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12 Months of BUAC - December

Lockdown ended, and before the club dispersed to their homes all around the country and abroad for the Christmas period, there was still time to fit in some very fast racing.

In the final review of the final month of the year, we have both track captain Jamie Worman and Head of Athletics Luke Gunn looking back on a year which, despite our successes as a club, we will be grateful to have in the rear-view mirror.


BUAC 5000 Time Trial

A return to the track was much appreciated by many

Lockdown ended at a minute past midnight on the 2nd of December, and BUAC were immediately back on track, with a set of 3000 and 5000 time trials to see how training had gone over the lockdown period.

With three races, the first that set off featured five men finishing under 15 minutes, starting with Metchley 2 Mile TT winner Mark Pearce, who was even under 14 minutes, running 13:58.

A suffering Shayler post-5000

Fellow Birmingham Track Elite member Mike Ward was next home, his 14:22 not quite showing him at his 13:54 best. Welsh international James Vincent was three seconds under his clocking from Armagh back in February, running 14:33, while Birchfield Harrier Max Walk was good value for his first time under 15, running 14:47.

After staying on his feet for the entire race, it should be no surprise Jack Shayler ran faster than in Armagh, taking seven seconds off in running 14:48. Corstorphine's Tom Ross came home in 16:13, closely followed in 16:19 by president George Loxton, once again getting the better of Tom Mackman, who ran 16:22.

Ben McIntyre and Nathan Abraham shared a time of 16:51 at the finish, and Maisie Grice and Christian Byron both came in a touch over 17, with 17:01 and 17:06 respectively.

The second heat was a combined women's one, with athletes racing both 3000 and 5000 setting off. AFD took the top two spots, with Beanie Brown leading clubmate Lizzie Squibbs home. Brown chalked up a 17:33, while Squibbs was a touch outside the 18-minute mark in her first track 5000, running 18:06.

Lucy Thornton was six seconds back of second, with 18:12, while Hallamshire's Mary McCarthy finished in 18:26. Cross captain Maddie Mastrolonardo made the most of a tough race to turn in a 19:05.

Testar in a slightly shorter race on the track in Brum

In the 3000, it was a quartet of two lap specialists racing, and the sub-2:10 pairing of Issy Boffey and Annie Testar finished two seconds apart, Boffey's 10:43 leading Testar's 10:45. Abby Rex and Emma Livingstone came home shortly after, 11:12 and 11:42 their times.

The final race featured a trio of athletes home in quick succession in well under 15, as after initially just intending to pace the athletes behind, Dougie Musson took the victory in 14:32. Grant Anderson and Tom Drabble were just behind, the Stockport Harrier just outkicking clubmate Drabble, 14:36 to 14:37. Patch Taylor was next home, running 15:32.

Two freshers, Ed Blythman and Jordan Jones, finished together under 16 minutes, as Blythman kicked away for 15:50 to Jones' 15:54. Mayank Mishra was an Alphafly-powered ten seconds ahead of Ste Garrett, 16:24 and 16:34 for the pairing. The Luke Gunn-paced Laura Gent tracked the bicycle she was following to a 17:13 clocking.

Dutchman Tom de Jong came home in 17:38, while Yas Austridge logged an 18:14. Final athlete of the day was BCU's Naomi Rae, a first track 5000 in 21:13.

End of Lockdown

As we look back on lockdown ending, we hear from our final committee member of the year, track captain Jamie Worman.

Worman (3rd left) pictured at the club Annual Dinner

This year has been anything other than conventional. From the moment I was voted into the role of track captain I would liken my journey through the term to that of being on a roller-coaster that I didn’t sign up to be on, and I imagine many people feel the same. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been enjoyable, in fact, far from it. In a similar vein to Maddie and Charlie, after assuming the role of captain the first thing on my mind was a training weekend and meeting as many freshers as possible as they join the club.

As we know, a training weekend sadly never came to fruition. Although I live in hope that Maisie and I might be able to organise one at some point this year. Aside from that, I set out with the intention of speaking to as many freshers as possible to help aid their integration into the club. I know I spoke to a lot of you before you’d even arrived at the uni and since then spoke to many more at training and its been a pleasure getting to know you all. To see so many new faces week in, week out consistently at the track or at Metchley is incredible and only reinforces my belief that we are well and truly the best sports club at the uni.

Jamie secured a podium in Lockdown League Event 1

Members both new and old are repeatedly determined to overcome the boundaries presented to them in the form of tiers, regulations, and lockdowns without fail. Although, undeniably, we should all be incredibly thankful to both Luke and the coaches for working tirelessly to ensure training went ahead. Keeping the track open for the first 7 weeks of term and adjusting training slots to adhere to the ‘6-1’ and ’12-1’ rules.

The ability to use the track allowed for us to at least integrate somewhat within our training groups and was for a me a huge silver lining in what was otherwise a pretty bleak term. Then came along our mighty Machiavellian PM with his crippling floccinaucinihilipilification of our athletics and introduced lockdown 2.0, which didn’t prove as much of a problem as the club merely migrated its training to Fort Metchley and the coaches worked within the rules on a 1-1 coaching basis throughout the 4 weeks.

From an athlete’s perspective the November lockdown may have brought with it lots of cold, wet and muddy training, but like many other members of the club I thought I got a solid 4 weeks of training down and I was feeling better than ever going into 2021. Once again this is thanks to the effort of the coaches (legends). Although what will 2021 bring? I honestly think this year will be the year of BUAC. I know I say this in the wake of Boris announcing lockdown 3.0, completing the long-awaited trilogy.

A tough session at Metchley

Still, I think there’s a lot of look forward to, I mean, to begin with we have another 6 weeks plus of training at Metchley to kickstart the year. Which will make returning to the track in mid-February feel like entering heaven. Furthermore, the biggest events in the BUAC calendar are still yet to come and as the vaccine program picks up its pace each and every day, they seem more and more likely to occur.

You may feel like you missed out this term but let me tell you now we will make up for it. Even if they have to be done post summer exams, annual dinner, pub dec, North vs South and BUAC Take Me Out will go ahead, and they will be better than ever before. That’s without mentioning the fact that we will undoubtedly leave BUCS Outdoors as the overall winners this year, we’ve all put in far too much effort this year not to. So as 2020 ends (arguably the worst year of our lives), the best year of our lives begins and that’s a promise.


Dean Miller - Safe Sport Champion

The month of December saw UBSport highlighting those who had made an outstanding contribution to making sport safe and accessible for all during the first term of the academic year. In the first of two nominations for the club, Dean Miller got praise for masterminding the massive operation that saw over 100 of the club's endurance athletes return to training.


Goodwood 10K

Lucy Elms and Ellie Bull raced at the Goodwood 10K in early December, the pairing securing a pair of PBs as Elms made her debut over the distance, running 36:44 for UK#12 U23 in 2020. Bull, more experienced over the distance, took more than two-and-a-half minutes from her previous best, 41:12 her time.

Elms pacing Elms at Goodwood
It was a lot of fun running at the Goodwood 10K. Having not had much luck with injury and illness, my main aim going into the race was just to have fun and enjoy it. Since it was my first 10K, I ran the majority of it with my mum and then pushed on when told to. It was also great having my housemate Ellie Bull running there too, who smashed it with a PB! With Corona restricting races it’s great to get any opportunity to race, so it was nice to squeeze in the PB5K the weekend after. It’s also been an interesting experience starting my year in industry placement for my course amongst the pandemic. Working full-time, having to work up to 15 hour days and doing university work has made training really hard. Especially with the track being closed because of restrictions, which meant spending a lot of time at the dental loop! But the best way to end a long day at work, is getting a good session done with the BUAC girls! Lucy Elms

Full results can be found here.


Podium XC

Quirk leads (Photo: Pete Brown Photography)

With many areas entering tier 3, it was an elite-only event that prospered, with the organisers of the Podium 5K branching out into cross. The Lancashire-based event saw Amelia Quirk take the victory in 26:16, a dominant performance that saw her lead second place by 26 seconds.

In the junior men's standings, it was a strong finish for the BUAC boys as Ollie Newman placed 2nd, and Joe Hudson 4th.

Queen Quirk (Photo: Pete Brown Photography)

The AW report from the event can be found here.

Full results can be found here.



Whyte-Wilding cornering at the PB5K

Alum Ian Crowe-Wright was victorious at the PB5K, in Sussex, as he took home a new personal best of 14:23.

Current students Ruby Whyte-Wilding and Lucy Elms also raced, and both achieved new bests, with 17:22 for Whyte-Wilding a seven second improvement from her time at Mallory Park in October. Elms ran 18:01 for her new best, shaving three seconds from a time that had stood since February 2019.

Full results can be found here.

Mallory Park 10K

Maisie Grice ran 35:27 for fifth place at a rapid Mallory Park that saw the three lead male athletes end up with some of the fastest U20 10Ks all-time.

The Aldershot, Farnham and District athlete took 4 minutes and 59 seconds from her previous 10K best, recorded two years earlier, and the effort placed her UK#4 U23, as well as UK#42, for 2020.

Full results can be found here.

Essex Remembrance 5K

In a race whose results read more like a Cambridge and Coleridge club championships than an open 5K, Cambridge athlete Tom Keen took the victory, and a new personal best, as he led the field by almost 20 seconds. 14:44 was over 30 seconds faster than the GB junior had run previously.

Full results can be found here.


BUAC Bio - Sabrina Sinha

Sinha (L) with a BUAC relay team

After previously hearing from Adam Day, we had an eloquent piece from Sabrina Sinha, whose 2020 placed her firmly on the comeback trail.

Discussing her difficult past few years, as well as the difficulties of being an athlete in 2020, the piece was an incredible read and the most viewed piece on the BUAC website all year, receiving nearly 500 visits.

Sabrina's BUAC Bio can be found here.


Luke Gunn - Safe Sport Champion

To finish the month, there is perhaps no better place to end up than with the recognition of Head of Athletics Luke Gunn as a Safe Sport Champion. Responsible for much of the success of BUAC athletics in the past year, bar actually running the races himself, the acknowledgment of the time he puts into the club was well deserved.

Looking back on the year, we get to hear from Luke as he looks back on all that went on in the previous 12 months.

BUAC BUCS Indoors 2020 team

What an autumn this turned out to be. We coaches had spent months through the summer preparing for the students' return, and it was honestly some of my most enjoyable moments at BUAC being able to get everyone back training safely at a time when many other sports and activities could not.

The coaches adapted amazingly to increase provisions to cater for our swelling numbers in our smaller coach-athlete ratios. Coaching in smaller groups actually provided more time with each individual and I hope as a result actually allowed everyone to feel even more value than ever before.

BUAC men at BUCS Cross

My BUAC track-and-trace spreadsheet looked like a Google analytics algorithm at times, but it was the least we could do to keep activity going. November’s lockdown was a blow, and this time unlike in March, all students were still in Birmingham but we were blown away by everyone’s resilience to maintain positivity and diligence.

BUAC women at the National

Proven by a record club membership and so many PB’s in our December club time trials! It is heart-breaking not being able to socialise together in true BUAC fashion - yet we are still a family and the common struggle and experience this year I honestly think will bring us closer together than ever before. Thank you to James Davis for his energy and efforts on this years round-up posts - the passion he demonstrates with his words are exactly why we coaches want to come to work everyday!

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