Happy Birthday from this Thursday 2 July to Mohammad Ahmadzai, Brenda Atkinson, James Aulis, Columba Blango, Martina Dvorakova, Jack Fitzpatrick, James Jenks, Conor O’Keeffe, Louann Lamy, Avi Miller, Esther Olatunde, Thomas Patrick, Ray Tucker, Geoff Williams and John Wright
RECENT NEW MEMBER – We wish you a very warm welcome, and a happy, healthy and successful time with Shaftesbury to RUBY VINTON.
RUBY will be 14-years-old on the 7 August, and has had an outstanding career to date. In 2019 she won the Inter County, Southern, English Schools Cup Final and Suffolk Cross Country Championships, also winning the Virgin London Mini Marathon. In 2020 RUBY retained her Suffolk title, finished 6th in the English National and in her final race was 4th in the English Schools XC Championships.
CAN YOU HELP PLEASE – During the period when all competitions are suspended, I will do my upmost in keeping the Newsletter information and other content going.
I would welcome any contributions From Yourselves, any impending marriages, or additions to the family, any running or competing incidents, also past warm weather training/holidays (No Club 24 please). Currently the response has been excellent, but if you have anything that could make it into next week’s Newsletter – please email me.
TRAINING VIDEOS PRODUCED BY JADE LALLY – JADE has recently produced two videos relating to the basic fundamentals for Discus, this is the link to JADE’S first video on How To Hold A Discus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA9jyS4Wung&t=6s the second video is on Discus Basics: Foot Placement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8ahzDmrldk
YOU CAN JOIN TY HOLDEN’S CIRCUIT SESSION ON ZOOM – TY will be holding a circuit session on Zoom, which is a conferencing platform, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6pm. If you wish to join, please email TY at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will email you an ID number for you to join in. Zoom can accommodate up to 100 users at a time.
UPDATE ON PROCEDURES FOR USING ALLIANZ PARK FROM JEREMY SOTHCOTT – Which is now open to SBH members subject to the conditions below.
We have now negotiated the use of some Track & Field facilities with Saracens compliant with current guidance issued by the UK Government and England Athletics.
At the present time, the track & field groups will be limited to a maximum of five ‘Competing Club Athletes’ and one coach for each session e.g. 5 athletes on track and 5 athletes at the throws area.
Athletes should have their own implements. However, one implement of each weight will be left in the SBH store beside the sanitising equipment. Arrangements will have to be made in advance with TY HOLDEN.
Following Government Guidelines up to 5 athletes with a suitably qualified coach can now undertake Jumps training utilising jump beds and sand pits. We have updated our guidance documents, based on information and advice from our partners and government, to include guidance specific to Jumps areas (such as Cleaning requirements before, during and after sessions). Athletes, coaches, clubs and venues must follow the latest guidance – please read our updated guidance documents at: 👉 https://bit.ly/2ATiU7R
The indoor track and the clubhouse gymnasium cannot be used.
Athletes invited to train by their coach must be sent the attached Allianz Park Track & Field Agreement in advance of starting training at Allianz Park. The athlete and parent (if under 16) to sign and return to me and TY before they can train. Athletes should meet their coach promptly at their booking time outside the SBH Clubhouse where they will be asked to confirm that they do not have, and that no one in their household has, (or has had within the last 14 days) any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
The athletes will then be escorted using social distancing (2 metres) into the SBH Clubhouse to sign the attendance record with times in and out of the stadium (black A4 folder on photocopier). There is also some hand sanitiser on the table for use. Athletes must follow the instructions of the coach and observe social distancing during warm-up, the session and cool down.
Stadium Booking details
Please let me and TY know the names of the athletes and your preferred time slots for the following week (Monday to Sunday) before 6pm on the Saturday. We will confirm the availability and distribute the schedule to Saracens and to all coaches.
Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
All 1 hour 35 minute slots (Saturday & Sunday – last slot finishes at 7.20)
9.00 – 10.35, 10.45 – 12.20, 12.30 – 2.05, 2.15 – 3.50, 4.00 – 5.35, 5.45 – 7.20, 7.30 – 9.00
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
There are 3 x 1 hour 35 minute slots and 7 x shorter 50 minute slots
9.15 – 10.50, 11.00 – 11.50, 12.00 – 12.50, 1.00 – 1.50, 2.00 – 2.50, 3.00 – 3.50, 4.00 – 4.50, 5.00 – 5.50, 6.00 – 7.25, 7.35 – 9.00
There is a 10 minute gap between each session for transitioning.
If you haven’t got a key fob for gaining access through the clubhouse, then please contact GEOFF MORPHITIS Mobile: 07976 994302 who will arrange to issue one to you. Please do not enter the clubhouse until the coach/athletes from the previous session exit. No parents will be permitted to enter the stadium unless there is a child protection issue i.e. one coach and one athlete aged under 18.
There is a single disabled toilet (unisex) that can be used within the indoor area.
When going in and out of the Clubhouse from the carpark please make sure the door handle is left in the upward locked position at all times.
Link to the SBH Athlete and Coach Track & Field Training Agreement, which will sent to all participating athletes, and then to be returned signed by the athlete and parent – SBH – Allianz Park Track & Field Areement During Lockdown Period
Please let me know if you have any questions – JEREMY SOTHCOTT Mobile: 07764 621424 email email@example.com
ENGLAND ATHLETICS DRAFT COMPETITION PROGRAMME – England Athletics have just published May 2020 version 9 of The Draft Competition Programme for the period w/e 19 July to w/e 27 September. This sets the structure for joint men/women meetings which SBH hopes to follow. Fixtures below updated 24 June 2020 with Venue Confirmations and Dete Changes (these are shown in Red).
All the promotions listed below are subject to: –
1. Government lifting the present lockdown by 1 July so as to allow group gatherings
2. UKA issuing specific instructions to allow compliance with Government requirements
3. Obtaining a sufficient number of appropriately qualified officials from the participating clubs
4. Facility availability
5. Securing a suitable First Aid provision
6. Receipt of the appropriate licences from UKA
Saturday 25 July – LICC (1) – Venue Lee Valley – all age groups, Sunday 26 July – U17/U20 Southern Premier Division (1) – Venue Lee Valley – (Inter-Club competition featuring the 6 clubs which would have been the now cancelled YDL), Sunday 2 August – National Athletics League – Premiership Division (1) – Venue Lee Valley – U20 / Senior, Saturday 8 August – LICC (2) – Venue Lee Valley – all age groups, Sunday 9 August – U17/U20 Southern Premier Division (2) – Venue Lee Valley – (Inter-Club competition featuring the 6 clubs which would have been the now cancelled YDL), Saturday 15 August – National Athletics League – Premiership Division (2) – Venue Lee Valley – U20 / Senior, Saturday 22 August – LICC (3) – Venue Lee Valley – all age groups, Sunday 23 August – U17/U20 Southern Premier Division (3) – Bromley – (Inter-Club competition featuring the 6 clubs which would have been the now cancelled YDL), Saturday 5 September – U15/U17 Southern Area Championships – Venue TBA, Saturday 5 September – National Athletics League – Premiership Division (3) – Venue Chelmsford – U20 / Senior, Saturday 12 September – U20/Senior Southern Area Championships – Venue TBA, Saturday 19 September – U15/U17 England Championships – Venue TBA, Saturday 26 September – U20/Senior England Championships – Venue TBA
The British Championships are now being held in Manchester on 4/5 September, see report further down.
BRENDAN GALLAGHER RECALLS SHAFTESBURY’S LONGEST DAY – The following report was published in the Shaftesbury Harriers Quarterly Magazine for December 1983, and was written by BRENDAN who was the Team Manager and runner in the SLH/Nescafe 24-hour relay which took place at Barnet Copthall Stadium on 8/9 October 1983.
BRENDAN who passed away in May 2011 aged 60 – tragic, was for many years was the inspiration in getting athletes to compete especially in the Metropolitan League. On speaking to BRENDAN, came over as a gentle giant, but his technique in getting you to run was truly masterful and this showed in the success the club had during those years. He worked for Janes’s Defence Review Magazine, and was the correspondent on the Corporate Air affairs division, which included reporting on the numerous Worldwide Air Shows.
It all started one evening last January. I was slumped at the back of the Copthall Hilton Conference Centre – sorry the clubhouse committee room – pondering solutions to an urgent problem. Indoor shot-put training facilities were in short supply.it seemed. How to stop the 16-pound spheres splintering the precious parquet? Fit them with ostrich feathers and turn them into giant shuttlecocks? Or retro-rockets like Russian space capsules? We Homebrew Harriers are resourceful lads who relish an intellectual challenge, and I was confident of cracking the problem before the end of the meeting.
It was not to be, and my creative reverie was shattered by a crisp command from our Chairman, “Achilles MORPHITIS”. “you at the back there! Yes you, the Rasputin look-alike, pay attention” by now my curiosity was thoroughly piqued. “You and your home-brewing mates are none too bright, barked Achilles. “I’ve got just the job for you.”
And so the nightmare began. The job in question was to assemble a team for the inaugural SLH/Nescafe 24-hour relay at Copthall on 8/9 October. Naturally enough, faced with the prospect all day and all night scuttling around Copthall like a squirrel in a drum, Shaftesbury’s bravest and best all found pressing reasons to be out of the country that weekend. So where to find nine other mugs to participate in the Lunacy? In a flash, it came to me; So I put into place a plan to convince the Homebrew Harriers, “Right!” chorused the Harriers dubiously.
“Well then, we can settle down comfortably at the back of the pack and party the night away. I’ll lay on the ale and barbeque, and there’s sure to be lots of autograph-hunters from Parkside and Barnet Ladies, know what I mean.” “We’ll have a bit of that!” replied the Harriers as one man.
And so it came about we assembled ready to wear their mint Humbug vests to uphold the honour of the club. In wee JOHN BROE and JOHN LAMONT we had two genuine speedsters. There were two valiant new Vets DAVE MASHITER and DAVE ALLEN (who can throw the Hammer further than any other marathon runner in the world). The remaining six ordinary chaps who run their miles, drink their pints and don’t bother anyone: CHRIS IRELAND, JOHN KELLY, RAY POWELL, DAVE MACDIARMID, RUSSELL DEVITT (a late sub for CHRIS WELCH with a respiratory problem) and myself.
The rules were simple and merciless: running order to be declared and stuck to throughout the 24 hours, each runner to cover exactly one mile at a time, if you fail to complete your mile, you’re out and the team has to carry on without you.
Come the morning of the 8 October, the squad assembled in the clubhouse and it was time to size up the opposition. To my utter dismay it quickly became clear that the field was not made up of North Country super-clubs who would zip off in pursuit of world records, leaving us to funster on in peace. “Stap me, we could win this,” said the Flying Dwarf (JOHN BROE), his pink little pot-hunter’s eyes glinting with greed.
Needless to say, JOHN took not a blind bit of notice, blazing through the very first mile in (4.37), which turned out to be the fastest of the event. Then came JOHN LAMONT, who isn’t completely impervious to reason but on this occasion seemed fatally infected with the gong-fever. He cracked through his opening mile in (5.03), just one second over his average for the entire race. Now we were truly in stuck, leading the field and all thoughts of a good whoop-up firmly out of the window.
For a while Burnham Joggers led by admirable JIM MOUT took over the lead, until JOHN LAMONT regained the lead on his next leg and we never subsequently lost it. Burnham pushed us every step of the way though, occasionally regained ground and end up less than five miles short of our 262 miles 230 yards, which is a photo-finish by 24-hour standards.
The technical details of pace, diet, physical and mental reactions are worth recording. Organiser JOHN WATKINS pre-race publicity referred to the “beneficial effects” of 24-hour relays. Certainly if you look at it as one huge interval session – 28 x 1 mile in (5-5.30) with 40 interval – then it’s feasible that the race might have some subsequent good effects. Anyway, here are a few of my observations. Photograph’s of DAVE MASHITER, DAVE ALLEN, CHRIS IRELAND, JOHN BROE handing over to RUSSELL DEVITT, RAY POWELL handing over to DAVE MACDIARMID.
PACE – JOHN BROE and JOHN LAMONT averages (4.58) and (5.02) respectively. Most of the rest of us hit (5.20-5.30), with the exception of DAVE ALLEN who has been concentrating on his Hammer throwing lately, and did well to average to just inside (6.30) for the 28 miles. Most of us did our fastest times between the first and fifth miles, levelled out for the next half-dozen, declined gently until the last hour, and then put in a big effort on the final mile. JOHN LAMONT, as befits someone with a monster mileage background, was the most consistent, with times varying by just 25 seconds from (4.49 to 5.14).
DIET – As soon as it became obvious that we had a race on our hands all thoughts of swilling homebrew and swallowing hamburgers were forgotten. Most of us settled on sticky bars, biscuits, coffee, tea and fruit juice. However, CHRIS IRELAND, dubbed the “The Golden Wonder” by the Burnham camp, stuck to his cheese-and-pickle sarnies and was later to regret his conservatism, while the Galloping Pipsqueak seemed to set great store by an outsize Spanish onion.
PHYSICAL EFFECTS – First of all, I don’t think any of us suffered the glycogen depletion that makes the last few miles of a marathon such a tiresome business. We were tired all right, but nothing like a few extra hours sleep couldn’t fix. JOHN BROE after going home, bolted his dinner and slept for a straight 15 hours. JOHN KELLY nodded off twice in the pub, walking with a start each time and demanding hysterically “Have I missed my turn to run?”.
Aches and pains seemed to be concentrated in the Achilles area, though DAVE ALLEN and I suffered an inexplorable tightening of all muscles in the back of the legs from calf to upper thigh. In DAVE’S case it was so bad that for the first lap of his last few miles looked more like a slightly suspect walker than a runner, which makes his achievement in finishing the course all the more remarkable. The fact that JOHN LAMONT had run a (2.25) marathon the weekend before seemed to have no effect at all on his performance. Some of us appeared to thrive on it though: DAVE MACDIARMID ran a (54.50) PB in the Walton 10 the following weekend, and I was only 27 seconds off my best in the same race. And in my case that came after a week of trying to shake off that muscular tightness, which persisted for four or five days.
MENTAL EFFECTS – Probably the most interesting area of inquiry. In answer to the most obvious question, boredom wasn’t a problem. Having done your mile, wound down, visited the ablutions, changed kit and taken on any necessary fuel, you were left with just 10 or 15 minutes before you were out again. Your quiet quarter-hour was generally spent watching Rocky 1, 2 and 3, Mad Max on DAVE ALLEN’S giant sense-surround video machine. In general, the dominating sensation in between runs was one of increasing numbness and wobbliness, which was at its worst at about five of six in the morning. Photographs – Team Photo left to right JOHN KELLY, PHIL CUNNINGHAM, BRIAN CAKEBREAD, DAVE MACDIARMID, RAY POWELL, BRENDAN GALLAGHER, VIC GILLICK, DAVE MASHITER, DAVE CHALFEN and CHRIS IRELAND. Next BRENDAN after receiving the winner’s trophy. Finally RAY POWELL handing over to JOHN KELLY.
There was also the loneliness that afflicted me regularly as I found myself the only runner on the back straight, engulfed in the clouds of fine drizzle sweeping in out of the darkness.
The setting of a world best by the Hillingdon Ladies Vets team revealed another of the effects of sleeplessness and physical effort combined. The record finally went after a struggle that was sometimes painful to watch. We applauded the ladies with real warmth and there was scarcely a dry eye in the house – not even among the big butch Harriers.
I seem to have broken new ground in sports journalism by writing an account of a 24-hour race that will actually take 24 hours to read, so I better bring these memoirs to a close. But first I would like to thank five unsung members of squad, the officials who carefully recorded our every lap, mile, lap time and mile time throughout the race. If you hunger to know what it feels like to do non-stop mental arithmetic for eight hours at a stretch in the middle of the night, just ask MADELEINE ALLEN, LEIGH LAMONT, MARY POWELL, BRIAN CAKEBREAD and CHRIS WELCH.
NEW DATE FOR BEHIND-CLOSED-DOORS BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS – The following was published on the Athletics Weekly website recently. Photograph taken by MARK SHEARMAN.
Event now scheduled for 4-5 September at the Manchester Regional Arena, while the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead will no longer take place on 16 August.
With those August dates now not feasible, British Athletics said: “The format and shape of the competition and guidelines that will be adhered to for competitors and those helping to stage the championship will be subject to the government guidelines in place and will be communicated in due course.”
UK Athletics CEO JOANNA COATES said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our athletes an opportunity to compete and still become British champions at the end of the summer in what has been the most unprecedented of circumstances for all sport.
“People will be aware of my passion for women’s sport and I am grateful that the gender mix in athletics means everyone gets to return to the field of play. However, for those sports where men and women compete in separate structures, I urge those organisations to ensure efforts getting women’s sports back up and running are championed with the same passion and sense of urgency.”
The championships will be broadcast live on the Friday night on BBC Two from 18:30 and the Saturday afternoon on BBC One from 13:15.
“Thanks to the BBC for supporting us to showcase our sport under the Friday evening lights, and also to Manchester City Council for their investment into the facility and working with us to confirm we could stage this event in such challenging times,” added Coates.
“We are sorry that we cannot host our brilliant athletics supporters this year but hope for a healthy return for fans at sports events next year and to welcoming spectators to next year’s Olympic trials scheduled for 26-27 June.”
British Athletics also confirmed that the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead will no longer take place on 16 August. The event forms part of the Wanda Diamond League series and on Friday there was also confirmation that the Meeting de Paris an Eugene’s Prefontaine Classic meetings have been cancelled.
12 September has been marked as a possible alternative date for the Gateshead event, which would also be held behind closed doors, and British Athletics says that discussions are ongoing.
TOM MCNAB’S HUSPLEX TO STARTING BLOCKS – I recently posed a good friend of mine, a fine sprints coach, a few questions on his event. When, I asked him, was the crouch start invented? My friend was about twenty years out, and no wiser about the date of the invention of the starting block.
Before answering either of these pressing questions, let me say that I believe that any coach with a passion for his event should immerse himself in it. That interest should surely travel far beyond the most recent Powerpoint presentation or the latest drills, and involve at least a passing interest in the history of his event. Perhaps that is just the opinion of an old fogey, but that’s the way I feel.
The crouch start was invented in 1887 by the Irish-American coach Mike Murphy (father of the film star GEORGE MURPHY), and presented a year later on 12 May at the Rockaway track to a bewildered starter by the sprinter CHARLES SHERRILL, who was advised to adopt a proper position. I have the 1888 photograph to hand as I write. There are three other sprinters, all adopting various versions of the standing start. These were the ”lunge”, (a half-twist), a basic standing start, and the “dab” start, which meant that the front foot came down first. And then there is our man SHERRILL, knuckles on the ground, toe on the line and wearing a woollen hat, with left knee way out of line.
By the first Olympics of 1896, the crouch start had begun to establish itself, but even in the 100m. final only one runner adopted it. Another had a semi-crouch, supported on high pegs, the rest simply stood.
There was little in the way of technical development of the crouch start in the next forty years, when the starting block was invented. But hold on, I am getting ahead of myself. For the Ancient Greeks had invented a starting-sill, probably before the birth of Christ, with grooves set a few inches apart in the stone sill. And they also invented a starting-gate, the husplex. This was a right -angled gate, with the runner crouched on the starting sill behind a horizontal wooden slat, held up by a string which passed down the vertical post into grooves on the sill, back to the starter, who held the strings for each husplex. When he dropped the strings, the horizontal slats fell, allowing the runners to surge forward.
Alas, there is no visual representation of the husplex in Greek pottery or sculpture, only verbal description and, of course we have the starting- sill and grooves.
What happened before the husplex? Simple. False starters were summarily whipped. I have put this idea to the Technical Committee of the IAAF, but perhaps not surprisingly have so far received no reply.
The modern starting block was invented by the American GEORGE T. BRESNAHAN in 1927, was called “the G.T. BRESNAHAN Foot Support”, and given Patent Number 1701026 on 29 April 1927. Within a year, GEORGE SIMPSON had run (9.4) for 100 yards using it, a time which was not accepted as a world record.
By the 1948 London Olympics starting – blocks were accepted. I remember them well, heavy cumbersome things, with coconut matting to cover the block- surfaces. The 1980 Games saw the introduction of pressure-sensitive starting- blocks.
So there we are, from husplex to starting- blocks, but that isn’t all. For what happened before the starting gun? In rural sports, starts were made using a drum or even a trumpet. In professional betting-based two man match-races, starts were “by consent”. This meant that they were rather like a Western gunfight, the only difference being that if one runner was unhappy, then the whole process had to be repeated. This led by the middle of the 19th century in contracts insisting on a gun-start if consent was not secured within a given time, and soon consent had virtually vanished. By the 1860s match-races had, in any case, begun to fall out of favour, and handicap-based “Pedestrian Carnivals” began to dominate, making consent redundant.
So we are now at end of this particular story, from husplex to starting- blocks, from “consent” to gun, from the “dab” start to the crouch. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, what happened way back in the distant past, though there is a saying that those who know nothing of the past are lost in the present.
And this article would not be complete without some mention of timing. Here things are a little less certain. The first use of the word “stopwatch” is surprisingly early, 1737. By 1790, precision had reached ½ second, fine for distances, but useless for sprints. It was ¼ sec. by 1844, 1/5 by1865, 1/10 by 1924, 1/100 by 1932. A crude form of electrical timing was deployed as early as 1874, at Lillie Bridge, as an experiment at the Oxford- Cambridge Sports.
But hold on. The Australian professional sprinter JACK DONALDSON ran (9.3/8) for 100 yards and (21.1) 220 yards at least ten years prior to 1924, so how was he timed? The last performance was remarkable, in that it was run in Scotland in 1913, on grass, in a handicap race, at Shawfield Stadium, on a track which must have been less than 300m. I say this because I ran at Shawfield, the home of Clyde F.C, back in 1955, and the greyhound track around the pitch was about that distance. I doubt if many of our present crop could run as fast as that under such conditions.
All of the above may seem to many of you as the ramblings of an ancient nerd, and perhaps they are. But our leaders clearly think that the past is of some importance, for in a recent high jump instructional poster it states in the historical section that the Greeks “probably” practiced high jump. No, they did not. And that women first competed in Olympic athletics in Paris in 1924. No, that was 1928, in Amsterdam. But that was all a long time ago, so what does it really matter?
FOOTBALL TRANSFER PAYS OFF FOR FORMER SBH MEMBER KIRSTY LAW – The following was published on the Athletics Weekly website recently. Photograph taken by MARK SHEARMAN.
The Scottish athlete switched goalkeeping for athletics and has rediscovered her love for discus after teaming up with SBH member and coach ZANE DUQUEMIN. KIRSTY LAW admits nothing can top running out to the Hampden Roar, even though she feels ditching football for athletics was her best free transfer.
The 33-year-old claimed two caps at under-18 level for Scotland as a goalkeeper before throwing all her energies into launching the discus.
It has won the Highlander a record 12 Scottish titles but turning out at Glasgow 2014 on Mount Florida did make her think what might have been, she reveals.
“I do miss football. At 18, I made the decision to go to athletics and I stopped completely. A couple of years ago, I joined a team in Loughborough, the Foxes, because I missed it so much. But I went back to athletics and had to give it up again,” she says, speaking on a Scottish Athletics webinar.
“I go to Hampden a lot to watch the football team so to get on that field (at the Commonwealths) and compete was phenomenal. I was competing at the time when EILIDH DOYLE won her silver medal so they were playing The Proclaimers when I went into that circle. It gave me that buzz and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. It gave me my love and excitement back for the sport.”
The GB & NI international, who won her only outing of 2020 before the sport shut down, has edged back to full training after her Loughborough base reopened.
Working as a nurse, she has her ambitions firmly set on reaching the Olympics next summer after stepping back from the brink of retiring in 2017 when she dropped US-based coach JOHN GODINA and persuaded current thrower ZANE DUQUEMIN to guide her career.
“I was getting so frustrated with my throwing that I started crying,” she says. “That’s not me at all. But I was getting myself into a lull and a bad place that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I took a couple of weeks off.
“ZANE lived in Loughborough and I thought I was going to retire but I said to him: ‘can I come work with you?’ He said no bother and I started to enjoy it again.
“I didn’t know if it was because JOHN was so far away but ZANE found my love for discus again. We started working together in the January of 2017 but I got the love back and I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I’ve had it ever since.”
Although ZANE has relocated to train in Qatar, he has the practicing nurse itching to make her mark once competition restarts.
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” she adds. “I was ready to compete at the start of this year. But me and ZANE and SBH member JADE LALLY, we Skype and we’ve been doing that since he moved to Doha last year. Everyone else has been doing all these online sessions but it’s not new to us.”
HOW TO CALL A RACE – The following was published on the Athletics Weekly website recently. Photograph’s taken by MARK SHEARMAN.
TV coverage legend STUART STOREY gives budding broadcasters some tips on how to commentate.
What follows is a process of coverage when in the stadium. Waiting for the race to begin. Let’s start at the top as an example: “The Olympic men’s or women’s 100 metres final”. Remember that you as the commentator will say what the picture does not say.
What follows assumes that you have done your homework and have researched the work presented by the appointed statistician.
MARK BUTLER is the best statistician and has been a part of many major athletics championships over the years for the BBC and others and can be trusted to give you valuable backup.
Once you have taken on board the most relevant information in addition to what has been learned from your own experience including chats with athletes over the years, then you are ready to begin.
Here is a 10-step guide to calling a major event such as an Olympic 100m final.
1 – Study the race line up and know your athletes. At a major international event it is important that you have practised the correct name pronunciations. There were 11 million BBC viewers watching the men’s Olympic 100m final from Sydney in 2000. No pressure then!
In the case of the 100m final the start list must be learned. Both men’s and women’s finals are over so quickly there is no time to look down at the information in front of you. The heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals will have given you a good idea of what is likely to happen but assume nothing and the outcome may not come from the seeded centre lanes.
2 – The studio will lead to you as commentator. Use voice intonation and intensity along with a pace of delivery to create a pre-race atmosphere in both the race introduction and beyond because an Olympic final is special. Use words in a way that there is no doubt that this is a moment of Olympic history in the making. Many times the picture alone will create a special moment, don’t ruin it with too many words … good pictures have a great atmosphere of their own so no words is sometimes good commentary.
3 – The production team can talk to you and you can talk to them. Listen carefully to instructions from the producer of the event as they are an integral part of creating the moment with pictures. You will have to be able to cope with listening to instructions from time to time when commentating.
4 – There are several parts to the pre-race build-up for you as the race commentator.
(a) General introduction – paint the pictures with words commenting on your thoughts on the probable race outcome taking account of performances in the previous rounds but don’t go too heavy on the outcome because surprises do happen. Comment on individual athlete preparations. Some athletes will display nerves and some will appear cool and in total control. It is said that some races are won before the gun goes.
(b) The 100m final’s athlete line-up caption will appear on screen and is usually on screen for 10 seconds but in an Olympic final it may be a bit longer. There is time to give information in the next part so just read through the names within the 10 seconds offered.
(c) You will then be guided through the lane-by-lane athlete introduction. You will have about eight seconds in which to give a background to each athlete. The fewer words the better but once again use intonation and emphasis where appropriate as part of the race build up.
(d) The next part of the race introduction after the lane by lane introduction is just to go through the line up once again and then silence.
Remember to give just a couple of seconds between each of these parts which will not be noticed by the viewer but it will give the editors an opportunity to electronically cut clean for the highlights of the event for either on the news channels or on the follow up highlights packages. To talk continuously over the parts will make the editors job very difficult.
5 – There’s silence before the gun goes, but before the race gets underway let me emphasise that despite the technical underpinning of all athletics events, technical terminology should be avoided and you should use language that the general viewer can understand throughout the live part of the race.
Pick up commentary at about 10-15 metres after the point at which the start can be assessed. The start can be so important and make a real difference to the outcome but not always. In the big finals the margins of error are so small.
6 – Keep an eye on all lanes throughout the race. The middle four lanes are the seeded lanes, that is to say those athletes with the fastest qualifying in addition to race finish position.
Never assume that the winner will come from the seeded lanes, keep an eye on all lanes as sometimes the Olympic champion has come from an outside lane. Sometimes the athlete in lane eight will appear to be down but this can be an illusion with the athlete in that lane well in contention.
Add to the atmosphere with your voice increasing intensity as the finish line approaches. Sometimes the athletes will be within one hundredth of a second of each other (unless Usain Bolt is in the race!) so try to identify the gold medal winner because you are identifying the Olympic champion and catch up with silver and bronze when the replay is on screen later.
If it is so close then don’t take a chance on crowning the Olympic champion – wait for the photo finish to come up on the screen. That doesn’t stop you speculating on a possible outcome. The computer in the commentary box should be watched carefully for the formal result to appear.
7 – There will be a period of celebration post-race with live commentary with reference to the big names and how they performed but once again this is a part where pictures without words can be so powerful so don’t overdo the words.
8 – The next stage of coverage will be to assess the race with slow motion footage. Normally there will be a backup commentator who will take on the job of evaluating the race. It’s important that once the slow motion line up is on screen he or she should give it a couple of seconds before beginning to talk over the pictures. Remember the editor at all times.
The good commentator will put himself in the position of the viewer at home answering the sort of questions that the viewer would want to ask. There is always a danger that too much technical jargon is used in the slow motion phase. If a technical term is used then it should be explained.
9 – Finally run through the formal result caption on the screen. The studio will then take the coverage back for more assessment from the studio panel.
10 – Get ready for the next event on the programme.
From 1976 to 2012 STUART STOREY covered 10 summer and winter Olympics, nine with the BBC and one for the Olympic Broadcasting Service. He retired formally in 2017 but has since made appearances as a commentator at the Diamond League and events like the Berlin Marathon.
THE ATHLETICS MUSEUM A AAA LEGACY PROJECT – In summer 2018, AAA formally identified the project of creating a museum of athletics as part of their legacy to the sport. Since then, a small team has been working to put this plan into action. Thank you for your interest in and support for the project; this is the link to the current newsletter – TAM Newsletter Winter 2019 2020
OLYMPIC QUALIFYING PROCESS – An updated Olympic qualifying process which can be found here.
BRITISH ATHLETICS LEAGUE 50TH YEAR BOOK – We are delighted to announce that a publication celebrating 50 years of British Athletics League history is now available to purchase.
Copies can be bought for £5, or £8 for two, and £10 for three, which is the maximum order. The cost includes postage and packing, with all money raised going to help young athletes through the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, which has also supported many BAL athletes on their journey along the athletics pathway.
To order, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your order and make an online payment of the appropriate amount to;
ACCOUNT NAME : SHAFTESBURY BARNET HARRIERS, BANK : HSBC, ACCOUNT NUMBER : 41308378, SORT CODE : 400426
The publication itself features a range of nostalgic contributions from athletes, committee members, team managers and officials. Olympic champion and President of World Athletics, SEBASTIAN COE said: “The competition has been of constant high standard and I remember fondly my own competitions as a member of the Haringey team that were not only important for the club and its status but were important stepping stones to championships later in the season.”
There are great stories of feats that will impress, surprise and amuse you, from exhausted athletes doubling-up to score points, to guitar sing-alongs on team buses. Liverpool Harriers’ MIKE HOLMES has provided a fascinating series of archive reports that bring the piece to life, as do images by MARK SHEARMAN and MELISSA GRESSWELL. Statistical information has also been compiled by PETER MATTHEWS, with a club-by-club directory of every team to compete over the last five decades put together by MIKE HEATH.
Please note that orders will be satisfied on a first come first served basis. No booklets will be sent until payments have cleared so allow please allow seven working days between order and delivery.
ENGLAND ATHLETICS CORONAVIRUS HELP FOR ATHLETES – Many thanks to TUNJI who as reported on the 19 March newsletter is the father of NIAH AKINTOKUN.
In these unprecedented times, I wanted to draw the club’s attention to some of the great resources available online. England Athletics is expanding its campaign to support Athletics and Running for everyone @home, with a focus on ‘Running @home’ support and advice. The homepage can be accessed here
There are many webinars, interviews and tips from top coaches and athletes on how to stay conditioned and focused.
In addition, there are some fantastic videos for 4-11yr olds on the Funetics webpage put together in conjunction with England Athletics. The videos demonstrate parents and children (aged 4-11) taking part in FUN activities based on fundamental core movement skills: running, jumping and throwing. Funetics is a programme that has been designed to reflect the requirements of the National Curriculum Key Stage 1 and 2. At this time when our children are currently schooling at home, we hope that these video activities will support the need for education to continue at home. You can access the videos here TUNJI AKINTOKUN MBE – Non Executive Director, England Athletics
THE FOLLOWING SBH DOCUMENTS/INFORMATION CAN EITHER BE VIEWED, DOWNLOADED OR PRINTED
SBH 2020 Summer Fixture Card Front Sheet – Summer 2020 Fixture Card Front Sheet Final Issue 12-02-20
SBH 2020 Summer Fixture Card Fixtures, Updated 24-06-20 Showing Proposed Fixtures From 25 July 2020 – Summer 2020 Fixture Card – Updated 24-06-20 Showing Proposed Fixtures From 25 July 2020
Track and Field Team Managers Details – http://sbharriers.co.uk/athletics/track-field/team-managers/
Road Running Team Managers Details – http://sbharriers.co.uk/athletics/road-running/team-managers/
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION OF INTEREST CAN BE FOUND ON THE SBH HOME PAGE BY USING THIS LINK, THEN SELECT THE LEFT OR RIGHT ARROW – http://sbharriers.co.uk/
Allianz Park Membership, which gives SBH members 10% discount on entry to the Allianz Park stadium – Membership details and Form can be either printed or downloaded
Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Club Hoody, information on how to purchase one, please go to the bottom of this Newsletter
SBH MIDWEEK JUMPS CLUB AT ALLIANZ PARK – Currently Suspended. POLE VAULTERS REQUIRED FOR 2020 – Currently Suspended. STEEPLECHASE TRAINING AT ALLIANZ PARK – Currently Suspended.
PARKRUN 5K RESULTS – Currently Suspended
PARKRUN – Can you make sure that you are registered as ‘Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers’, as the link I use to select all results only shows SBH athletes. If anyone is also officiating can you please contact me, and advise me where and when.
UPCOMING SHAFTESBURY BARNET HARRIERS FIXTURES AND OTHER FOR THE NEXT 4 WEEKS – Due to the Coronavirus situation, all fixtures further notice. All fixtures have been Cancelled until the Tuesday 30 June, this is the link to the SBH Fixture Card updated on the 30 April – Summer 2020 Fixture Card – Updated 30-04-20 Showing Cancelled & Postponed Fixtures
PHOTOGRAPH’S – From time to time we have photographs of our members taken at meetings or presentations which we would like to use both on the website or incorporated within our report to our local newspaper. Can you please let me know if you do NOT want your photograph to be used. Also, I would appreciate if you could send me any photographs, which I can then publish on the website and newsletter.
CLUB EMBROIDERED RED HOODIES – Currently there are now over 750 Hoodies in circulation, this is the link giving details on how you can order your Club Hoody for £35, which includes having your name embroidered on the front Club Hoodies Updated 01-07-19
FACEBOOK – Photographs can be found on the SBH page.
CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF SHAFTESBURY INFORMATION – Currently I notify members (by email) using “MailChimp”. The reason I changed, was in November 2017 “Gmail” put a limit of 100 addresses that users could send to in a 24-hour period, and currently I send to approximately 850 members each issue.
On seeking technical advice “MailChimp” was recommended as the best way for SBH to go forward. There is one thing you should be aware off is that when you receive an email from me, the footer at the bottom has 4 options, of which one is “Unsubscribe Me From List”. Could I ask you not to select this as if you do you will be automatically removed from my distribution list.
SBH PRIVACY STATEMENT – In becoming a member, SBH will collect certain information about you. Can you please read the attached ‘Privacy Statement’ which contains Information on General Data Protection Regulations – SBH Privacy Statement Final April 2018
ALLIANZ PARK – Main Switchboard telephone number is 0203 675 7250.
CHARGES FOR USING ALLIANZ PARK – Currently the stadium is open for limited use.