... when the wind whistles down the track and straight through the bones of track judges and timekeepers. Ah, but it's grand to have the season underway.
Six months ago, at the end of the last successful Sprints and Hurdles meeting, I asked Graham what was the largest number of athletes we could accommodate at our biannual open meeting. He said, "Two hundred." Well, we've got there. 204, to be precise and I reckon all but a couple of them had a cracking afternoon's racing.
When you have nineteen heats of 100m races, the seeding is pretty tight so everyone gets to race against people with approximately similar times, especially as you can ignore things like age and gender. Especially in the middle of the sequence there might be less than .2 of a second between all their PBs. This means, of course, that they're coming at the judges in a line and working out the finishing order and the times can be a real challenge. And that is where electronic timing is such a boon, because the camera does it for you. Though, as I discovered at the recent SW officials conference, there is still an art to reading the image on the computer screen.
So - what caught the eye amongst the races. There were any number of Yate athletes who did well, gaining PBs (which, unfortunately, are pretty meaningless because the wind never dropped below 2 mph and sometimes rose to 5.6 mph). Both Wells boys did well to win their races. (And their dad did pretty well too, with a stopwatch in his hand). Joel Williams also looked strong in his races. We also noticed both Holbrooks running strongly. Jack Moore is a newcomer over the hurdles and looked very good indeed. We're used to seeing Yvette Westwood running well, and here she was doing it again. A host of other PBs amongst the club's youngsters gave the afternoon a real Yate festival atmosphere, despite the cold.
Perhaps the performances of the day came from our two athletes with disabilities. Bethany Tucker and Zoe Wide raced with the able-bodied athletes and it may be that their achievements weren't adequately noticed by the crowd, but both of them ran times that put them in the top twenty in the WORLD. OMG!!!! (And we won't mention the wind just at the minute). Very well done indeed, girls.
Now on to the Avon Track and Field. As joint hosts for the first meeting we have to put out not just a full complement of officials but also an array of volunteers. At the moment, I don't have enough. The under-11 races are to be run under the supervision of parents with a couple of officials - which we have to come up with. I NEED PARENTS..... Please contact me if you can help at all. You don't have to be highly qualified - just willing to get stuck in and help the meeting run smoothly.
I must confess that I'm anxious about how the meeting will run. Last year's first meeting was a disaster going on till gone 7 o'clock. That can't happen again and I'm far from sure that the league committee have done enough to make it work. We shall see.