August Bank Holiday weekend is the traditional date for the last of the major Track and Field Championships with the Under17/15 Nationals being held at the International Stadium at Bedford. Mansfield Harriers had three athletes competing at the prestigious event with Luke Duffy in the Under 17 1500 metres, Ben Smith in the Under 15 1500 metres and Kelsey Pearce in the Under 15 Shot.

Duffy was agonisingly close to national glory just being pipped on the line in one of the strongest age group 1500 metre races for years. Taking the silver in a superb time of 3.53.7 he followed the pace throughout and surged for glory with 150 metres to go putting in a rapid 41 seconds for the last 300 metres only to be caught with a couple of strides left to run and missing out on the title by 0.1 of a second.  Duffy will now compete in the UK school games this weekend and that will finish what has been a superb season for him. Smith after his recent holiday is now getting stronger with every race placed 10th in the final of his 1500 metres and Pearce another just back from holiday was not quite technically correct due to missing key preparation but still managed an impressive 10.94 metres for a top 10 finish.

The last of the popular Charnwood Open meetings also took place over the weekend with star billing going to Mansfield master Jonny Lowe who won his heats of the 400 metres and 1500 metres. Lowe who has made a successful return to the track after 30 years has only raced over 800 metres so far but has now shown he can also be exceptional over these distances clocking 60.29 and 4.47.88 respectively. Also racing in the 400 metres Chris Monk continued his renaissance on the track recording a very fast 50.67 and in the 1500 metres recent recruit’s twins Amber and Mollie Scott recorded 4.48.04 and 4.53.52.

Over 800 metres Under 13 Alex Foster and ladies team manager Bev Armstrong continued the season long battle with another tight finish with Foster prevailing with 2.41.06 against Armstrong’s 2.42.21. In her first 800 metres Under 13 Tammy Smith recorded an impressive 2.54 as well as 15.18 for the 100 metres. May Roberts was the only other Harrier to race over 800 metres as she continues her comeback racing on the track.  Evergreen Andy Wetherill raced in the rarely run 1 mile event and came away with a superb 5.04.87.

In the Sprints and Field Sophia Stewart won her heat of the Long Jump in 4.66 metres and went on to record 13.37 for the 100 metres. Ellie Sheppard recorded 13.97 for 100 metres and Junior coach Chris Ashmore raced to a swift 13.05. The ever improving Sophie Brown competed in the Discus launching the implement out to an impressive 22.67 metres.

On the roads, several Mansfield athletes competed at the Clumber Park National Trust 10k with the highlight being Tina Copcutt showing she is in great form racing to a new best time of 57.26 a day after recording a new 5K best at the Rother Valley Parkrun. Nigel Watkin was first back for the club in a time of 41.04, Matt Bradbury 42.36, Garry Hodgkins 43.02 and Pete Copcutt 50.36. Michelle Baxter raced at the Ripley double or quit race with a time of 53.50 for the 5 mile race and supervet Maddy Collinge ran the Dartmoor 14 mile Trail run a difficult race with 300 metres of climb and quite technical in places finishing in 2 hours 36 minutes.

Four of Mansfield’s junior athletes competed at local Parkruns over the weekend with Ruby Milnes putting in a stunning run at the Mansfield event. The diminutive Milnes raced to a superb new best time of 23.00 a massive improvement from her previous best of 25.57. Also at Mansfield Jonah Goddfellow-Beeton recorded a new best time of 23.58 and Freya Longmead finished in 24.24.  At Sherwood Pines Jessie Crawshaw improved again from her breakthrough run last week with a superb 21.16 a further improvement of 4 seconds.

Report by Richard Massey, Coach and Press Officer.

Picture below of Luke Duffy.