Russ Jackson reports on the 2014 Inter Area Walking Match

This year the Annual Inter Area match was hosted by the South, with a total of 41 athletes taking part, plus a number of guests from Wales. The South had the largest team, as expected, fielding 19 walkers, with the Midlands and the North, with 11 each.
The first race was the Senior Women’s u20, u17, 5,000 metres, the seniors being represented by Alana Barber and Brenda Gannon, both from Hyde Park Harriers.
Alana dominated the race from the start, setting a blistering pace, finishing in 23.38, with her nearest rival from the South, in 25.13, followed by Brenda, showing excellent style, in 27.12.
In the u20s, we saw a brave performance from Danielle Oates, IOM, who despite being quite ill ,and in some discomfort, managed to keep her composure and finish 3rd, in 29.54.
The u17s race was won by the rising star from City of Sheffield, Ana Garcia, who despite still being u15, was asked to step up to the u17s, as we had no other walker. Ana showed excellent style and guile to win the race, in 24.58, an RWA best performance record for u17. Surely an international future awaits her, if she continues to work hard.
The Boys & Girls u13 2,000m was next up, with IOMs Stephen Waddington, taking first place, in 12.36. Stephen is making good progress, following in his fathers footsteps.
In the girls, a very stylish confident display from young Molly Meleady-Hanley, City of Sheffield AC, saw her take 3rd place in 12.05, a very good race for her, showing a lot of potential in one so young and inexperienced. Leah Goddard IOM was 5th in 13.18, only a second away from 4th, showing excellent technique and composure.

U15 Boys & Girls, 3,000m. Unfortunately we had no u15 boys, but in the Girls Alana Zeidler, City of Sheffield AC, walked with her usual calm style, which always impresses me, to take 2nd place in 16.44, with Pagen Spooner, Wetherby Runners AC, in only her second race, in 17.52 for 3rd place. Pagen was truly amazing, with a tremendous stride and style which impressed everyone.
At this stage of the competition, with only the 5,000m Senior men u20, u17s to come, the scores were M 32, S 44 N 44.
However, the final race saw us heavily outgunned by the South, who fielded 7 athletes to our 2.
In the men’s race, the King twins, both seasoned internationals, were 1st & 2nd, for the South, with IOMs Jock Waddington, battling gamely for 3rd spot, in 24.40.
We had no u20 men, and only one u17, but young Tom Partington IOM, celebrating his recent international call up for the forthcoming Small Nations match, managed to take 2nd place for the North, in 24.58, walking very well.
The final result was South 79 points North 53, Midlands 35.

Whilst we did not win this popular match, everyone enjoyed the close fought races and camaraderie.

I was really impressed with our young athletes, and a great deal of credit must go to their coaches, for producing such excellent techniques, with no Northern athlete suffering a dq.

Our grateful thanks to Northern Athletics for their continued support and help, which is greatly appreciated.

Russ Jackson

Northern Race Walking