The role of team manager is often challenging for various reasons, constant emails and pleas for competitors, often with little response. It must be a rare occurrence when said managers have the unenviable task of having to allocate so few places in each event to so many athletes wanting to participate, such was the appetite for a return to club competition following our enforced sabbatical.
Rob Finnis found himself having to make some difficult decisions to balance athlete enthusiasm with prospective results. The ladies, under the care of Sue Stockdale, were also very well represented although it would be great to see a few more seniors help fill some of the gaps.
The excitement of a return to track competition was palpable in training before we travelled to Eccles for Round 1 of the Northern Athletics League. Harriers, for the first time in a long time, covered almost every discipline, in some cases we were the only team competing.
For a number of athletes this was their first endeavour into senior competition but they were by no means intimidated by the opposition. First making the step up was 15 year old Albert Bradshaw, showing tremendous ability in both the 100 and 200m sprint races, setting PBs in both and a top 20 and top 10 UKA ranking respectively.
There were 21 PBs set on the day, apologies for not listing all those who did and, including Albert, an incredible 8 top 10 UKA Power of 10 rankings.
Sam Danson, chasing an England U20 team qualifying jump of 6.90m was a mere 3cm short, securing an English Schools qualification in the process while also setting PBs in both shot putt and the 200m.
The middle distance races added more PBs. Aadi Whitlock and Ray O’Keefe in the 800m, Laurence Manley and Rohan Jenson in the 1500m and a special mention to Sue Stockdale who as well as team managing the senior ladies took on both the 1500m and 3000m setting new PBs in both distances.
Out in the field events, Sprints coach Charlie Bird claimed top 10 UKA rankings in all 3 of her events, long jump, shot putt and hammer, with Ashley Pritchard and Simon Frith also claiming top 10 slots in Hammer and Triple jump.
To cap off a very successful day after winning both her 400m, another PB and top 10 ranking and her 800m, Rebecca Dilworth, another athlete making her first appearance in senior competition, kept her powder dry for the final leg of the women’s 4x400m relay. Coming in to last changeover the ladies found themselves adrift by about 50m but Rebecca found another gear and chased down East Cheshire to take a well earned victory on the line, it was the most exciting race of the day.
As a reward for all the huge amount of effort and support put in by all the athletes, parents and officials, the results have now been checked and published and Macclesfield came out on top, beating a very strong East Cheshire into 2nd place.
A great start to what promises to be a very exciting and enjoyable return to Track and Field competition for 2021. Our next Northern League fixture is at East Cheshire Harriers in Ashton-under-Lyne on 19th June.