Our U11s headed to Colchester last weekend (Sunday 15th March) to compete in the Essex Junior Road Relays. This road race gave the athletes the opportunity to ditch their spikes for their trainers at the end of a fantastic, but wet winter season! The race, excellently organised by Colchester Harriers AC, pitted WGEL against 80 junior teams from across Essex, and it was testimony to the strength of the junior athletic scene in the county.
The scene was set, with the team arriving to the hustle and bustle of the gathering crowds under sunny but chilly conditions. The athletes took their numbers, listened to their race plans and warmed up before getting ready to start!
Results - U11s Boys
WGEL Team 160: Daniel Arnold (11:05), Thomas Kirkland (10:24) & Oliver Brown (10:35) = 32:04
WGEL Team 161: Oskar Kyson (12:09), Archie Anthony (10:06) & Zac Everitt (10:56) = 33:11
WGEL Team Squad: Daniel Kirkland (13:04), Leo Everitt (11:41) & Stephen Ng (11:27) = 36:12
Results - U11s Girls
WGEL Team 177: Eliza Bridges (11:57), Faye Owers (10:27) & Autumn Le Chevalier-Jones (10:27) = 32:51
WGEL Team 178: Amelia Booth (15:03), Chloe Jennings (12:40) & Jasmine Hall (11:05) = 38:48
WGEL had three teams entered in the boys' and two in the girls' competitions. Each team consisted of three boys and three girls.
The course, 2.5km in distance, was largely flat and started on the track, before exiting onto the circular paved route around Abbey Fields. The first leg athletes ran an extra 300m (2.8k) around the track to manage the volume of runners. All athletes finished on the track to hand over to the next athlete amongst the hordes of cheering crowds in the change-over areas!
Daniel Arnold was WGEL's first runner to appear back on the track, running a brilliant first leg in second place behind Chelmsford AC’s Austin Kelly but ahead of Basildon AC’s Toby Lashmer in third.
Daniel handed to Thomas Kirkland. Thomas has competed at the highest level throughout the winter and ran a superb second leg, the third fastest of the day behind leaders Chelmsford AC’s Jacob Parrott.
Thomas handed to Oliver Brown for thefinal leg. Oliver has also enjoyed a fantastic cross-country season. His task was to bring the team home safe. He did this in tremendous fashion, especially considering he ran a sub 22min 5k the day before! He showed excellent resolve, staying calm, despite Basildon AC runner Lucas Atalia passing in the final 1k. Oliver ensured the team took third place and won Bronze medals in the U11s Boys competition. Well done!
The next WGEL team home was the U11 Girls. Eliza Bridges led the team out and ran a tremendous leg. Eliza showed great composure in her first relay race, finishing seconds behind Chelmsford AC runner Daisy Edwards and opening a gap on third placed Ipswich Jaffa.
Eliza handed to Faye Owers, who set off in hot pursuit of the leaders. Faye is in tremendous form and ran a great second leg, the third fastest of the day from the U11s. Chelmsford AC had extended their lead slightly, but with her fantastic run Faye had stopped the pack from closing in.
Autumn Le Chevalier-Jones, our Harlow speedster, set off on the final leg. Autumn enjoyed a fantastic winter and flew round, equalling Faye’s third fastest leg time. Autumn showed great strength and determination to see off late challenges from Chelmsford AC “B” and Ipswich Jaffa to ensure second place and Silver medals for the WGEL Girls U11s team. This was a brilliant and well-deserved reward for the Girls team. Well done.
Next WGEL team home, finishing in a tremendous fourth position, were the U11B “B”. Oskar Kyson led them off running a superbly confident leg. He was rightly proud of his run and his smile was testimony to his pleasure of running on harder surfaces!
Oskar handed to teammate Archie Anthony. Our new young signing ran an incredible leg, the fourth fastest of all U11s. This was the run of the day! We look forward to seeing what Archie can achieve with this team in the future!
Zac Everitt completed the team. He zoomed home ahead of Ipswich Jaffa runner Alex Georgalas to take fourth place in the U11Bs competition. What a result for these boys, who are all lower age group athletes. They will be hot contenders in the U11s competitions in the year ahead!
Daniel Kirkland led the final boys WGEL team home. Daniel recently started racing with the squad and has made tremendous progress already.
Leo Everitt was next out and enjoyed his best race of the season, ending with a brilliant sprint finish. It was good to see Leo smile after his race. He has battled with injury this season and it was great to see him compete safely and confidently.
Stephen Ng ran the final leg. Stephen is another runner enjoying his first season with the U11s. He has been progressing week by week and finished strongly to hold off Benfleet RC to take tenth place for the team. Well done.
Completing the WGEL teams were our U11Gs.
Amelia Booth showed great courage and determination in running the first leg. It is testimony to Amelia that she took on the challenge of this leg in her first race. She ran incredibly well and we look forward to watching her progress as she starts training regularly with the U11s over the summer.
Second leg runner Chloe Jennings also deserves huge praise. Travelling with teammate Jasmine Hall from Harlow, Chloe showed how much she is improving with a very good leg completed in her trademark calm and relaxed style!
Jasmine Hall took on the final leg. Jasmine is a talented athlete and had won several medals at a swim Gala the day before! Despite this, Jasmine still ran a very good leg and closed the team in twelfth place. All three of these girls are lower age group and it points to a very bright future for the squad!
That concluded a fantastic day of racing from the team at WGEL.
However, little did they know, given the development of the virus outbreak, it could be the last time they competed together for many months? If that is the case then what a way to sign off.
This amazing U11s squad has successfully competed at an incredibly high standard throughout the winter. They have achieved results not through hours of intensive training but by practising good habits, being consistent and above all having FUN.
The fantastic results at the Essex Junior Road relays draw a line under an amazing winter season. Smiles, enjoyment, positive attitudes and fantastic performances from all the athletes, with medals to top it off! Well done and up the WGEL!