When we’re not competing … we’re spectating

Being a runner means that I do a lot of competitions and races. So most of my weekends consist of waking up early, packing the car and then my dad, Matthew and myself traveling across the country to run up one mountain side or another. However, as an athlete I know that you can have setbacks, restricting you from doing a certain race or championship. So when we’re not competing… we’re spectating and supporting.

Something myself and many other have had to struggle with having injuries. Personally, mine was my back, injured after having a fall on concrete flooring at school. I was advised to take a few weeks out of training and racing to make sure my back could fully recover. I was allowed to start racing in mid-October and this meant that I was back in time for the Cross Country season. With this injury, my Cross Country season wasn’t as successful as I hoped. My first major disappointment came in the Yorkshire cross country championship, I ran with pain in my back and missed out on selection for the Yorkshire team. This lead to me doing more exercise for my back, however, due to the enduring pain I then failed to finish the Cross Country trials for West Yorkshire team, for the English School Championship. Knowing that my brother and many of my friends were competing in the championship, I didn’t want to miss out on supporting them around the course. So on the 5th March, my dad and I dropped Matthew off with the West Yorkshire team and drove down to Wollaton Park, Nottingham. Having stopped off on the way down to the race we knew that the West Yorkshire team would arrive before us, so all we had to do was to find them. But saying that there were 45 counties there, this was much easier said than done. When we found the teams tent all the athletes were out walking the course, so I had some time to get my camera ready for taking a photo of the races. When the team arrived back, I got some time to have a chat with friends until they had to get ready for their race. As the first race was the Intermediate Girls and the team I would have been in I when to the start with the girls to got their team photo, then situated myself out on the course so I could get photos and then sprinting down to the tent to find out how the race went. The rest of the day continued with the same theme: positioning my self on the course to get photos and going back to the team’s tent to talk with a friend. So even though having an injury for the trial race I wouldn’t have missed supporting my friends and the West Yorkshire team that day.

IMG_8841.JPGPhoto: Amelia Lancaster (green/purple/white vest of South Yorkshire) and Maddie Deadman (red/white vest of Hampshire) racing at English schools (taken by me)

Along with injures, your age can stop you from doing a race you have been wanting to do. Since I found out about the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relays, which is held in Patterdale Cumbria, I have anticipated being able to compete in the Bingley Team. For the event this year I was 15 and you have to be 16 to run the first leg, however the relay was on the 4th October and as my birthday is on the 8th October I was 4 days too young to take part in the event. Matthew and I really wanted to race so we decided that the next best thing was to go and support  the club. We traveled up early in the morning to King George V Playing Fields in Patterdale to watch the start what was at 9:15 am. The relay consists of 4 legs with 2 athletes on each leg (8 athletes in total) and Bingley Harriers had to two teams out, 1 Mens and 1 Ladies. The Bingley Men came through in 5th place and the Bingley Ladies came through in 60th place (7th ladies). When all the teams had came through we went back to Patterdale and just spent some time in the playing field. Around 12.45 the first team came in which was Borrowdale and they completed the 36.2km course in 3:34 hours. The Bingley mens team came in 11.81 minutes later in 6th place. Then the Bingley Ladies finished in the time of 6:05 in 69th place. The day was really good and it was brilliant to see what sort of mountain events I can look to doing in the future.

On the 17th October I want along to the British Fell Relays,  which were held in Pendle. In this event Bingley mens team finished 8th and Bingley ladies finished 6th. Another brilliant day supporting the Bingley team, and also participating this time. So even if your too young to race, I find that even going to support older members of my club in bigger race I can still learn a lot and see what I can do in the future.

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Photo: Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay, Patterdale, Cumbria (Taken by me)

When I don’t go along to races I like watching athletics on TV (obviously when its on, and you can find it, you sometimes have to live stream to be able to watch). I love watching athletes who are at the top of their sport from, Diamond League track event to World Mountain Running Championship or a Cross Country event, its great to see how these top class athletes perform and what tactics they have for their races.

Last weekend was the English School Track and Field Championships at Gateshead International Stadium in Newcastle. This event was live streamed so athletes who didn’t make the event or family members of athletes who were competing could see how they preformed. When I found out about this I was exited as I had a number of friends competing in different events. I thoroughly enjoyed watching friends succeed in the event they were competing in. It was also encouraging to see how other girls race the 1500 week in week out and how they pace the race as seconds matter on the track.

IMG_8842Photo: Tilly Simpson (Derby) Winning English School 1500m for the Intermediate Girls 2016 in 4:21.47 (Taken by Hazel Bell)

So even if I can’t race on a particular day from injury, other racing or personal commitments, or simply because I’m too young, I love to spectate and support fellow athletes. By watching a race you can learn so much, it can teach you how to approach your own race and show you new races what you could do in the future.

Until next time

Vicki x

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