Great action from Sheffield as combined event and race walk athletes decide titles

There were more titles and medal positions decided on the second day of the England Athletics Senior and Under 20 Indoor Combined Events and Race Walking Championships. With some great competition throughout the day the athletes carried on the excitement levels that had been seen on day one.

Both men’s combined events competitions were held over the two days and after the U20 women’s pentathlon was held on the Saturday it was the turn of the Senior Women to have their pentathlon championship on the Sunday.

Senior Men’s heptathlon

It was a first national title for John Lane (Club: City of Sheffield and Dearne AC, Coach: Toni Minichiello) who continued where he left off at the end of day one to strike gold in the Senior Men’s heptathlon.

He imposed himself on proceedings from the first event of the day as 8.25 (920pts) was quickest of all in the 60m hurdles. At this point Howard Bell (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Iain McEwan) remained second with a 8.46 (869pts) and Andrew Murphy (Club: Kilbarchan, Coach: Colin Sinclair) moved back into the medal positions with his 8.42 (879pts).

The pole vault saw four athletes clearing 4.90 (880pts) – John, Andrew, and Ben Gregory (Club: Birchfield, Coach: Aston Moore) being three of them – which meant John and Andrew retained the top two places at this stage. And with Howard scoring 731pts with his 4.40 he was still in a medal position but Ben, the Birchfield Harrier, was now just 25 points off the medals going into the 1000m.

A 2:54.07 was enough for 724 points from the event and a 5758 total for John to be the 2019 champion. Andrew made some in roads with a 2:47.73 (789pts) that ensured not only second place but a mark that is second on the Scottish all Time list – 5523 points – behind only the 5,640 set by Jamie Quarry in Glasgow in 1999. But there were changes in the medal positions. A 2:43.45 (835pts) carried Ben to bronze with 5422 as a close battle with Aiden Davies (Coach: Doncaster, Coach: Sam Stanislaus, 2:44.85 / 820pts) and Lewis Church (Club, Tonbridge, Coach: David Hull, 2:44.07 / 829pts) saw them move 4th and 5th respectively. In sixth place Howard’s 2:56.41 (700pts) took him to 5312 and the U23 title ahead of Ben Clarke (Club: Worcester, Coach: Mike Corden) on 5149 points.

Senior Men - indoor heptathlon

Senior Women’s pentathlon

There were plenty of changes to the medal positions on the leader board throughout the day in this competition. But at the end of it all it was Kate O’Connor (Club: Dundalk St. Gerards, Coach: Francis O'Hagan) who came as champion.

Marilyn Nwawulor (Club: Harrow/Middlesex Uni, Coach: Lloyd Cowan) was first to hold top spot as she recorded a 8.47 (1,024pts) 60m hurdles at the start of the day to lead from Danielle McGifford (Club: Wigan & District, Coach: Sharon-Louise Walls, 8.62/ 991pts ) and Lucy Turner (Club: Gateshead, Coach: Sam Stanislaus, 8.65/ 984pts).

It was then Alice Hopkins (Club: Oxford City, Coach: Marcia Marriott) who moved into the lead after the high jump as she cleared 1.71 (867pts) to reach 1838. This moved her ahead of the Harrow athlete who (1.65 / 795pts) who was now joint second with Sarah Connolly (Club: North Down /Harrow, Coach: Laura Turner-Alleyne, 1.71 /867 pts) with both on 1819pts. While Kate still lay fifth her 1.74 (903pts) clearance was the best of the competition and moved her into contention.

She capitalised on this in the shot as a mark of 13.27 (745pts) took her to 2529 points and an 11 point lead over Marilyn (12.57 / 699pts) as Alice (11.54 / 631pts) completed the medal positions as they looked at this stage. It was Ellen Barber (Club: Yeovil, Coach: David Feeney) now moving into fourth with a 13.03 (729pts) performance.

Kate recorded the longest jump in the next event, her leap of 5.98 (843pts) taking her to 3372pts – a lead of 63 point from Alice who was just 1cm behind with 5.97 (840pts). With Marilyn not recording a mark in the long jump Ellen (5.68/ 753pts) was into third position and Lucy Turner (Club: Gateshead, Coach: Sam Stanislaus) rising a place to fourth courtesy of a 5.81 (792pts). So it was poised for the 800m and with six athletes running between 2:20 and 2:23 there were more changes ahead.

Kate clocked a 2:21.62 (802pts) to move to 4174 – a title winning mark. Ellen came around the four laps in 2:20.90 (811pts) to score 4,020 and go second. But second fastest of all was the 2:20.04 (823pts) of Lucy that saw her jump to 4,011 and the bronze medal. With the top four all U23s the medals for that category replicated the overall leader board.

Senior Women - indoor heptathlon

Under 20 men’s heptathlon

At the end of Day all was tight at the top of the U20 men’s competition. But it was Jack Turner (Club: Exeter Harriers, Coach: Kevin Skinner) who progressed from third place to take the title.

His day got off to a good start as his 8.26 (917pts) 60m hurdles was fastest of all and moved him from second to third. At this point Scott Brindley (Club: North Ayrshire AC, Coach: Mark Stringer) was in the lead and his 8.42 (879pts) maintained a gap of 16 points with Joel McFarlane (Club: Arbroath & District Athletics Club, Coach: Ian McFarlane) third after his 8.75 (802pts).

With the pole vault dealt with on day one it was now the high jump and an impressive 2.04 (840pts) carried Jack back to the top of the leader board for the first time since the shot put. A clearance at 1.89 (705pts) clearance by Scott kept him not only in second place but also on track for an impressive score as a 1.83 (653pts) meant that Joel was also scoring well.

A 2:50.06 (765pts) performance in the 1000m took Jack to the title and a 5329 point total. But while the Scottish duo could not make a dent in his lead there was a significance to their performances. Scott came home in 2:51.79 to earn 747 points and reach 5192, with Joel recording 2:45.35 for 815 points and a 5113 total performance. The significance of these marks being that the previous best performance by a Scottish U20 had been the 5,099 previously held by Joel – so not only was a new Scottish record set, but two athletes bettered the mark that was set last year in the same competition.

Under 20 Men - indoor heptathlon

Race walks

It was a win for Cameron Corbishley (Club: Medway and Maidstone AC, Coach: Andi Drake) in the 3K walk with a time of 11:54.83 which brought him home clear of the battle for silver and bronze that went the way of Chris Snook (U20, Club: Aldershot Farnham & District, Coach: Verity Snook) as his 12:41.34 bettered the 12:52.25 of Tom Partington (U20, Club: Manx Harriers, Coach: Steve Partington). In the U15 1K race walk there was a win for Ellis Simmonds (2 Dash) in 5:44.09.

The women’s 3K title was taken by Madeline Shott (Club: Belgrave) who came home well clear of Pagen Spooner (U20, Club: Hyde Park, Coach Andi Drake) in 14:49.57 to 16:15.98 with Carolyn Derbyshire (Club: Nuneaton Harriers) claiming bronze in 16:23.43.

Photos: SM, SW and U20M by David Griffiths