Over the summer period, the Todmorden Harriers junior coaching team set their members an Autumn Running Challenge. In the absence of formal coaching sessions due to Covid, the challenge was intended to help get the juniors back exercising regularly, and to keep them motivated during a difficult time when formal opportunities to keep active remained so limited.
The challenge for each junior involved selecting a 1km lap of their choosing, one that could be run safely come rain or shine. Each week for 8 weeks the coaching team then set a specified number of laps (either 1, 2 or 3 laps) for completion in the fastest time possible. Times were submitted to the coaching team for inclusion on a challenge table that was shared weekly with all members. Anyone completing at least 3 of the weeks earned themselves a participation award. Special prizes were also on offer for the runner participating for the most number of weeks, and for the most improved runner over the 8-week period.
The names of the 12 members who took part are set out below. Twelve of those participating completed 3 or more weeks to earn themselves a well-deserved participation medal.
The special prize for the runner completing the most weeks ended up as a ‘100% participation’ trophy as, incredibly, four juniors completed all 8 weeks. The coaches decided to award a fifth junior a trophy as well, since they only missed one week due to a bout of tonsillitis – the commitment and dedication was clear! Special mention must go to each of these budding, committed young athletes: Zachary Edwards; Rebecca Haworth; Dessie Holland; Shania Holland; and Lile McGrath.
The decision on who to award the second special prize for ‘most-improved’ runner was much clearer cut. An outstanding improvement week-on-week throughout the challenge saw Lile McGrath picking up this well-deserved prize – a new running belt stuffed full with chocolates!
The coaches were really pleased to see such commitment and dedication from the junior runners and hope that it can be maintained over the coming winter months!
‘Autumn 2020 Challenge’ participants: Zachary Edwards; Imogen Grunhill; Joseph Grunhill; Georgina Haworth; Rebecca Howarth; Dessie Holland; Shania Holland; Lile McGrath; George Suthers; Finn Tweed; Ben Wigley; and Charlotte Wigley.
Junior Grand Prix
In recent years, Todmorden Harriers has also run a Grand Prix of races for the juniors running through from September to June. The Grand Prix comprises 11 selected races and wildcard options such as Park Runs or Cross Country for inclusion as counters. The 2019-20 grand prix was well over half way through when lockdown was brought in earlier this year, however for obvious reasons it was not able to be brought to its natural conclusion. The awarding of Bronze, Silver and Gold medals dependent upon the number of races completed will not be possible; however all participants (25 in total) will receive their own Grand-Prix medal and certificate to acknowledge their achievements pre-lockdown.
Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible and Todmorden Harriers Juniors will be seen racing in the red white and blue vests on road, trail or fell somewhere near you!
‘2019/20 Grand Prix’ participants: George Barnett; Oliver Barnes Dowling; Leoni Brady; John Paul Cash Birks; George Collins; Agnes Daniels; George Daniels; Mabel Daniels; Ella Edwards; Zachary Edwards; Alfie Elmwood; Esther Fielden; Imogen Grunhill; Joseph Grunhill; Dessie Holland; Shania Holland; Will Pollard; Raphael Rogers; Sophie Smith; George Suthers; Delilah Swift; Finn Tweed; Ben Wigley; Charlotte Wigley; Elizabeth Yates