The East Region’s top endurance development athletes assembled for a squad session ahead of some frantic cross country action over the next six weeks. With one week to go before the 2018 Welsh Cross Country Championships, the squad included reigning champions from last year – Chloe Hale (Blaenau Gwent) and Jack Organ (Brecon) – as well as Celtic Cross Country international Spencer Smith (Newport), SIAB 3000m international Jackson Mountford (Newport), 2018 Welsh Indoor 800m champion Ceri Griffiths (Newport), and two winners from this season’s Gwent League, Lloyd Sheppard (Cardiff) and Ellie Robinson (Newport).
A total of 34 athletes from six clubs attended, led by a team of 7 licensed UK coaches.
The day commenced with an extended skills-based warm up on tarmac. This was followed by intervals on grass incorporating a variety of terrain – short uphills and downhills, flat stretches, technical elements, long hill loops, and some driving 50m uphills to finish.
After lunch there was a physical preparation session – simple or advanced depending on age and experience. The day concluded with a talk on nutrition for younger athletes, and a small informal discussion group for older athletes.
The end-of-day feedback was that everyone enjoyed themselves. While they would say that, it was obvious that the squad system of bringing the best athletes of the region together added an extra dimension to their individual effort, motivation and commitment.
Report by Darryn McAtee, East Region Coaching Coordinator