Steve Way will be competing for his Country in the Commonwealth Games Marathon, starting at 9 am Sunday 27 July and, although Steve‘s training and form stand him in good stead, we all know there’s always an element of luck in any race, and we wish him all the luck there is. More of Steve in a moment, but first congratulations to our medal winners at the English Schools Championships on 11 July. BAC‘s young athletes came home with no fewer than three gold medals and one bronze. Gold medals were won by Hannah Molyneux in the Shot, Danielle Broom in the Discus (with a throw almost 1 metre ahead of second) and Patrick Sylla in the Long Jump. In the Shot, Tom Peters won Bronze. Three Golds and one Bronze for BAC – can any other club claim this? It seems that Patrick‘s performance may have earned him a Schools International vest for England in the Four Nations – anyone have more detail?
Speaking of International vests brings us back to Steve. An excellent article in The Times (24 July), headed “Games find Way to run rings round any Olympic comparison”, describes the spirit of the Commonwealth Games. The article may have been overtaken by events, in that rumour has it that Usain Bolt will not be running in Glasgow at all, but it’s still worth quoting from the article which commences; “Take two runners. One is the fastest man in the world and a gilt-edged demigod. The other is a former binge-drinking chain smoker with a T-shirt that reads ‘Don’t be s***t’. Usain Bolt v Steve Way. One is an icon. The other might be the totem for the Commonwealth Games”. The article goes on to suggest (which we merely repeat here without expressing any view) that if Usain Bolt were lining up for the 100 metres at the Rio Olympics we might not be hearing the official line that he has been injured. It goes on to say; “He (Bolt) is mere icing on a cake baked by Way. Where the Olympics dulls people with evangelical talk of legacies and inspiration, it is far easier to see a link between Glasgow and real people. The way of Steve, as his T-shirt says, is something not beyond the ambitions of the more average man”. Steve‘s progress from his 40-inch waist and more than 16 stone weight is then described by Steve himself, who goes on to say; “They (ie the locals in Poole Park) see me as an everyday bloke, rather than Mo Farah. He’s a different species, a professional athlete, but I’m just an everyday Joe”. The article finishes; “Regard the Commonwealth as an anachronism if you want, but its Games may well be more representative of the modern world than the Olympic behemoth. They will surely subscribe to the mantra on Way‘s T-shirt”. Well, Steve is right in a way, but no-one can fail to be inspired by Steve‘s story, which demonstrates a determination and degree of commitment to which most of us can only aspire, but at the same time he is the ‘everyday Joe’ he describes, even if a rather exceptional one. Those of us who aren’t actually in Glasgow will no doubt be glued to the TV on Sunday morning, and we all wish Steve all the luck he undoubtedly deserves.
Turning to other events we don’t quite move away from Steve who, on 13 July, won the New Forest 10 in a course record time of 50.43, and led BAC to a team win. Completing the team were Jacek Cieluszecki, second in 53.41, Simon Way, 13th in 1.03.31 and Chris O’Brien, 39th in 1.07.42. There was also a BAC win in the Ladies’ race, the first lady home being Emma Dews, who was 16th overall in 1.03.45. The BAC squad was completed by Joe Price, 182nd (of a total of 802 finishers) in 1.17.42.
Jacek was also a winner (again!) in the Poole Parkrun on 19 July, followed soon after by Joe Arundel (3rd), Simon Way (15th) and Chris O’Brien (33rd). Peter Thompson also featured in this race, but clearly something was wrong, as he finished 7 minutes down on his PB, and it isn’t that long ago that Peter was part of BAC‘s superb team effort at the Portland 10. The week before in Poole Park, Simon Munro was second, with Steve Way‘s paced run bringing him in third. Meanwhile, in Kings Park, Paul Hill was second in the Bournemouth Parkrun on both 19 and 12 July. Paul was joined on 19 July by Emma Dews, 6th and 1st Lady, Ian White, 11th, Brandon Meredith, 13th and 2nd in his age category and a PB for the course, Nikki Sandell, 16th and 2nd Lady, Jud Kirk, 17th, Joe Price, Sam Laws and Will Price. The week before at Bournemouth, following Paul was Damian Boyle, 3rd, Ian White, 5th, and Jud Kirk completed the BAC contingent. 193 finished the Bournemouth Parkrun on 12 July and 200 on 19 July. In Poole the figures were 548 and 513 respectively.
And so we move to Canada, where Steve Cox was 5th (of 237) in the Moose was Loose 10k in Edmonton, a race which is run along scenic trails in Edmonton River valley. Steve‘s time of 44.45 would have made him the winner of his age category if the race hadn’t employed this new-fangled method of awarding categories 25+,35+, etc! The same applied to Steve’s Mum who, under the ‘old’ age categories, would have won the 70+ prize. Still a highly creditable performance!