MARCH 1st, 2014
By Dave Fall – Birchfield Harriers Men’s Team Manager.
On Saturday 1st of March 2014 at Coventry the Molly Barnett and Winter Challenge Races took place, with Birchfield Harriers having full teams in both the Women’s 5k and the Men’s 10k Race Walks.
On the first fine day of Spring, it was a day of good performances from the Birchfield walkers. With no competitors in the Boys or Girls U11,U13,U15,U17, or Junior Men categories, the first race involving the Harriers was the 5k Junior and Senior Women’s Race.
Jess Mills, 17,was the highest finisher for Birchfield , coming 4th place overall in an impressive time of 30 minutes 42 seconds, which was a personal best for Jess. Her fastest ever time clinched a second place at Junior level. Tracey Mills was next to finish for the Harriers coming a respectable 11th in a time of 33 minutes 50 seconds, with Karen Davies coming in at 13th, with a time of 37 minutes 46 seconds. A strong team performance from Birchfield Harriers saw the girls pick up a team silver medal, with Abingdon taking the team gold.
Now it was the turn of Birchfields Men’s team in the 10K race walk. Andi Drake, a coach at Leeds Metropolitan University, along side former International Martin Rush, bought a full complement of competitors. With a race brimming with international class athletes, 14 men would finish in under an hour.
John Constandinou made an early challenge to be first home for the Harriers, but in an exhilarating display, Peter Boszko reeled him in, to finish 14th place overall in a time of 58 minutes 58 seconds. John had to settle for a very respectable 17th, completing the race in a time of 61 minutes 28 seconds. The last scorer home for the Birchfield team was Julian Barnett in a time of 68 minutes 43 seconds giving him 21st place overall. Team manager Dave Fall finished in a time of 71 minutes 58 seconds, achieving an age group personal best.
Other notable achievements at the Coventry meet included Quentin Rew’s outstanding performance in the 10K race, attaining the quickest time the MC of the event, Keith Richards, has ever read out, a brilliant 39 minutes and 51 seconds. Quentin represented New Zealand at the 2012 Olympic Games. In the same event Tom Bosworth of Tonbridge missed out on a British record by two seconds finishing in a time of 40 minutes and 19 seconds.
British Olympian Johanna Atkinson nee Jackson of Middlesbrough and Cleveland, finished first in the Women’s Winter Challenge with a time of 45 minutes and 42 seconds. Atkinson and Bosworth have been named in a team to compete in an EAA Permit meeting in Switzerland on the 16th of March following their strong performances. Local lad Daniel Watling, of Wolverhampton and Bilston Harriers, accomplished his personal best at the meet, with a time of 53 minutes and 26 seconds, placing him 2nd at Junior level and 5th overall in the men’s standings.
Finally after winning her race in a personal best time at Coventry, Kara Lane will be preparing for her International race on the Isle of Man, in what promises to be a very busy month for Birchfield Harriers. Julian Barnett, John Fenton, and Dave Fall are also off to the Isle for the Postal Uniform Race, with Peter Boszko heading to the Masters T&F Indoor Championships in Hungary.