Sun, mud and ceilings for Bedford and County Athletes

Joe Strange (left) had a busy day, gaining silver in the Senior Men's 800m.

Bedford and County athletes competed on the road in sunny Spain, over a muddy cross-country course in Scotland, and under cover at an indoor event in London this week with varying success across all age groups.

Josh Lunn has been running with increasing success over the last few months, and was rewarded on Sunday with his first international vest, competing for a 7 strong England team in the Granollers Half Marathon in Barcelona. On a tough, undulating course Josh battled hard to finish in 11th place in a time of 67:12.

Back at home, the club’s athletes also enjoyed some success in the South of England Under 20 Indoor Championships at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London on Saturday.

In the Senior Men’s 800m, Joe Strange fought his way into the six-man final, finishing second in his heat behind Tonbridge’s former English Schools champion, Sean Malloy.

Running strongly on the banked 200m track, Strange couldn’t match Malloy’s fearsome finishing kick. But in what was his first indoor race of the season, he used the strength gained from a tough cross-country campaign to retain second place on the last lap despite a strong challenge from namesake Stephen Strange of Tonbridge.

Two hours later, Joe Strange was back in action. In a classy final won by Malloy in dominant fashion, Strange finished fifth, clocking his second sub-two minute half-mile of the day at 1:58.68.

Meanwhile, in the Under 20 800m, promising seventeen year-old Jamie Webster just missed out on a berth in the final by 0.27 of a second, despite running an indoor best of 1:57.13.

Strange and Webster, who are both coached by brothers Simon and Mark Goodwin, have focused on developing their endurance during the winter, and this dose of speed, produced after only a few training sessions on the track, bodes well for a successful outdoor season in the summer.

Following Gracie Wall’s victory in the Under 15 High Jump earlier in the month, Bedford’s international pole vaulter, Frankie Johnson, was trying to become the second Bedford and County athlete to win a South of England indoor title this season.

But in his first meeting since September, Johnson was feeling his way back into competitive vaulting, and had to make do with a sliver medal in the Under 20 event.

At the other end of the age-range, evergreen Pete Benedickter flew the flag for the club’s veterans with a 58.46 second run in his 400m heat, which was good enough for him to retain second spot in this season’s M50 national rankings.

Whilst the club’s sprinters, middle-distance runners and field event athletes made the most of the indoor facilities, the cross-country season continued for the endurance athletes.

Dan Jarvis finished a fine fourth in the British Universities Cross-Country Championships in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, and Aflie Yabsely also came a creditable 97th.

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