On Wednesday night I entered my first athletics competition against mainstream runners. It was the Charnwwod Open in Loughborough so just down the road from me. My coach Joe is officially apart of Charnwood AC, but I’m not yet a proper member!
Anyway, the competition was graded so you ran against others who had a similar time to you. This made me convince myself I would be running with the under 11s, but thankfully I wasn’t!
Sophie, Joe’s daughter ran with me in the 100m, as Joe wanted to see how fast Courtney could run on her own. After a drunken zig zag start I got my rhythm, but had already lost a lot of time. I came 2nd and ran 16secs flat again! Argh when will I get into the 15s! I’m definitely more than capable.
Courtney ran 13.8secs on her own, which just goes to prove she’s very fast and there’s no chance of me pulling her along!
The 200m went amazingly well! Joe gave me a couple of tips before hand telling me to shorten my drive phase and kick at 70m to go instead of 50m. He also urged Courtney to sort of pull me a little in order to encourage me to run that little bit faster. He assured me it wasn’t cheating, as he said fully sighted people could see others ahead of them, which drives them on, so it’s the same sort of thing. I knocked 2 seconds off my PB and ran 34.3secs. My target for the 200 this year was to run sub 35secs, so now I’ve done that it’s to run sub 34secs.
I was quite nervous about running against fully sighted people, but you know everyone was really nice and I could tell that they were impressed that a blind person was giving it a go. It didn’t even come across in a patronising way. The officials were pleased that they could put what they’d learnt about disability athletics into practice, as after both races they went to my guides and said you know you can’t cross the line before the blind athlete. Erm yes of course they know that that’s why they didn’t cross the line before me maybe?
On a final note I was doing some Googling, as you do in your bored spare time and found out that for last year’s Paralympics to qualify for the T11 100m you needed to run 14.05 for the A standard or 14.8 for the B standard. I still feel I’m on course to run sub 15secs this year, which hopefully means I’ll be well inside the qualifying standards in 3 years time for 2012! Next comp is on Tuesday 14th July.