.
The Spartan statistician has been hard-pressed to keep up with the frequent record breaking over the last few years – by the throwers that is. Whilst most of the track and other field records have stood still (partly, it has to be said, due to more rigorous scrutiny than in previous years) our throwers have continuously pushed back the boundaries. But this one is rather special.
In his first outdoor competition of the season on the 1st May Zane Duquemin – still only 19 – threw the senior discus 54.93m at Bedford in the British Universities and Colleges Sports. This increased by almost two metres the Spartan (and indeed Island) mark set by Tony Satchwell 27 years ago! More remarkably the discus throws were downwind – expert throwers prefer a breeze half into the throw from the right to enable the discus to use the aerodynamics to float it on.
Though anyone watching the throws training group over the winter won’t be surprised. Zane pretty much dedicates his free time to throwing and it is done with purpose and expert guidance. The throw lifts him into 5th place overall in the UK senior rankings in these early days of the season. For good measure he topped his shot PB with 17.01m to lie 4th in the rankings.
Expect to see even greater things in the months to come.
Yesterday I pulled on my Frees for the first time since last Sunday’s meltdown. I trotted gently over to the FB Fields and did a bit of easy running around the grass. Onto the track and, randomly, I decided to do a few sprints. So back to about the 130m mark and I knocked off five of them at pretty much my top pace. And that was it for the week.
I’ve tried training in all sorts of different ways. Long, slow miles. Long intervals. Short intervals. Endurance, speed-endurance, speed-strength. Generic plans, do-it-yourself plans, Bakken 100-day plan using both Kenyan and Italian elements. I’ve run easy and run hard. I’ve tried various approaches to diet and energy management. And I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m just an ageing, crap runner who is not going to get any better. And in particular I’m not cut out for marathon running. I’ve started four, DNF’d badly in the first two before at least finishing the next two. That’ll do me. Back in the early days of 2003 when I took up running, 8-10 weeks in I was still struggling to run for 20 minutes straight. I consider what I’ve done since then to be a fair old achievement. In the process I’ve gotten pretty fit and healthy as well as keeping the waistline in some sort of check, and I’m happy with that. I’m not going to pack in running but it’ll be confined to going out when I feel like going out and running long, short, easy or hard as the mood takes me. I guess I’ll still run in some local races but I’m not going to kill myself going after PBs. I’ll continue to coach beginner runners as the opportunity arises and try to encourage them to seek out the great benefits, both physical and mental, that running for fitness can bring. That’s the best thing I can do in the future.
Stepping back a bit will also give me more time to devote to coaching the youngsters. A bit of shot on Thursday and javelin this morning as well as leading the Minis outdoor session. It’s one of the best things I ever did, getting into track & field coaching – it was pretty much against my better instincts at first but I wanted to help out at a time of coach shortages. Now I love every minute of helping the youngsters improve and having a bit of fun in the process.
I’ve also decided not to be a ‘squeaky wheel’. There is so much NOT HAPPENING at Spartans right now. I avoided the AGM on Thursday simply to retain my equanimity. If I’m not prepared to dive back into committee work (which I’m not) then I’m not going to snipe or criticise from the sidelines. Let others do that, I’ve had my chance. I’ll just get on and do what I enjoy, as long as I’m allowed. Life’s short but it ought to be long enough.
The Jersey Athletics History project is weeks away from completion. The book is pretty much written and Chris Lake is presently setting it out ready for printing and publishing. Chris has written most of it, I’ve written two chapters and Colin Campbell one, with sizeable contributions from Pete Drinkwater and Sue Le Ruez. I’ll be doing the final proof read. It’s been a big project (bigger than Chris imagined when he started it) but we hope that it will be a ‘good read’ and a far different animal from Ray Hollis’s scholarly Guernsey history which was some seven years in the making. My only concern is that, inevitably, some important names won’t get a mention. It’s only once you start something like this than you realise how many good people have been involved down the years.
In other publishing news Chris is also laying out my own first bestselling novel which, you’ll not be surprised to hear, has more than a echo of athletics about it.
JuniorCru(Feb2011)-1 (Click to open)
This is what junior athletics should be all about. Excitement, fun, enthusiasm, pride in one’s efforts, win or lose. Shouting out for your teammates and celebrating or commiserating together. If you read something like this from your local athletics club wouldn’t you want your son or daughter to be part of it?
I’m intensely proud of what we started there in Dublin less than three years ago. Many of those that were around on Day 1 are still involved and the progression under the present coaches has been rapid. Crusaders have very quickly overtaken a number of the established clubs in the Dublin area, at least in track & field where they have the big advantage of the Irishtown Stadium facilities.
One very big difference between Dublin and Jersey is the lack of competition in the latter. The Crusaders kids have been brought up in a competitive environment and they love it. The standard in Dublin is not great and there’s a bit of hype in this newsletter maybe. But I’d sooner have it that way than to underplay the achievements. The youngsters there are having a ball and they’ll have had a fantastic, positive experience whilst they’re involved. And for the few that may push through into senior athletics then it’s a perfect springboard.
And when those youngsters grow up and become parents don’t you suppose that they’ll maybe take their offspring down to Irishtown remembering the good times that they once had?
I have to say that I am mightily impressed with much of what is going on out there at the local athletics coal face right now. The bleak month of January has brought the athletes and coaches out in growing numbers and we have already seen some terrific results at county and regional level to give everyone a boost. The way our juniors attacked the county cross-country championships and brought a number of medals home is testament to the quality of the work that is now going on at Spartans. We’re no longer making up the numbers – our kids are out there to win. These performance levels are inevitably rubbing off on the growing number of younger runners turning up. They’re really on a roll right now.
Zane and Shadine Duquemin both produced lifetime bests in winning their shot competitions at the Southern Indoor Championships at Lea Valley. Stanley Livingston got a first and second while Claire Wilson grabbed a rare senior medal, only being pipped in the 800m by GB international Perri Shakes-Drayton.
On Thursday I was delighted to be weaving around the dozens of young athletes crowding the track as I did my own little session. And this morning the Minis were out again in force at Langfords on their first day back after the holidays.
The more I work with Chris Lake on the forthcoming History of Jersey Athletics the more I realise that this is something of a golden age, certainly at age-group level. If the administration, long-term planning and finances can be brought to order then we may prolong it.
Chris Lake (JEP) is presently beavering away producing a History of Jersey Athletics. He’s an expert writer and has bashed out a number of books on various topics in the past. This project however has surprised him with its complexity and he’s roped in one or two of us to assist.
I’m always delighted to dig up little forgotten nuggets – here are two. Firstly, the matter of a certain Keith Falle. It’s a matter of record that he represented Jersey in the 1978 Commonwealth Games, in shot putt, in Edmonton, Canada. Yet no one I’ve ever spoken to remembered him; even today the great brains of Colin Campbell and Martin Hebden produced nothing. Then I thought ‘Tony Satchwell’ – it was obvious with hindsight. ‘Satch’ was Jersey throwing for about 25 years, appearing himself in the 1974 and 1986 Games. (Indeed he remains 70th on the all-time list of UK discus throwers, Zane Duquemin lying 78th). Yes, of course he remembered him. Keith is/was Jersey-born but resident in New Zealand. He contacted Tony who advised him about qualification for the Games. Keith came to Jersey, Tony beat him in two trial matches, yet Keith was selected for Edmonton on the basis of his previous record. He did OK but was never heard of again.
Jersey athletics first appeared in the Island Games in Guernsey in 1987. Footes Lane was then a cinder track. The athletics programme was held over a weekend and Rob Currie advanced to the final of the 100m to be held on the Sunday. Checking the weather forecast he saw that monsoon conditions were forecast so he obtained spikes designed for javelin boots i.e. very long. Sure enough the track was under serious water but Rob’s spikes carried him to a silver medal.
Anyone who has snippets that might otherwise be lost please let me or Chris know soonest – he’s looking to publish in February