We had hoped that we would be able to get back on the track for training within the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we have been informed this morning by Stevenage Borough Council that a compliance issue with the water means the reopening will be delayed again. We hope to hear early next week how serious the problem is and will update on both the website and Facebook.
The East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity, the charity that supports four of our local NHS hospitals; Lister in Stevenage, Hertford County Hospital. The New QE2 in Welwyn Garden City and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is organising a big fund raising event.
During the pandemic, they have worked to support our local NHS Heroes through our Here for Each Other urgent COVID-19 appeal and have been overwhelmed by the support of our local community. Whilst they are aware that the pandemic is not yet over, they are turning their thoughts to fundraising for other vital projects across our hospitals. Due to COVID-19, they have sadly had to cancel all of their other events for the remainder of 2020.
On the 5th July 2020, the NHS turned 72. To celebrate this milestone and to shine a light on our fantastic NHS the charity has teamed up with Garden House Hospice Care to create a virtual cycle ride event, which they would like to invite SNHAC members to take part in.
More details can be found at https://www.enhhcharity.org.uk/Event/hertshealthride .
Over the next few weeks coaches and athletes face the challenge of moving from home training, Zoom and Park sessions to a slow transition back to the track. The last park session in Shefford for the pole vault athletes took place Sunday as lead coach Beth Harris will be completing her move to Nottingham at the beginning of August.
Shannon Rapacchi will be coaching the Club’s beginners with the more experienced athletes moving to a new coach once Lee Valley reopens.
The endurance and horizontal jumps groups were working hard at Ridlins Park on Sunday and will remain there until the track reopens, hopefully the second week of August.
However, for many athletes, park sessions will continue. Limited numbers on the track each session (25 athletes), mean those athletes in the larger squads, Combined Events, Sprints and Endurance may only have a track session once a fortnight and will still be doing park sessions at other times. For those self - isolating for health or family reasons a local park or the garden may still be the training venue of choice for the foreseeable future!
The need to work in clearly defined ‘bubbles’ on specific areas of the track, 2m self-distancing at all times will be a new experience for all.
Whilst we have all had plenty to deal with in recent months, life has been even more hectic for Beth our pole vault coach who has had to cope with changing job and moving home as well. Here she has written a semi-serious account of recent times!
Tales from Lockdown.
So when lockdown was announced on 20th March I was still merrily working away in my old job as Sports Academy Manager at Newham Sixth Form College (East London). I had 7 weeks remaining until I left the role and started with UoN as the new Club & Coach Development Manager within the Performance Team.
Needless to say the transition to Nottingham has not been smooth!
Over that first weekend 3 months ago I desperately packed up all of my belongings and managed to persuade the last removal company still operating to transport them into Big Yellow Storage asap.
For the following 8 weeks I lived with limited branded clothing, in an empty flat, with a mattress, desk, broadband & some pots / pans. To say it focused the mind is an understatement, however on the up side I could use my newfound space to leap about to Davina Mccall, Gabby Logun & Dance fitness workout DVD's to my heart's content!
Much to my former team's distress I also had time to write up a 64 page handover document (oops).
Whilst putting my flat on the market to Let I discovered my front door needed replacing (bye bye £2k) and also my fuse board (bye bye £1k) - who knew I'd been living in a death trap for 6 years! But no fear - my new tenant is now reaping the benefits.
My leaving do's were cancelled & replaced with online waving goodbye's / watching other people eat cake and I embarked, as many, on the plethora of online quiz nights & house-party groups, which only confirmed that I have absolutely NO general knowledge (thank the lord for the sports round!).
On 11th May I started with UoN and swiftly had to learn new technology as I didn't want to be that melon who couldn't get into a Teams call!
A week later I left London and made the partial jump to Nottingham - which meant moving in with my parents in Bedfordshire (eek!).
For anyone who like me who hasn't lived at home for near on 20 years, let me fill you in on little things that might tip you over the edge:
- joint shopping lists
- their need to run the taps elsewhere in the house EVERY time you get in the shower
- their need to use a blender at 6.30am on a Sunday morning!
- the risk of reverting to your former teenage self, hiding in your room at the weekend watching the ipad and avoiding the inevitable 8th "cuppa?" call of the day
- dreadful WiFi thus affecting your ability to revert to said former teenage self hiding in your room watching the ipad!
- washing machine / line etiquette - ask yourself when was the last time your septuagenarian dad got your washing off the line and handled your smalls??
So now I've been working for UoN for 8 weeks and I can't express enough how welcoming and accommodating literally everyone I'm working with has been.
My main fear was that I'd be more of a burden than an asset in trying to learn from afar, but I'm sincerely hoping this is not the case.
Outside of work I coach a Pole Vault squad, for whom the summer was meant to be a period of transition to another coach. In some ways the fact we've all transitioned to online coaching has been a positive. I've maintained a brilliant relationship with the athletes through delivering weekly zoom circuit sessions. I now spend my Wednesday evenings watching many many vids of semi clad fitness 'experts' covered in body lotion demonstrating various activities (it's a hard life) in prep for our Thursday coaching.
The ability to now meet in the park has also proved fun, as we spend Sunday mornings at a social distance running through pole drills and everything except the actual vault - much to the amusement of the passing dog walkers!
I'm now really looking forward to moving to Nottingham and meeting everyone face to face - not least so I can figure out how tall everyone is (very tricky via a Teams meeting!).
This has certainly been the most unorthodox way I've started a new job, but I'm positive the kindness I'm being presented with is not just a symptom of lockdown and long may it continue.
Small group training in the parks has become the new normal for many athletes from Stevenage and North Herts Athletic Club.
The Club Coaches can now take five athletes at a time and have set up sessions across parks in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Shefford. The sprints squad have been active on Windmill Hill in Hitchin, making use of the slope to provide tough sessions. The endurance group are working in Ridlins Park along with the long jump and triple squad. Combined events and pole vault squads are active in Shefford. Pole vault drills are entertaining the dog walkers where all aspects of the vault apart from the jump can be practised. By using a home-made box even the plant and take-off can be replicated! The younger athletes are moving from Zoom sessions to the park with their coaches this week. With guidelines only allowing 5 athletes at a time, several coaches are still providing Zoom circuit sessions. These have proved highly amusing, with some athletes using bags of flour for weights, with coaches attempting to demonstrate a wide variety of activities.
It is hoped that the track in Stevenage will open early August, but training will initially be by invitation as only 25 athletes and 5 coaches will be able to take part in each session!