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English Schools' Combined and Race Walks Championships

Posted: 21st Sep 2018 by Lewis Smith

Ashford AC had three young athletes at this year’s English Schools' Combined Events and Race Walking Championships, last weekend.
Jacqueline Benson and Grace Whittingham were representing Kent in the Walking Championships. Jacqueline just missed out on a medal in the grueling Senior Girls 5000m Walk. Jacqueline finished a very impressive 4th place and was delighted to achieve a new personal best time of 30m56.13s. This was the 5th year of competing at English Schools', which in itself is a major achievement, and her best ever result. The season has seen Jacqueline break her personal best no less than eight times!
Grace was less fortunate in the Junior Girls 3000m Walk. Grace was on target for a personal best and a potential medal, but was eliminated from the race due to a technical infringement spotted by a very strict official.
In the combined events, Faith Cox was thrilled to be selected for Kent in the Senior Girls Heptathlon. Even though Faith finished 21st in a very large field, this was only her 2nd ever Heptathlon. Faith did, however, get a personal best in her favourite event - the 100m Hurdles - and another personal best in the Javelin.
All three girls agreed that as well as being proud to be representing Kent Schools' at a Major National Event, they all gained a lot from the experience.

Jonathan Hobbs - UK National 50km Race Walking Champion for the Second Time

Posted: 12th Sep 2018 by Kate Dickinson

The End in sight!!Mid RaceAshford Athletic Club’s long-distance race walker Jonathan Hobbs concluded his most successful season by becoming UK National 50km Race Walking Champion for the second time.

With a 4th place in the Portuguese championships and 3rd in the French, Hobbs travelled to the Isle of Man for this year’s race.

After a good preparation, including 3-hour treadmill sessions in the Stour Centre Gym to avoid the hot Summer, he was ready to impress.

He took the lead from the gun on a tough 1km circuit of their National Sports Centre on a drizzly Sunday morning.  By 10 kilometres he was already 5 minutes ahead of the next athlete. By halfway he was on course for a new personal best and club record, but cramp, fatigue and lack of opposition meant he slowed a little but achieved his second-best time of 4 hours 43 minutes 35 seconds.

“It was not everything I had hoped for as I was aiming for a faster time. However, the main goal was to win, and I did that convincingly. The 50k is always mentally exhausting but the more I work on it the better I am at staying focused and keeping positive. Usually I have some sort of existential crisis during the race but this time I was happy to just keep pushing myself. That was the most satisfying aspect of last Sunday.” He reflected later.  

Glad to see the finish he realised he was no less than 5 miles ahead of the second-place walker.  The super fit Ashford Leisure Trust Personal Trainer is now having a well-earned rest while planning an even better season next year.

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