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Success Through Enjoyment

Lewes AC – Lockdown News – Edition Five


We struggle on through the pandemic and continue to do the best we can for all Lewes AC members.

There have been much creative thinking and actions and a range of athletic activities have been put in place to create opportunities for running and track and field activities. At the beginning when lockdown was a new phenomenon there were a large number of virtual running events put on to keep the endurance fanatics happy. We took on both Hastings AC and Brighton Phoenix clubs in a club one mile virtual team race and won both. Andrew Chitty was lead instigator and organiser in these virtual activities.

As we progressed through the months and regulations changed we were able to open up greater use of the track. This was possible by the club taking over all management responsibilities of the track as the Leisure Centre was only partially open. With all the coaches working together and with others in support a timetable of track use was put in place across all days of the week. This major effort was led by Jane Clarke.

Arrangements were also put in place to enable ‘off track’ runs to take place led by qualified leaders and coaches. Efforts led by David Foster and Mark Pappenheim.

Covid-19 security actions

As we move forward and to enable club activities to continue on the track, off track and in the weights room detailed risk assessments had to be undertaken followed by the preparation and implementation of detailed action plans. Sylvia and John Coleman carefully drafted the on track risk assessment and plan, Mark Pappenheim took on the off track role and Peter Masters prepared the weights room risk assessment and plan.

These risk assessments and plans can be seen by clicking on the Welfare section of the club’s web site.

Moving forward but one step back

Having made the track ‘covid-19 secure’ the track was well used throughout the weeks with coaching groups across all track and field disciplines. The off track runners  run in groups of eight having signed up for particular groups through the web site all led by qualified leaders and coaches. This continues. Whilst the weights room had a risk assessment and was only used by small groups it was here that the virus broke through the barricades.

Luc Best the strength and conditioning coach whilst showing no signs of illness decided to take a test as there was an outbreak of the corona virus at Uckfield Leisure Centre. The test was positive. As Luc had interacted with a number of Lewes AC athletes and coaches a decision had to be taken about what action the club should take.

There was much conversation and consultation over the weekend of the 17th and 18th October when it was decided to suspend club activities on the track for two weeks. All being well track activities will recommence on Monday 2nd November.

The suspension of club activities on the track came just as the club was about reactivate the Academy and bring a large number Academy youngsters back onto the track. The Academy now will restart on Monday 2nd November with Millie Hemsley and Larissa Carter taking a leading role as Academy Head Coaches.

Track vandalism

Yet again the high jump bed has proved to be an attraction to some mindless teenagers who have again dragged the bed over to back gate next to the equipment container so that they can jump onto the bed from the top of the container. They also broke into the garage by smashing the two locks (now repaired)

I have made the assumption that it is again the same group of teenagers as it is a repeat of what happen before at the end on May early June. At that time the club was able to inform the police of the name and address of one of the teenagers who attended Priory School. They were seen by a club member who could recognise them and we told the police the name of one teenager who was seen showing pictures on his phone of the group jumping onto the beds.

What did the police do – nothing! Whilst this latest episode has been reported to the police little is expected as a response.

Review of coaching

During this time the opportunity is being taken to undertake a comprehensive review of the club’s current coaching structure and activities. The aim is to consider whether changes need to be made and if so what might they be and how best to make the changes.

It is early days but Mike Ellis-Martin and Toby Wolpe have taken a leading role in this review and have already begun the thinking process and have been making contact with club coaches.

Athletics continue

I cannot finish without highlighting that despite much doom and gloom there have been some great performances by Lewes AC athletes in those events that have happened this year. Some examples are

Tom Evans broke the Sussex County half marathon record and David Prince-Isles broke the men over 60 course record for the South Downs Way 50 mile event.

In the recent Beachy Head Marathon Will Green had a great run to finish second and James Turner finished third. In the Beachy Head Half Marathon Jason Lee finished  second Will Monnington 4th and Adam Vaughan 7th.

The Sussex County 3k Championship were held at the Lewes Track and again there were some great performances to win County medals. In the women’s championship 3K Lewes AC runners filled the first four places. Emily Proto (Gold) Emma Navesey (Silver) Lizzie Keep (Bronze) Harriet Bloor won the under 20 gold medal.

Also winning County medals were Archie Guppy (gold U15) Charlie Wright (silver u15) Fenton Davoren (Silver U17) and Josh Burgess (silver SM)

Peter Masters – 28 October 2020