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Southern League Rounds 1 & 2

Eastbourne & Crawley




What a great bunch of guys and girls I’ve shared trips to Eastbourne and Crawley with. We’ve had plenty of laughs, watched and taken part in some great athletics and most importantly enjoyed the sport!


We’ve had Max Farnell, one of our upcoming field eventers (and still an U17) throwing both the Javelin and the Discus - and more than holding his own. He achieved 42.65 in the Javelin, finishing 4th in the A-String, just beating coach and dad Nick Farnell (who threw the spear 42.42m!). Max also managed 19.78m (5th) in the Discus – his first time throwing the Senior weight. Nick Farnell was 3rd in the Hammer with 17.22m and 1st in the B-Strong Javelin in Eastbourne and 43.42m, claiming 2nd in the A-Strong Javelin, 16.96m Hammer (4th) and 20.53m Discus (3rd) in Crawley. It’s nice to see one of our coaches still competing. Nick obviously still loves the buzz of competition.


The ever smiling, ever-present and veteran of the competition, John Gilbert, (he’s been to more Southern Leagues over the years that almost anyone else in the sport I would think) stepped up and threw the Shot, Discus and Hammer, with 7.14m (5th), 20.97m (5th) and 24.72m (4th) at Eastbourne and 7.22m (4th), 20.68m (4th) and 22.40m (3rd) at Crawley.  He also threw the Javelin in Crawley with a very respectable 23.15m (3rd). John is a marvellous advert for the sport and shows that even as a Veteran (I won’t mention which category, John) enjoyment and love of athletics will get you far!  He had a great time in Crawley, throwing everything he could lay his hands on (whilst Claire and the kids had a great time using the swimming pool and other facilities inside the Leisure Centre!)


Karen Farnell, normally seen as a Field Judge, also threw the Javelin (11.42m, 5th) and Shot (5.78m, 4th) and did herself proud, whilst also taking the time to officiate the High Jump in Eastbourne following this up with a PB of 12.72m (3rd) in Crawley. A delighted husband watched on with cheers from the IEK team. Karen tried her hand at Discus in Crawley managing 18.07m, enough for 3rd place and again putted the Shot, this time a distance of 5.14m (3rd). Great to have you along Karen!


The fast improving and lovely Sarah Hotham took on the 800m and 1500m double in Eastbourne. Sarah showed great determination to win 2nd place (6:04.1) in a hard fought race. She was a little disappointed with 3:00.0 (4th) in the 800m, but still gave it everything and we know she’s only going to get better. This she proved in Crawley clocking 2:56.3 (2nd in the A). Nice one Sarah – congratulations! Next up for Sarah is the Vets meet on Monday.


A near IEK one-two unfolded over the 12.5 laps of the 5000m in Eastbourne, with Tim Corby leading from start to finish in style in a new PB of 16:40.3 (although he has since gone even quicker). Tim is certainly showing some really good form early season. Adam Stokes, returning to IEK after a number of year, followed Tim around for many laps, but just lost out on 2nd place, having to eventually settle for 3rd in 17:56.6, but 1st B-String home. Not bad for someone who had run a marathon a little over a week previously.


Tom Purnell and myself filled the slots in the 1500m in Eastbourne, be it in very different sections of the race! Tom, a huge supporter of IEK didn’t have the best race, but still finished 3rd in 4:32.4. A time we all know he will improve on as the season progresses. Tom opted for the 3k in Crawley. He is a really good athlete and you can always rely on his team commitment. Tom finished 2nd in 9:58.5 – he still feels he’s struggling for race pace, but this was a good performance. He turned on some of the sprint finish he is famous for near the end – always good to see. Well done Tom!


I didn’t have a particularly good race in Eastbourne and finished well down the field in 5:18.6 in the 1500m (4th in the B) in an event I am still learning. (I am happy to report since this I have smashed this, and now have a PB of 4:57 – much better and really pleased with this J). In Crawley, I decided to drop down the distances and go for 800m and 400m – deciding to give the 1500m a rest after some really good results for me elsewhere. The 800 was tough to go back to, but I gave it a good go, and even reminded the leaders I was in the race at the bell (if they want to play tactics that’s fine, but I was sticking to my plan!). I finished in a creditable 3rd in 2:19.8, a little off where I would want to be, but not bad for the first 800m of the season - and plenty I can do to change this looking at the race and how I ran. The 400m was less than an hour after and I could still feel the 800 in me, but finished in a time of 60.8s (4th). I was never really in the race, but good to get a marker down and lots of positives from both performances.


Next up is our home match in Canterbury on the 15th June. Hopefully, we can muster together lots more athletes. As for the matches beyond, I am not sure where we go from here – we really need support from the whole Club, it reflects poorly on the Club when we enter so few events with so few athletes. We do have lots who could come along, would benefit from the races and help us to achieve the results we should be showing – we are a pretty good standard Club overall and we should be ranked much higher. The good news is we are not bottom of the league, we are 16th out of 17th thanks to some great efforts from the few who have attended!


All those who’ve attended so far have performed really well and as Team Manager I thank them for their support and enthusiasm.


Barry Hopkins

Southern League Team Manager