21-Jun-09 by Tino Dummett
Many of the best athletes of Telford Athletic Club competed on Sunday 21 June at the Midland Counties Senior and under-20s Championships. The weather was cold and at times wet, but the athletes refused to allow their spirits to be dampened.
The first Telford athlete to race was Phil Shotton in the under 20 men’s 400m hurdles. Phil came first last year in the under-17’s race, but the first year in the under-20’s age group is always a tough one. He came fourth in a time of 57.98, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
Next to run was Chris Carter in the under-20 men 800m final. Chris is the England indoor champion at 1500m, a title he won in February 2009. He managed a fifth place finish against a tough field, including the England under-20 800m champion Adam Cotton. Chris’s time was 1 minute 57 seconds.
After the 800m was the 100m. In the under-20 100m heats Santino Dummett qualified for the under-20’s final in 11.23 seconds. In the senior 100m heats 22 year-old Ben Simons qualified for the senior’s final in a time of 10.96.
At the other end of the stadium, athletes were preparing for the toughest of sprint events, the 400m. Telford’s Toby Birtwhistle and Ben Riekstins were in the first heat, which would prove to be the fastest. Ben had a fantastic start and was leading for the first 200m of the race, but fatigue set in around the final bend where the runners more experienced at 400m still had energy left. Ben is a former medallist at the 200m in the English School’s Championship and the AAA’s Championship, the two toughest youth competitions in the UK, but has recently started running the 400m. Toby Birtwhistle, one of Telford’s best 400m runners, battled through the race to come fourth with 52.20 seconds, and Ben came sixth with 54.04. Another Telford athlete that has moved up to 400m from the faster sprints this year is Richard Rubenis. In the last 50m of his senior men 400m race he was doing well, catching the runners in front of him, but sadly missed out on the final by just 0.04 seconds. He came fourth in his heat with 50.26.
Colin Lancaster earned a bronze medal in the 3000m steeplechase, with a time of 11 minutes 53 seconds. His daughter, Cerian Lancaster, would go a step further, winning a gold medal in the under-20 women’s 800m, with a time of 2 minutes 34 seconds.
In the 200m, two Telford athletes were entered. Toby Birtwhistle ran 23.90 in his heat of the under-20’s race, while Jim Tipper, a veteran relay world record holder with the UK team, ran 23.37 after suffering an injury in his right leg before crossing the finish line. His time would have been much faster if he hadn’t been injured.
It was time for the 100m finals, and Telford had an athlete in both the under-20’s final and the senior men’s final. In the under-20’s, Santino Dummett had a terrible start and finished seventh, with a time of 11.27, much slower than his season’s best of 10.9 seconds. In the senior’s final, Ben Simons ran a superb race to claim second place with a time of 10.78 seconds. Also, Shrewsbury’s Andy Jones, a former UK long jumper, came seventh with 11.09. The winner of the under-20’s race was Birmingham’s Antoe Walters with a time of 10.71, and the senior’s was won in 10.60 by Coventry’s Joel Fearon.
In the field events, Telford’s Ben Cocker came seventh in the senior men’s long jump with 6.38 metres.
Bethan Partridge, last year’s English School’s gold medallist in the high jump, easily won the under 20 women’s high jump with 1.75 metres, 10cm clear of her nearest competitor. Being one of Telford’s most versatile athletes, she also came second in the under-20 women’s triple jump, jumping 11.56 metres. Coming first was Laura Samuel, the winner of the Aviva England under-20 Championships’ triple jump, who set a new Championship record.
There was only one PB ran on the day- the 10.78 100m run by Ben Simons, which was even more incredible because the day was wet and cold. Athletes taking home medals were: Bethan Partridge, gold in the u20 high jump and silver in the u20 triple jump; Cerian Lancaster, gold in the u20 800m; and her dad Colin Lancaster, who had a bronze medal in the senior 3000m steeplechase; and Ben Simons, silver in the senior men’s 100m.