By Laura Reilly, Christ Church Sport Scholar, Athletics
On Wednesday 7th December 2016, the Athletics and Cross Country Team began the journey to Lee Valley Athletics Centre for the Southern England Student Sport Association competition. For many, this was to be the first time competing, however I am incredibly familiar with competing at Lee Valley and was looking forward to racing.
This winter, I have changed my training slightly and have had the opportunity to have some strength and conditioning sessions with Sports Lab. Whilst it is still very early in the season, I was keen to gauge how my training was going.
The first event we had competitors in was the 60m. Fian Matkin and Ibrahim Bashorun both finished with personal bests, shortly followed by Caitlin Benstead, Becca Pateman, Jacqueline Thompson and myself, again all achieving personal bests in the short sprint.
I was delighted to find out that my time had awarded me a place in the A final, and Caitlin a place in the B final. I have a history of not running quicker in subsequent runs in the same competition. However, I was able to drop my time further by a couple hundredths of a second, it looks like winter training is working so far! I know that I still have a lot to work on, particularly my starts, so have set myself a goal of running sub 8 seconds this indoor season.
Next, in the 3000m, Steve Barber and Dan Martin took to the track amongst a tough field, but both ran strong and achieved respectable times, Dan even running a personal best. Not long after, Cian Wells ran yet another personal best in the 800m. Over in the field events, fellow sports scholar Charlie Shingleton, went into the long jump as second favourite, but had a disappointing day and jumped himself into fourth place. Caitlin, also finished just outside the medals, in fourth. Elise Foster and Ibrahim took part in the shot put and finished second and fourth; Elise was thrilled to have thrown a personal best.
Our final event on the track was the 4x200m relay. I ran the first leg, followed by Caitlin, Becca and fellow sports scholar Millie Cable. In a quick field, Caitlin received the baton in second and the rest of the team were able to maintain the position and complete the race in silver medal place! As none of us had run the event before, and were not able to practice beforehand, we were elated. I personally felt strong running the 200m and am going to try run another individual 200m this indoor season.
Out of the 34 higher and further education institutions taking part, Canterbury Christ Church University was one of the smallest and most novice teams. I am incredibly proud to be president of our team, and cannot wait for future competitions with the team, such as the British University Championships in February.