Lesley Pymm reports: I completed the three events in the league and I did enjoy the race walks, even though I am still struggling with the technique. I went along to Sparkhill Harriers one evening to have a session with Hilary Mann, which was really helpful.
The second league event was organised by Birchfield Harriers and was at the Alexander Stadium, so home ground to me. It was a very odd course though. Owing to the fact that the GMAC & HPC have opened on site, there is more traffic there. They could not use the roads on site for the event so we had to use the track and the access roads to the back of the stands at the stadium. This made for a difficult course. Around the track and then out of the gate and up hill at the back of the ‘old’ stand, turn around and then downhill passing the gate again and around to the back of the ‘new’ stand, ditto and then back down and onto the track again. I can’t remember now if it was 3 or 4 laps, but it was hard going.
My time on that one was slower than at the first event at Stourport, but everyone was slower.
The final event was hosted by Coventry Godiva and used roads on the Warwick University campus. There was building work here, so this had been adapted. We went out along a road, then turned left and along a bit before turning back and returning to go right again and then a left onto an industrial estate and round a loop before coming back to the road we had started on and back to the start/finish area. This one was a four lap course.
The events are ‘B’ events, so they are strict about not losing contact with the ground but do not insist on the straight knee. I had been told by one of the officials when I asked for feedback that, ‘no offence – you are not going quickly enough to break contact’. In the last lap I was gaining on a man who I had beaten in the first event and then he beat me last time. I tried to push it a bit and then did pass him. His daughter had told me that he had a really good turn of speed at the end, so I really tried to keep in front of him. Suddenly a judge was calling my number and I had a mark against me for (I assume) breaking contact. You have to have three marks from three different judges to be disqualified, so I was not in any danger at this point as I was nearly finished.
I finished the event with a big grin on my face – I had obviously gone fast enough to break contact!!! I did beat the man I was targeting.
I would like to try to improve on this and know that some coaching would help. It would be good to have a go at the 10k events.