Juniors Impress at Kieran Maxwell Memorial

It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen any competitive athletics held at DHAC’s home track at Eastbourne Sports Complex. Fitting then, that the first event after this baron spell should be in memory of one of our own; a young man who inspired so many during his battle against cancer. Athletes from all over the region (and beyond) came together to compete and remember Kieran Maxwell, including plenty from our own Junior section.

It was fabulous to see those familiar faces back in action again, along with one or two new ones. I think most of them were just glad to be back on the track enjoying themselves, although it didn’t make the competition any less fierce! There were some top performances, plenty of PB’s and even the odd record breaker! The events were mixed in most cases with athletes being ranked by previous times and distances. Here’s how things went….

100m

U13 Chloe Graham got things off to a great start with her first ever run as an U13 and her first competitive 100m. She ran it very well and finished in 5th place setting herself a new PB of 17.07s. Someone else running their first 100m was Thomas Hill (No. 53) This was also his first run as an Under 15 so, like Chloe, two debuts in one; a great effort finishing 3rd with a new PB of 14.63s. It was good to see Ashton Harrison back in action again. I know he’s been working hard to keep his fitness levels up during lockdown so he was pleased to get back out on the track again! No PB today, but a great effort finishing 4th in 13.55s. And our final Junior in this event today was Krista Bissett-Brown (in black below.) This was her first outing as an U17 athlete, and she was up against a couple of lads as well! An excellent run though, crossing the line in 3rd place in a time of 13.91s. Well done everyone, some top sprinting!

200m

Sprinting for 200m seems like a tough call after being in lockdown for so long, but we did have two of our Junior girls who were up for the challenge! Both U13’s, Lottie Graves (No. 45) and Chloe Graham (No. 43) battled it out against some tough competition. Lottie finished in 2nd place, with a new PB of 29.52, and Chloe, running her first 200m crossed the line in 5th setting a new best time of 34.05. A fabulous effort from both girls, well done!

1000m

In the first heat, making his debut at this distance and as an U13 was Rowan Steel. You might know Rowan as a keen (and successful) Parkrunner, and his strength showed today as he finished in a rather impressive 3rd place. And back again for her third event of the day was Chloe Graham, and yet again, her first time out at this distance. However, her lack of experience didn’t show as she produced a tremendous performance finishing in 7th overall (the 4th Girl) in an excellent 3:51.82.

In Heat 2, Hugo Douglas-Reeves really showed us what he’s made of with a Record Breaking performance. It was also his first outing at this distance and he looked strong from start to finish. He romped home to take 1st place, winning by over 5 seconds in a time of 3:17.75 breaking the Club Record set by Lewis Moses back in 1999! Since the race, Lewis has been in touch and had this to say…… “it was brilliant to see this record go. I had a few texts to let me know and I must say, it’s always great to see these records broken by up and coming athletes. The youngsters are the future of our sport and I love that! It’s great to see the junior section at Darlington now thriving. Please pass on my congratulations to Hugo, I’m sure I will see him in person very soon, when I will be able to give him a big pat on the back (Covid permitting lol!) I hope he continues to smash records and most importantly continues to enjoy his running”

In Heat 4 we had two of our DHAC girls making their debut as U15 athlethes; Zara Jones and Savannah Tarn. Both have been impressing us as middle distance runners since they were U11’s, (where has that time gone?) and today they were doing the same again with some top performances. Zara (No. 66) finished 3rd overall, but was the 1st girl across the line in an excellent 3:10.80, only beaten by two boys a year older! Not far behind, looking strong as always, Savannah (No. 124) finished in 6th place overall (4th Girl) in a tremendous 3:29.29.

Heat 5 was a real mixed bag of U17’s, U20, Veteran Men and Women, including four of our Junior Girls. Mia Wetherill (No. 142) looked as strong as ever and was the first of our girls to cross the line, taking 4th place overall in a time of 3:17.99. Just a few seconds behind was Macy Kelly (No. 69) in 5th place; another excellent time of 3:21.10. Macy was closely followed by DHAC team mate, Emily Vest (No. 136) with another great run to take 6th place; Emily crossed the line in 3:26.54. Finally, Olivia Douglas-Reeves (No. 36) put in a fabulous effort to finish in 3:42.29. Some top running from all four girls!

Just two more of our Juniors to go in the final 1000m Heat of the day. First up, and running as an U20 athlete for the first time was Adam Russell (below, left.) He’s impressed us many a time over the last few years, and he was on top form again today. Another 1st place to his name, crossing the line in 2:28.89. After a spell away from DHAC it was fantastic to see Daniel Richardson (No. 108) back in the blue and white vest. Now in the U17 age bracket he certainly held his own amongst the older athletes, finishing 4th overall (1st U17), just a couple of seconds behind his older piers.

Some outstanding performances from our middle distance runners, most of whom had never run a 1000m race before. What a talented bunch! Well done to all.

Long Jump

The strong tail wind played a big part in the day’s long jump results; in fact if you’ve checked out the full results on The Power of 10 you’ll have seen how many results were classed as wind assisted! The athletes were grouped into four different Pools and we had four of our Juniors competeing

In Pool 1, our U15 all-rounder, Tori Buckley was in action. Tori’s jumping was excellent throughout the whole competition, with most of her jumps landing well over the 4m mark. In the end, her first jump of 4.34m was enough to take 1st place and bag a new PB at the same time! Nice one Buckers!

Pool 4 was another mixed bag of age groups, ranging from U13G to V35M. Ashton Harrison was back again, this time competing against his dad, Andy (the V35M.) Like Tori, Ashton’s first jump was his best; no PB this time but 4.31m was enough to take 3rd place in the U15 boys, which wasn’t too far behind his dad! 🙂 Next up was Lottie Graves, the only U13 in this Pool. After a couple of no jumps, Lottie got into her stride and just got better and better. Her 6th and final jump was her best with an excellent 3.67m which placed her in 3rd out of all the U13 girls competing today. And finally Thomas Hill was our last jumper of the day. Thomas is relatively new to the long jump having only competed once before, and that was indoors. But his jumping improved as the competition progressed and his final jump of 3.50m was only 7cm short of his indoor PB. So well done to Thomas and the rest of our Long Jumpers; some excellent performances once again!

Shot Put

Finally, the shot put, and three mixed Pools of competitors. First up in Pool 1, Hugo Douglas-Reeves who was the only U13 Boy competing today. A huge effort from Hugo smashed his previous PB by 70cm setting a new best of 7.30m. In Pool 2 we had Tori Buckley (No.15) and Ashton Harrison (No. 48) back again. Tori’s been working hard on her shot put technique and it certainly showed today. She blew her previous PB out the water, improving by a massive 77cm with a new best of 10.13m. Ashton was also on top form; he now throws the 4kg shot and still managed to improve his PB by an impressive 72cm with a best of 8.99m – so close to the 9m mark! And finally, in Pool 3 we had Lily Thompson. There was no PB for Lily today but still some excellent throwing nonetheless, with a best of 9.99m. Knowing Lily, we’re confident that it won’t be too long before that PB is smashed! (there was no photo of Lily on the day, but I know this one below is one of her faves!)

A special mention…

Finally, we thought it only right that we should mention our Wheelchair Racer, Ollie Porter. I’m sure many of you saw him flying round the track without his blue and white vest on. Ollie now competes for Leeds City who have helped him take his wheelchair racing to another level. He took three 1st places today in the 100m (18.56s), 200m (36.68s) and 1000m (3:22.62) – well done Ollie, it’s fantastic to see you doing so well! 🙂

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As we said, today was more about remembering Kieran and the legacy that he left us all. But at the same time, after everything that’s happened over the last year, it also marked a new chapter in our athletics, and hopefully a track and field season that continues to grow and thrive as the year continues! #UTH!

Big thanks go to Karen Harland for the use of her photos. You can see loads more by following this link: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmVf92sw

The full results can be viewed at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aclhzspyhb9pc1b/Kieran%20Maxwell%20Open%202021%20-%20Results.xlsx?dl=0