Please note that for 2017 the entry fees are:-
Stadium entry - £5.00
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Race entry for BMC members - free
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No longer running?
As we expect all the Grand Prix meetings are going to be over-subscribed, it means we will have to turn athletes away. If you have already entered and can no longer compete please can you inform the person that your entry went to. This will not only allow another athlete to compete but can also mean that several athletes could be moved up a race (from C to B, D to C, E to D, etc. We consider this a matter of courtsey, both to the organisers and to your fellow athletes. Please contact Steve Mosley by
ALEXANDRA Bell will be hoping recent history repeats itself when she lines up for the women’s 800m at the opening British Milers Club Grand Prix of the season at Solihull on Saturday.
Last summer the Pudsey & Bramley runner claimed her first Grand Prix victory on the Midlands track after finishing runner-up in Sport City and Watford, also improving her personal best to 2:01.29 which she subsequently bettered to 2:00.53 to end the season as fifth fastest in the UK.
Being her first race of the new season Bell might not be in that sort of shape quite yet but she can expect a competitive race with European Indoor Championships finalist Sarah McDonald, a Grand Prix winner at Oxford and Trafford last summer, also in the field along with Emily Dudgeon.
“There are strong fields across all the races and once again it looks like we will be turning people away as we have had a big response,” said BMC chairman Tim Brennan.
The men’s 800m looks equally as promising with British international Jake Wightman heading the field as he, too, opens his outdoor season.
Also like Bell Wightman has enjoyed victory at the Norman Green Athletics Centre as he won the 800m two years ago and he will be looking to maintain his excellent Grand Prix record of 2016 when he won three events, including the 800m at Watford where he set his lifetime best of 1:47.13.
Wightman is the fastest man in the field but there is plenty of competition in the shape of Spencer Thomas, World Junior Championship semi finallist Daniel Rowden, Canaan Solomon and Rory Graham-Watson.
The women’s 1500m has a strong field and could yet be the race of the day. Five of the top 20 women in the UK Rankings last year are entered headed by 2016 British Indoor champion Hannah England.
European Championship 800m semi finallist Alison Leonard will be looking to continue her progress with Jess Judd, Katie Snowden and outstanding youngster Harriet Knowles-Jones, who finished eighth in the World Juniors last summer, a late addition.
And continuing the traditional strong foreign interest in the Grand Prix series Anna Emilie Moller of Denmark, who set a European junior record of 9mins 32secs in the 3000m steeplechase at the Rio Olympics last summer, is also in the field.
There will be seven races in the men’s 1500m with the A race boasting a field comprising Tom Marshall, former England champion Steve Mitchell and Cameron Boyek plus there are races at 5000m and 2000m steeplechase as the BMC extends its support to provide competition for aspiring ‘chasers.
Continuing the innovation launched last year the meeting will be preceded by a BMC steeplechase seminar starting a 3.30pm and lasting an hour.
Rio Olympian Sara Treacy will be the star guest at a Q & A session facilitated by BMC News Editor Matt Long. She will be joined on the panel by three coaches with distinguished experience working with chasers - namely Bashir Hussain, Stella Bandu and Geoff James - all of who have been heavily involved with England Athletics in recent years.
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Steeplechase Coaching Corner - 15:30
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Rio Olympian Sara Treacy will be our star guest at a Q and A session facilitated by BMC News Editor Matt Long. She will be joined on the panel by 3 coaches with distinguished experience working with chasers - namely Bashir Hussain, Stella Bandu and Geoff James
OVERCOMING BARRIERS IN THE CHASE
Luke Gunn and Spencer Duval provide BMC News Editor Matt Long with the inside track.
Some of you reading this will perhaps being attempting our 2000m races this afternoon which demand 5 laps of 18 hurdles and 5 water jumps. Let’s warm up with four time national steeplechase champion, Luke Gunn and Atlanta Olympic chaser, Spencer Duval who have six key tips for you.
Tip 1: Learn to take the load.
Three time Commonwealth Games representative Gunn, points out that boys have to cope with the water jump drop and resulting impact from their hips being at around 6 feet in the air, with girls dropping from hips being between 4-5 feet in the air. The Head of Athletics at Birmingham University points out that, “Jumps inevitably involve tendon loading and should be performed when you are fresh rather than fatigued, to start off with. So, the golden rule is to acquire the skill first and before training when under stress and fatigue”.
Tip 2: Work on Foundationals and Fundamentals before event specificity.
Gunn elaborates that, “Physical preparation for the chase has to be underpinned by the development of elasticity, robustness and mobility. Concentrate on general conditioning and physical preparation over a period of months, before moving on to more event specific work such as run overs and strides. Calf raises, squats, lunges and bridges were all part of my regime in the early phases of my periodization cycle and I then progressed on to bunny hops, squat jumps, split squats and step drops. When progressing on to box drops, the golden rule of skill acquisition is to move from double leg to single leg landings”.
Tip 3: Technical competency and simulation
Gunn continues that, “Once you able to hurdle efficiently, you should still continue to work on some general conditioning to limit the load on your body and this engrains good local, lower leg control. Technique can be engendered through the more event specific hurdle based sessions at a later phase in the periodization cycle”. National Coach Mentor Lead for Endurance- Spencer Duval- adds that, “You ideally need once weekly sessions for the novice run over hurdles rather than the more intimidating wooden barriers. When training, coaches can move hurdles into different lanes, place cones in front of barriers and even consider using their own bodies as mild obstructers by moving in front of hurdles during training. This obviously has to be appropriately risk assessed by the coach so as to avoid athlete injury but if done so appropriately the inherent physicality and unpredictability of racing can be simulated”.
Tip 4: Water jump
Luke explains, “Most people's apprehension for the water jump can be eased with adequate practise of placing the foot on the barrier. A good plant on the barrier almost always results in a safe landing the other side. Practise this wearing spikes (for the added grip) first at a walking pace on a lower barrier into a sandpit, then progress the approach speed as your confidence builds. You will find that the foot rarely slips and that as you increase your speed the action becomes easier and smoother. Once you believe this, all you then need to do is to accelerate into the water jump (and all other hurdles) to ensure a smooth, efficient clearance”.
Tip 5: It’s an endurance event
1995 National cross country champion, Duval, advises that, “A key session for a senior could be 3 x 1k over hurdles with 60 seconds and then 30 seconds recovery”, before adding that, “On occasions you should try active recoveries during repetitions with jumping squats being thrown in deliberately to induce the kind of “super-fatigue” in the quadriceps muscles in an attempt to simulate the tiredness that you will face in the latter stages of a race.
Tip 6: Tactics
Duval cautions that, “Many novice runners have an overwhelming desire to go the front of races in an attempt to ‘keep out of trouble’ but you simply must learn to run in the pack as a steeplechaser