Feature Fridays - Maldwyn Harriers AC
2020 has been a busy and challenging year for Maldwyn Harriers so far! As facilities and group training started to shut down in March, so our coaches sprung into action. Contingencies and activities were regularly produced for all athletes, with the juniors getting close support to ensure they could keep their ambitions on track. As lockdown eased through August, the club worked with Freedom Leisure at Maldwyn Leisure Centre to ensure a safe and effective return to group training, with limited numbers. If restrictions on training continue to ease, the club hopes to welcome back more athletes and groups into winter.
We had success in the Welsh Cross Country Championships back in February, with athletes Maddie Griffiths, Aled Breeze and Mackenzie McCourt gaining Welsh vests for the London Mini Marathon. Sadly that race didn’t come to pass, but this selection capped off a great winter season for our junior endurance group. Since then, coach Hefin Rowlands has been keeping the athletes busy with tailor-made training programmes and the group has been meeting up online to maintain their very strong bond. This even extended to meeting up on Zoom to do our weekly circuits sessions together!
Continuing on the endurance theme, after a suggestion from a club member the club virtual challenge was set up to give all athletes within the club a chance to compete against each other during these strange times. The decision was taken to base all results on the age grading tables thus giving the chance for our youngest to compete against our very senior athletes on an even base. Athletes were asked to send in their times and distance ran and these were then converted to the agreed distances based on pace and consequently an age graded score was given. The agreed distances were 1km, 3km, 5km, 10km and 20km. Results were given in the distances sections and also an overall winner for the best age graded performance. Our event ran for 4 months, results published at the end of each month, then all scores combined to give overall winners for our unique challenge. Over 60 athletes took part in the challenge with the youngest athlete being 11 and the eldest athlete 72.
The final challenge winners were: Overall - Maddie Hughes, 1km - Deri McCluskey, 3km - Jill Hillman, 5km - Mackenzie McCourt, 10km - Caroline Farr and 20km - Tricia Hirst.
The junior endurance group returned to group training, observing social distancing and all other required measures, as soon as it was possible to do so, and is back training hard for the coming winter!
After the slight lifting of restrictions the Tuesday night sessions started with coach Lizzie Cockle on Dolerw park with all guidelines observed. This gives our senior athletes a chance to meet , give variety to their training and a focus for the week. Whilst slow to take off the sessions are becoming more popular and slowly being able to reintroduce the social element to our club.
Our men’s and ladies sections have not formally been able to meet at the moment but lots of athletes are making small groups and enjoying social runs in the hills or around the streets. Our social media pages have enabled athletes to stay in contact and arrange runs at a variety of times and places.
Sprints and jumps
U17 Ryan Edwards had an outstanding indoor season, setting PBs in LJ and TJ (6.90m and 13.55m) which place him 4th and 9th in the UK in his age rating for the whole 2020 season so far. He placed 3rd and 4th in the Welsh Indoor Senior Championships – superb for an U17 athlete. He cemented this with gold in both events at that age group championships the following weekend . The promise of Welsh vests and further opportunities this year have sadly passed by, but Ryan has been training hard now that the group can get to the track once more.
The sprints group, including double indoor 60m U15 champion Arthur Powell, have been following a three times weekly programme of circuits, acceleration, hills sprints and power. This has kept the group focused and in good shape throughout a frustrating spring and summer, with the uneven surfaces of football pitches and pavements proving tricky obstacles to speed training. Arthur’s PB of 7.24s in February hinted at a strong outdoor season, but training has re-focused on winter and returning to the indoor track to see what can be achieved next season.
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