Since the soft start back at the track on the 3rd September with just two groups working through the new procedures, the Club will see all squads back in action once a week when the Disability Squad start their winter training. Every event squad athlete is now being offered one session a week by invitation only. The younger athletes are being offered one session a fortnight, but we are hoping to increase this later in the Autumn. This process will carry on with every athlete being offered their sessions a month at a time. So please check emails (including the junk box) as October’s invites will be going out in the next week or so.
We are all getting used to cleaning as we train – hurdles, young athlete’s equipment, throwing equipment and the jump beds. Stevenage Borough Council have kindly ordered the specialist cleaning equipment needed for the high jump and pole vault beds. The Club are funding spray disinfectant for equipment and hand sanitiser for athletes, parents and coaches. The need for regular hand and equipment cleaning is likely to be a necessity throughout the winter and the club is very grateful to those athletes, parents and coaches who are already providing their own personal hand sanitizer.
Thank you to those parents who are letting us know if an athlete is ill and cannot take a training slot.
We are continuing to keep squads separate and regulating the numbers in each group to ensure social distancing is maintained within squads and the squad ‘bubbles’ stay separate.
Athletes who fancy some Autumn competition should have a look at the list on the England Athletics website. These are often event specific or have just a few events only. Currently the first cross country race in the Chiltern League has been cancelled and no decisions have been made about indoor competitions.
After a five month wait athletes from SNHAC have finally been able to resume training at Ridlins Stadium, Stevenage. Lock down and water supply problems have seen the stadium closed for a prolonged length of time. Athletes returned to training on Thursday albeit under very different conditions. Small groups working in ‘bubbles’ and by invitation only are now looking forward to a hard winters work!
Sunday saw the opportunity for some Club athletes to find out what sort of shape they were in after the summer training in parks and gardens. Herts Phoenix held a limited events Open at Wodson Park, Ware on Sunday featuring 200m, 400m, 800m, High Jump and Javelin.
Four members took part in the 200m – U17’s Jacob Kinchin-Smith and Jamie Joseph ran 24.1 and 24.73 respectively while U15 Calum Fairey (25.5) and U13 Wilf Page (31.5) both ran personal bests.
In the 800m there was a season’s best for V45 Chris Westcott 2.11.9, and a personal best for Calum 2.16.8. U15 Imogen Rose ran a season’s best 2.42.9 and for U13 Matthew Thompson 2.46.3 was also a personal best.
In the Field Events U17 Ed Laws equalled his high jump personal best clearing 1m75, Senior Moe Sasegbon 1m65 and Jamie Joseph 1m55, while U13’s Toby Hales 1m15 and Eve Farmer 1m - both recording personal best clearances. U20 Georgia Shephard - Gazely threw a personal best of 35m73 in the javelin.
A gentle approach to the return to training started on Thursday. Two groups of athletes from the Sprints and Endurance Squads were invited to try out the new arrangements for training. Entry through the gate, temperature checks on entry with contact details (for test and trace) of adults staying were collected. New signs both at entry, around the track and on the door of the Disability Toilet greeted athletes who were directed to the area they were training in.
Self-distancing was observed for all activities and no interaction between the groups were the protocols for all the athletes. This will be the norm as the Club continues its reopening from Sunday.
At no time will there be more than 5 groups be on the track and infield at any one time – usually 3 on the track and 2 on the infield.
We hope that by the end of September all our members who have indicated they wish to return to training will have been offered either one session a week or one a fortnight on the track.
It is hoped that invitations will go out for sessions each month and that we can gradually increase capacity. Sessions will continue to be invitation only until circumstances change.
Athletes will be turned away unless they have been invited and have pre paid for their sessions.
The Club will not be starting New Athlete Induction until January and only then if there is capacity on the track.
Stevenage Borough Council have informed us that the track will be able to finally reopen from Sunday 6th September. Next week we will be sending out invites to specific sessions to those who completed the survey. The email will explain the changes we have had to make due to Covid-19 as well as how you will need to pay for sessions as we will be operating a cashless system.
The club has been nominated in the Herts Sports Partnership Awards in the "Most inspiring club in Lockdown " category. The club was nominated for offering Zoom sessions, small group coaching, equipment loans and a training at home section on the website. It also recognises how the club's coaches have used the time to improve their coaching skills by completing a number of courses.
Abbie Pickard has been instrumental in many of these activities which has got her a nomination in the coaching section. She ran Zoom sessions for the long jumpers she coaches and the middle distance group. Since small group coaching has been allowed Abbie has been coaching long jumpers on the field by the track every week. All this while completing her event group coaching course in jumps (the highest level of course currently offered in athletics).
We now need you to please vote for both the club and Abbie as this is how the winner will be decided! You can read the full nomionations and vote at https://sportinherts.org.uk/hsp-lockdown-awards/ . The closing date for voting is Sunday 6th September.