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As we move into a new year and a new season, it’s a good time to reflect on the year gone by and the achievements of all our athletes, whether it be new personal bests, county selection, national rankings, trophies and medals, or simply competing for the club for the first time, trying a new event or learning new skills.

Photo above shows U15 athlete Mia McIntosh winning the 75m hurdles at English Schools in July in a time that vaulted her to the top of the UK rankings for 2018

It’s also a good time to honour those members who broke new ground, setting new records – and there were many. In fact, 2018 was a record setting year for Dacorum & Tring AC, on the track, in the field and on the roads, with a massive 121 new club records set by our athletes – the most ever in the club’s history.

The stats, as compiled by club statistician Paul Burton, show that the balance was almost perfectly split between men and boys (61 records) and women and girls (60 records). A total of 60 records were set on the track, with 16 in sprint hurdles, 13 in middle and long distance (800m and above) and eight in sprints. In the field, 27 new bests were achieved, with 21 in the throws (including seven in javelin and six in shot) and six in the jumps, while two were set by our multi-eventers. On the road, of the 32 new best marks set in 2018, the 5k distance came out on top, with 11 records, followed by the half marathon with seven and the 5 mile distance with six.

Pierce Reynolds posted the highest number of new records – he amassed a total of 19 new club marks in wheelchair events. Newcomer Mandy Jackson, running in the VF60 category, set a whopping 11 new club records, 10 on the road and one on the track, while U17 athlete Marli Jessop and Alex Jackson, in the U13 boys, set seven apiece – with Marli also contributing to three U17 women’s 4x100m relay records. 

Our young athletes, from U13 to U20, accounted for 43% of all the records, with a total of 52 new club bests, while our senior athletes (women only – for the first time in years, there were no senior men records set) recorded 11 new bests, and our two young disability stars, Esme O’Connell and Pierce, collected 25 records between them. And to show that age is no barrier to success or improvement, our veteran athletes achieved an impressive 33 records, with vet women accounting for 19 and vet men taking 14.

Esme won medals in a range of disability events and contributed valuable points to the U17 women’s EYAL team

The first quarter of the year accounted for a total of 16 records, 10 of them on the track and six on the road. Nine of those track records were broken indoors, with Ralph Williams and Marli Jessop taking three apiece in the 60m hurdles (with Marli adding an outdoor 80m hurdles best in late March) while Philly Lowe grabbed a new outright best for the women in the 800m and Esme O’Connell added to her tally in the 60m. 

Alex Eykelbosch set a new women’s outright mile best in the USA, where she is studying, while Kerry Ardley collected her first club record in the half marathon in the VF35 age group and Celia Findlay smashed the 20 mile road record in the VF50 category. Three-quarters of the records were set by women and girls, thanks in part to the emergence of Mandy Jackson in the VF60 category, as she achieved the first three of her 11 records, while the youngest record setter of the period was U13 athlete Tim Fryer, in the 5k road.

The next two quarters, from April to September and encompassing all the major track and field matches and summer road races, accounted for 93 new club records. Our disability athletes shone during this period, with Esme setting records in three field events and Pierce recording his 19 new club bests in wheelchair track distances from 100m to 1500m as well as javelin and discus.

The U17 women were the most successful age group over the summer season, with 12 new records: Amelia Woodnick, Milly Gall, Libby Mallord and Marli Jessop broke the 4 x 100m relay record twice, Marli scored three new 80m hurdles records; Libby Mallord broke the 200m record twice; Leonie Onyems entered the record books with a club best in the triple jump;  Milly got a new record in the heptathlon; Indira Patel, recently returned from Singapore, grabbed two new records at the 5000m distance on both road and track and Amy Wright set not just a U17 but an outright best for the women’s hammer.

Marli, Libby, Milly and Amelia broke the U17 women’s 4 x 100m record three times last year

The U13 boys’ team accounted for 10 new club bests over the summer season – set by just two boys, Alex Jackson and Rhys Harries; Alex set five records in shot and two in hammer while Rhys took two new bests in the javelin and one in pentathlon.

The U17 men broke eight records during the period: Kristian Imroth set new bests in the 1500m and 3000m and began his assault on the steeplechase for his third, while Ralph Williams nabbed two new records in the 100m hurdles. This period also marked the emergence of Destiny Ogali, our exciting new sprint specialist, who grabbed a brilliant new club record in the 200m and contributed to a new 4 x 100m best together with Solomon Sanford, Josh Woods and Tom Gerard. The final record breaker was Middle Distance Squad member Freddie Truman-Williams, who marked his return to full strength after injury with a new club record in 5k on the road.

In his first year at D&T, Destiny (left) qualified for English Schools, where he finished second in the U17 men’s 100m final

The U15 girls amassed seven new records, led by Mia McIntosh, who smashed the 75m hurdles record twice to end the season ranked first in the UK, and Katie Webb, who broke the discus record three times, while Abby Parker entered the books with a strong new PB in the 300m.

The U20 men and the U15 boys’ teams each earned two records apiece: Daniel Hopper (U20) broke the outright best record for long jump with his performance at English Schools, while Middle Distance Squad member Jamie Ayres (U20) tried his hand at long distance and set a record in the half marathon. Emerging middle distance star Joseph Chamberlain, meanwhile, lowered the U15 boys’ record in the 1500m twice to end the season ranked ninth in the UK.

The Middle Distance Squad had a stellar year: Top row from left: Kristian, Joseph (who set two new club records in the U15 boys 1500m), Jack, Tom G, Thomas A, Angus, Sam, Rhys; Bottom row: Grace, Evie, Beth, Olivia, Scarlett

Finally, the powerful U13 girls 4 x 100m relay squad composed of Brooke Evans, Krystal Powley, Amy Barrett and Jasmine Hardy broke a long-standing record in the 4 x 100m relay, marking the fourth relay club best of the 2018 season.

On to the older athletes then, and our senior women came away with seven records, all set on the track. Alex Eykelbosch smashed the 1500m record in April, only for Sarah Grover to lower it again four months later.  Sarah also set new records in both the 1500m and 2000m steeplechases. Philly Lowe managed a brilliant new club best in the 400m and added her speed to a new 4 x 100m relay outright best, with the help of U17 athletes Amelia and Libby and U20 athlete Remi Jessop.

The remaining 20 records of the period were set by our talented vet squads – 11 for the women and nine for the men. Claire Hallissey took a new 5k record in the VF35 age group – particularly impressive as she was running for two – while Kate Rennie (VF40) smashed the outright best club record for 10 miles on the road, vaulting her to sixth overall in the UK rankings for the age group. Catherine Davies set a new VF50 5k record, which was bettered five months later by Celia Findlay, who also grabbed a new 10k record. Mandy Jackson added to her total of VF60 records with new bests in the marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k and 5000m. In the VM50 age group, Peter Stansbury made two new marks in 300m and one in the high jump, while Dave Gordon added two in pool vault. John Cooper added three new records in the VM70 category, all in middle distance, while John Slack grabbed a new 5k VM70 best at the club champs in Waddesdon.

The Waddesdon Manor 5k race, which doubled as the D&T 5k Championships, brought four new club records, for John Slack (VM70), Claire Hallisey (VF35, second left), Celia Findlay (VF50, #108) and Indira Patel (U17, #249)

Twelve club records were set in the final three months of the year by 10 different athletes, all of them on the road. Mandy Jackson (VF60) and John Slack (VM70) took two records each, in the half marathon and 5 miles road. The popular Hatfield 5k series accounted for two new records, with David Olima leaping into the record books with an impressive new VM40 5k record and Phil Pugh breaking his own VM60 record. Ania Gabb came within 40 seconds of breaking through the 3-hour mark when she set a new outright women’s best in the marathon in Frankfurt and George Dowding lowered an already impressive U17 men’s record in the 5k at Abbots Langley. The final four records of the year were set at the Hatfield 5 mile race: in addition to Mandy and John’s 5-mile records, new bests were also set by Sarah Grover (senior women), Freddie Truman-Williams (U17 men), Jamie Saunders (VM40) and Celia Findlay (VF50).

The Road Runners showed up in force for the Hatfield 5, which doubled as the club 5 mile championships
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