A very proud day to be a member of BUAC today. With a massive 52 finalists across the weekend, it’s no surprise that BUAC took home an obscene number of medals. 15 medals across the weekend was also our biggest haul of all time. With 21 PBs, 4 club records and a championship record to boot, it is fair to say that it was our most successful BUCS of all time.
The day kicked off with the 5,000m final, which featured four BUAC athletes – that depth in finals appearances was a great start. In a great underdog story for the neutral, with Zakariya Mahamed winning the gold medal, despite competing in the B race. Michael Ward finished in third place in the A race, so was just pushed out of a podium by this unexpected run in the race before. A fourth place finish is still nothing to smirk at, however, as he was less than a second away from taking home some silverware. Joe Hudson (11th), Tomer Tarragano (20th), and Liam Rawlings (23rd) also finished strongly in this event, and they will all come back to BUCS next year with a hunger for BUCS points and medals.
First off in the field was the triple jump final, which aptly had two BUAC athletes competing for BUCS points and medals. Josh Woods added to his BUCS medal collection after a fantastic 14.91m effort. Just pipped by a fantastic Bedfordshire athlete, Josh will look forward to more success as this season progresses. Joshua Knox also jumped well to a seventh place finish. With both winning BUCS points for the university, it set the tone for what proved to be a fantastic day in the field.
Next on the track were the 400mH finals. Featuring three BUAC athletes across the two finals, it was already a huge achievement for the club, and a testament to their performances over the weekend. Up first were the women. Orla Brennan ran superbly well to a fourth place finish in her first BUCS appearance, just being dipped on the line to deny her some silverware. She will undoubtedly be back again to compete for more BUCS points in the future. Louise Robinson also ran extremely well to make it to the final in spite of injury struggles, winning two vital BUCS points for the overall standings. In the men’s race, Panashe Majuru stormed to a silver medal – the first medal of the day for the track side. His 52.33s clocking was a personal best by a shade over a tenth of a second, so there is a high chance of him improving even more throughout the season.
In the women’s Pole Vault, Trinity O’Connor and Emily Scrivener were inseparable, both jumping 3.50m. A personal best for Trinity was great to see, and her support for her teammate was unwavering throughout the day. Emily was just 10cm away from their personal best, so it was a fantastic performance from them as well.
The only semi finals on track were the men’s and women’s 200m. First up was Maddy Whapples, who was having a fantastic weekend having made it to the semi finals in the 100m. It was not to be in the 200m, however, as being seeded in a tough heat meant making the final was just out of her grasp. The boys were then also up to see if they could make it to the final. Cam Bailey was up first, and ran a superb 21.98 clocking into a -2.0 wind. This was a fantastic effort, especially in spite of some hamstring issues during the heats the day before. Darian Moore also ran fantastically, finishing second in his heat to the eventual champion, his 21.79 clocking was a personal best.
Hannah Jones was then up in the women’s long jump final. After a solid effort in the heats, she narrowly missed out on a place in the top eight in the eventual standings. In the men’s final later in the day, Sam Khogali and Josh Woods jumped very well against some tough competition. Josh narrowly missed out on BUCS points, which is a great effort as this was his second final of the day. Sam also jumped a huge 7.49m, which secured him second place in the event. After a bronze medal at indoors in Sheffield, taking home one place higher was certainly a good feeling for the club record holder. Both athletes are very early into their summer seasons so far, so hopefully there will be more to come from them both as the season progresses.
Also in the field was the women’s discus final, featuring Ellie Alcock and Kirsty-Anne Ebbage. Ellie, after a fantastic effort to get through to the final, threw an official personal best of 31.50m, but just missed out on a top eight finish. Kirsty-Anne Ebbage, after a strong performance in the heats, also threw a personal best of 43.77m. This effort was further than her qualification mark, and a great indicator for the season to come for her.
After a well earned break on the track, the events came underway again with the 3,000m steeplechase. A BUAC trio of Will Battershill, Ben Thomas and Brychan Price-Davies all featured, creating a sea of red around the track. Will Battershill was able to add another gold to his collection as he finished in a blistering 8:56.39s clocking. Ben Thomas was not far behind to secure the BUAC 1-2, with a 9:04.89s personal best. Just missing out on BUCS points was Brychan Price-Davies, but he still had a great performance as he broke the ten minute barrier.
Next up were the 800m finals. Issy Boffey and Tilly Simpson lined up for the women’s race. Issy stormed her way to the front of the pack, creating a gap between her and the rest of the field. With a lap to go, Issy still led the pack while Tilly was well placed in the chasing group. Finishing with a pacy 2:05.17s clocking, Issy managed to secure the gold medal for BUAC with three seconds to spare. Tilly, having been slightly boxed in by the Loughborough and Leeds Beckett runners in the final lap, just missed out on a podium, but finished with a great time of 2:10.30s. Despite not being on the podium, these were still valuable BUCS points to contribute to the overall standings. In the men’s race, Tom Keene kept pace with a blistering start from the lead runners, cementing himself in the lead pack. As the pace did not seem to let up, he fared fantastically well to hold onto sixth position with a time of 1:49.49s. It was also great to see UCB’s Sadam Koumi El Nour, who trains at our track, finishing in a very impressive second position.
The two lap races were followed by the one lap finals. Hannah Kelly lined up for the women’s final as the only BUAC athlete, but her presence was far from small. Setting off at a lightning pace, she quickly made up the stagger on her outside athletes. Leading the way after 300m, she was looking in great shape for a quick finish. Eventually being out-dipped by a few tenths, Hannah still ran a stellar 54.03s personal best time to bring a silver medal back to Birmingham.
The women’s high jump kicked off at 1:35, but it was not until later that Laura Zialor began to rack up the clearances. She had her eyes set on the meeting record of 1.85m, which seemed to be within her grasp. Well clear of the field, Laura took home a gold medal for BUAC, as well as achieving the new BUCS record of 1.86m.
Also in the field, Fenton Bishop-Timings snuck into the BUCS points positions in the men’s javelin throw. His 54.77m effort was just shy of his personal best the day before, but was still enough to cement eighth position overall in a solid championship performance.
On the track, Charlotte Alexander, Saskia Millard, Elisha Tait and Kate O’Neill lined up in the BUAC red and gold, looking to continue the BUAC domination in the longer events so far. Unfortunately, Saskia pulled up during the race due to injury, so we wish her a speedy recovery in time for some fast times this season. Kate O’Neill (14th) and Elisha Tait (9th) both ran superbly in a tough field, doing the team proud. It was Charlotte Alexander, however, who was the highest BUAC finisher in fourth place. She ran a blistering 16:20.10 clocking, and was not far behind the podium places.
Both Emma Bakare and Hannah Barnden progressed to the shot put finals after great throwing in the mornign’s pools. Hannah threw a solid 11.85m in the pools, but could not quite produce the same results in the final. Regardless, an eleventh place finish for her was a great result from the weekend. Similarly, Emma Bakare qualified with a huge 12.28m effort, but could not quite improve on that in the final later in the day, meaning she finished in tenth place.
Having qualified in emphatic fashion, Maisie Grice and Lucy Jones laced up their spikes to race in the 2,000m steeplechase finals. Maisie led from the start, quickly establishing a lead in the front pack. Lucy also managed to stay in this leading group, meaning a strong BUAC finish was essentially secured as the race came down to the last couple of laps. That, however, was when Maisie made her move. Streaking away from the pack, she finished in a personal best time of 6:27.28s: a new club record, placing her sixth all time in that event. Lucy also had a great finishing kick, fending off challenges from strong athletes to secure fourth place for BUAC. Both athletes raced extremely well, bringing home yet more BUCS points for the overall standings.
Following the pair on the track, Jasmine Clarke stepped up for the final of the 100mH. The hearts were her first senior 100mH race, so the fact that she made it to the final was extraordinary in itself. After a strong start out of the blocks, she powered her way to a fifth place finish overall – a great achievement in her first championships at sprint hurdles.
Once the hurdles were put away, it was back to the middle-distance team to take to the track. The BUAC quartet in the women’s 1500m was a great sight to see, with Elsa Palmer, Sabrina Sinha, Freya Bennett and Emily Thompson bringing home BUCS points for the overall totals. Sabrina particularly excelled, keeping pace with Jessica Judd at a blistering pace for the majority of the race. Coming home with a bronze medal and a 4:14.32s clocking, it was a very impressive run for Sabrina. Emily Thompson was also not far behind her in fifth place after a very well judged race. Freya Bennett (8th) and Elsa Palmer (10th) also had great showings for UoB, with Freya surpassing her previous personal best twice during the weekend. In the men’s race, John Howorth was the only BUAC athlete able to make it through to a stacked final. As the race came down to its conclusion, John managed to stay in touch with the leading pack to give him a chance of a medal. As he crossed the line, however, it was too close to call as to whether he had done enough to clinch bronze. After a nervous wait (and constant refreshing of the Roster app), the great news came through that John had bested his Stirling competitor by a mere thousandth of a second, cementing his silverware in the final standings.
Indoors, the relays were perhaps the most anticipated event of the whole weekend, and outdoors it was the same story. The tension was palpable as the women’s 4x100m team stepped out onto the track. Silence rippled across the track as Jasmine Clark, following her hurdles final earlier in the day, got set in her blocks in lane four. As the gun went off, Jasmine exploded out of the blocks, before handing the baton smoothly to Lauren Butler. Lauren pounded down the back straight before handing to Maddy Whapples, who had a point to prove after missing out on the 200m finals earlier on. With a searing run around the bend, it was up to Hannah Jones to bring us home – which she did in great style. Keeping pace with the 100m champion from Bath ahead, as well as a Cardiff Met athlete who was also in the final, Hannah brought us home to a superb bronze medal, and a club record in the process (47.18s).
Next up were the men, where the team from the day before had been completely overhauled (to the relief of Jamie, Oscar and Ben). Fresh off his 200m personal best earlier in the day, Darian Moore got BUAC off to a flying start before handing the baton to our track captain, Cam Bailey. Cam’s rangy running down the back straight meant we were fantastically placed for the changeover with Danny Lamb. Danny blitzed around the bend before passing the baton to Muslim Habib, who was a late entry after finishing his Ramadan fasting just days before. With the rest of the club screaming from the sidelines, Muslim powered the baton through the line just after a strong Brunel side, securing another silver medal for BUAC. Just like the women just moments before, the boys were also able to break the club record with a 41.17 clocking.
The 4x400m races were up next, and the women’s super team were looking to challenge a very strong Loughborough side. Olivia Kimbowa set her blocks to start the relay off, and ran a characteristically fast-paced first leg to put BUAC in the driving seat of the race. Hannah Kelly, after a silver medal and personal best earlier in the day, battled with the Loughborough athlete on the second leg all the way around the track. After just failing to make it past at the first time of asking, she flew past on the back straight to hand the baton over to Orla Brennan in first place. Despite losing the position early in the leg, Orla knew that she would have the power to overcome the deficit in the latter stages. She was right. Powering past in the final stages of the leg, it was all up to Issy Boffey to bring home the baton. As cheers turned to screams, Issy managed to create a small gap into the back straight, which only increased as she came over the line to clinch the gold medal. Yet again, this was a club record in a relay, clocking in at 3:40.93s.
The boys then lined up, looking to bring home another great result in the final event of the day. There had been a lot of talk about the Loughborough team coming into the relay, and there has to be some respect (in spite of our rivalry) in their dominant performance in this race. In the chasing group, however, BUAC were perfectly placed with Panashe Majuru leading us off to a fantastic first leg. He then handed the baton over to Tyler Bilyard, who used his 800m racing experience to put together a great second leg against some tough opposition. Tom Keene was next up, and just about managed to hold onto the pack in the first half, before using his imperial endurance to give Harry Fisher the baton right in the middle of the medal-hopefuls. As harry blasted around the opening 200m, he looked to be in a perfect position to lead the team to a bronze or silver medal. Then, however, disaster struck. After a reckless dive up the inside from the Oxford team (which had been disqualified earlier in the race for a handover violation), Harry fell with about 120m to go. Heartbreak for BUAC as he pounded the ground in frustration. Despite the DNF in the final standings, the boys should look back on their efforts with pride, and come back for more next time with a vengeance and hunger to bring home some well-earned silverware.
Overall, it was an incredibly successful weekend for BUAC, and one that will not be forgotten in a long time. Finishing SECOND overall was a massive achievement for the club, and it means that we have already beaten our BUCS points record for the year with the multi-event championships still to come. With both standout performances and incredible depth across the board, Birmingham is in a great place for athletics, and is certainly cemented as a national powerhouse. Personally, it was a pleasure to be part of a team with such a phenomenal culture, and to be able to watch the incredible performances from our athletes throughout. A massive thank you also has to go to the coaches: Luke, Deano, Mike and Jade; the physio/masseuses: Tom and Laura; the track captains: Cam and Tilly; Zach and Cam’s dad for taking such amazing photos, and Jonny
and Adam for managing the weekend so well.
UP THE BUAC