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by Val Baxter

June 16, 2016

What a weekend…

It’s been a busy old weekend for Birtley AC, so busy I have just found time to give my version of what has gone on.

Friday evening was presentation night, arranged and prepared by Joanne and Kaley. A pleasant evening of recognising performance and achievement. The event went smoothly, was well received, and a credit to the organisers.

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Saturday was the regional schools championships for the year 7 and above. It isn’t a club supported event, but does attract a lot of club interest as many school athletes represent local clubs. It also gives the coaches an opportunity to see the athletes perform against each other as although they represent the same running club, they don’t necessarily attend the same school.

My days of school sports has long gone, obviously I had my children when I was very young. While the young athletes were thinking about getting up for breakfast, probably heads still spinning from all the fizzy pop the night before, we were heading down the A19 to the Northern track and field champs in Manchester. Right, when I say we, that is Adrian and Chloe, and Sophie B. Transport was provided by ‘top coach’ Tommy who provided a door to door service, picking up Sophie last hence heading down the A19 not the A1.

When we arrived at Sport City, next to the Etihad stadium, Kieran was waiting in the car park; Kieran has worked in Manchester since graduation in 2015. He did tell us that the car park we used was where he does a lot of training.

The first race for the Birtley squad was Kieran, who was running the 1500, it was heats then final. There were two heats, suppose that was straight semi final, both competitive races. The only runner in either that I recognised apart from Kieran was Sparrow Morley, who had beaten Adrian in the 1500 at Gateshead 3 weeks earlier. Showing the level of competition; Sparrow, the North East champion, only qualified as a fast loser. Unfortunately Kieran did not progress.

The next race was to be Chloe, her shorts and Birtley blue vest showing off her bronzed body, freshly back from sunnier climes, in the Atlantic. Anyway, Chloe was in a straight final, and didn’t manage to get a medal position.

Interestingly, it felt like we had a direct link via satellite to the schools races, as Tommys phone was buzzing with updates. It was like listening to the match on the radio at home whilst watching all the other results coming in on Sky Sports News.

We travelled home and left the ‘bairns’ to save them the extra travelling. It also meant Adrian and Sophie could probably have an extra hour in bed when they were racing on the Sunday. So on Sunday morning, at the crack of 8:30 Julie Burnett arrived at my humble abode, and together we waited for Tommy to pick us up; this time we were headed off on the A1. The weather was a bit better this time, it was still raining, but at least the M62 wasn’t the pea soup we had driven through the day before.

First job when we arrived, comfort break, followed by sausage butties, and coffees all round. The beauty of having older kids, generally, although not always, you can leave them to prepare themselves. To be honest this was one of those occasions, Chloe and Kieran were looking after Adrian and Sophie, but they were prepared generally, and no one was stressed. There was one point where we were stuck as we had made a mistake with the sandwich order and Phil Turner wasn’t available to eat the extra one for us…up stepped Chloe, took one for the team!

Round about this point Rob Wilson and Lindsey will have been supporting the clubs future at Quad kids, I saw something on face book, but that is a different story.

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First race for the day for us was Adrian, he is always ‘lucky’ like this…never a straight final for him. Seemed to qualify comfortably in third doing just enough, but then I realised only first 2 automatically qualified. I didn’t recognise anyone in his race, I think he knew some of them, but my money was on the winning finalist coming from heat 2, as Michael Wilson lined up. As it turned out, Adrian’s heat was the fastest and he qualified as fastest loser.

Next race was Sophie, by the time Sophie reached the start line she knew everyone in her race, which was a straight final. She had never met them, but had studied every one of them on PO10. The race started off fast and the favourite went straight to the front and set a good pace. Sophie settled in mid pack, but as soon as there was a break away she tried to go with the leaders. Coming to the bell she was clearly in second place, and for the whole lap it never looked like she would be caught, and she came home silver medalist under 20, in the north of England championships.

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Next race we watched was Jessica Ennis in the 200m…which she waltzed round.

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Two and a quarter hours after the heat, was the final. The weather didn’t disappoint, as it had most of the weekend, but especially for all Birtley races, it hoyed it doon !! The race was close. I was right with my wager Michael Wilson did win the gold, and unfortunately Adrian didnt improve on last years bronze, and didn’t get a medal.

Travelling back, we called in at Brighouse. A light meal, and rehydrate and then home to tell tales of our adventure and experience in the north west.

YB

Ps thanks to Tommy for doing all the driving.

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