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birchfield and shaftesbury win club:connect championships titles

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30 June 2016

As part of British Athletics’ ongoing campaign to reward and recognise the world of clubs, all athletes competing in last weekend’s British Championships had the opportunity to contribute points towards their club’s standing in the overall Club:Connect Team Championships.

Athletes making the final of their event could win points for their club, with eight points for first place going down to one point for eighth place.

It was local club Birchfield Harriers who asserted their dominance in the women’s events, topping the Club:Connect standings by a total of 14 points ahead of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.

Shaftesbury turned the tables on the men’s side though. The North London club edging ahead to win by three points with a total of 61 points. (Note – this is a corrected result, and we apologise to both clubs for the change).

Club:Connect relay races also once again proved to be the perfect warm up act before the start of the Championships.

Clubs from throughout the Midlands lined up in Birmingham in a series of age group 4x100m relays designed to give budding junior athletes a taste of the big time.

A total of eight teams competed on the night, with young athletes from Rugby & Northampton, Birchfield Harriers, Royal Sutton Coldfield AC, Solihull & Small Heath, Charnwood AC, Halesowen, Cannock & Stafford and Coventry Godiva Harriers all gracing the same track as the 38 British athletes who booked their place on the plane to Rio for the Olympic Games.

The teams competed for an hour in a total of eight races, with girls and boys events for under 13, under 15, under 17 and under 20 age groups.

Rugby & Northampton secured the first victory of the evening as they triumphed in the under 13 girls category, edging out Birchfield Harriers, who were competing at their home track at the Alexander Stadium.

Birchfield were to make amends in the next three races though. The Stags won the under 13 boys race in dramatic style as they edged out Halesowen by 0.04 seconds before also winning the under 15 girls and under 15 boys.

Birchfield’s under 15 girls team were delighted with their performance. “It was good to get the win but we were a bit worried before as we hadn’t had too much warm-up,” one runner said. “It’s even better that we won on our home ground!”

Halesowen collected their first win of the night in the under 17 girls race, before making it a clean sweep in the under 17 category as they defeated Birchfield in the boys’ race, a predictably close affair.

The victorious Halesowen team said: “We knew it was going to be very close between us and Birchfield. The changeovers were all very clean so we are happy our hard work has paid off.”

Cannock & Stafford and Coventry Godiva Harriers capped off a highly competitive series of races, recording their first wins of the evening in the under 20s.

The winning relay teams were presented with a £250 cheque for their club and posed for photos with London 2012 high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, capping off a day they are sure to never forget.

Club: Connect will return once again at this weekend’s Müller Anniversary Games, with teams from across London competing in front of a packed crowd on the Friday night at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

If your club is interested in being part of future Club:Connect relay races, please email Vicky Clueit at vclueit@britishathletics.org.uk

For full results from the British Championships, including the Club:Connect races, visit: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/results/20160624_birmingham/timetable/index/index.html

Club:Connect Championships Men’s Top 5:

Shaftesbury B    61
Birchfield           58
Newham EB      47
Enfield H           42
Cardiff AAC       28

Club:Connect Championships Women’s Top 5:

Birchfield           53
Shaftesbury B   39
Enfield H           30
WSE                  30
Sale H               27