This week, the English Schools' Athletic Association (ESAA) would normally have been hard at work making final preparations for the English Schools' Track & Field Championships in Manchester, an event that has only been cancelled during the Second World War, and would have been their 90th Championships.
With the loss of the event that so many young athletes look forward to each year, ESAA made the decision to offer an opportunity for athletes to compare their progress with others across the country during the week of the Championships.
On behalf of the ESAA, Chris Cohen said, "We hope that competing, either in a training session or a school lesson, against athletes from other counties, will raise the mood of so many athletes and, even if they can’t be in the same place to do so, they will get the great feeling of competition and comradeship that the Championships always bring. We are aware that many tracks across the country are still closed and coaching sessions are difficult, that schools are not fully open and some pupils are not attending full-time, and some not at all. We still felt it was worthwhile trying to do something, hence the decision to stage this virtual competition over the week of the championships."
"Athletes can enter more than once during the week commencing Sunday5 July and ending on Saturday 11 July, but can only enter one event, in the same way they can enter the actual Championships. Their best result will be used to determine the final rankings. Clearly, as these will be training results, and photo-finish won’t be in use, they won’t be eligible for Power of Ten, and there are large areas where errors can creep in, from coaches misreading tapes to out and out exaggeration of results, which we hope won’t happen, but we hope to get a good set of results from a fun competitive opportunity, even if nobody is going to be crowned ESAA Champion!"
All athletes will receive a certificate to show they participated in the event, sent by email to the contact email address ESAA have in the entry and ESAA will also send a discount voucher very kindly donated by Neuff Sports, which can be used for anything except javelins and ground equipment, and another kindly presented by Championship sponsor, New Balance.
You will be able to see a link to the results on the ESAA Facebook page after the end of competition. This is very much a trial, and volunteers are staging it, with a results system put together by students (for which ESAA thank Buxton Community School in Derbyshire), so running results can't be provided during the week, but only final results afterwards. If ESAA volunteers are able to list intermediate results at some stage during the week, they will do so.
Chris Cohen concluded, "I hope you are able to take part in one of the events and get some enjoyment out of being part of a national event, albeit a virtual one. Good luck!"
Enter the competition
Click here to enter the competition; you should complete the form which contains various details about the athlete and the event and performance.
- Remember to include a contact email for the coach or teacher so ESAA can send the certificate to show you competed in the 2020 virtual ESAA.
- When you enter - note that the dates are in the American style, with month, then day, then year.