GB Marathon Team Winter Training Days 2014-15

The MRC is organising a series of regional and national training days over the course of the winter. The purpose of these days is to get athletes together for some hard training and marathon skills practice, and to help athletes and their coaches plan for a successful season next year.

The NATIONAL training days are intended for athletes in the full GB marathon team or likely to reach this level in the next two seasons. Athletes still on the path to achieving this level will get a better experience at the REGIONAL training days, details of which will be published in November.

Athletes who competed for GB or BCU/Canoe England at the following international events qualify for the National training days:
World or European Championships 2013 or 14
World Cups 2013 or 14
Waterland Marathon 2014
Spanish international K4 races 2013 or 14
French Nationals 2013
Any GB (not BCU/Canoe England) sprint team selection in 2013 or 14

If you don’t qualify under these criteria but you or your coach believes that you are able to train with the group, then please check with one of the coaches on the MRC. Athletes should ONLY attend national days if they meet the criteria above or are invited by one of the MRC coaches.

THE FIRST TRAINING DAY IS ON SATURDAY 8TH NOVEMBER AT LONGRIDGE. We will meet for a 9.30 start with up to two water sessions in K1/C1 and a team meeting over lunch. You will need to bring a packed lunch.

Provisional other dates (all held at Willen Lake near Milton Keynes) are:-
6 Dec
17 Jan
7 Mar

International Race Report: World Championships Oklahoma 2014

Monday day one.

Met London Heathrow – team members arriving 50 minutes late which was not a good start….!  Checked in but getting critical for boarding with time dwindling away. With most of the team through security, Stan and Tom have to take the bundle of long paddles to have them reopened and individually swabbed for explosives…now only 20 mins. remaining before close of boarding! Luckily following a rapid and sweaty run through the airport we make it!  But did the paddles?

Long flight to Houston and then with two hours to change flights down to OKA international…. a number go off to find some more food and are only found as the doors for the flight are closing, another close call but we finally all board.

Arrive OKA, collect cars after being told that the missing two bags and other bundle of paddles will be coming on a later flight.  Settle into apartments by 9pm local time, 3am UK time, after 18 hours of travelling.

Tuesday day two

Up early as expected and after breakfast a visit to the airport to collect the two remaining lost bags and all the paddles which were no longer in a bundle obviously having been torn apart in transit. Luckily all there! Travel to the course around 30 mins, weather, clear sky and getting hot. Unpacked boats and although there was some minor damage most were intact. With some assistance from the Nelo service team all in racing order by later in the day. Training paddle took place followed by a run for some. Very hot now and sun screen essential. Hydration will become a constant issue in the dry heat and constant breeze -  now 86 degrees F .

Accommodation now full with other teams arriving and Masters Competition starting tomorrow.

Wednesday day three

Various training groups down to the course and some further boat maintenance, excellent on site lunch. Masters racing today. For those that watched them some useful information about the course and portage was gained. Windy but hot conditions persist.

Thursday day four

Another training day in between masters K2 racing, cooler in morning but again deceptive wind with rising temperatures to 88F. Lunch and team leaders meeting them back to apartments to collect all and return to course in heavy traffic for the opening ceremony.

Friday day five

First day of World Championships. Early start as Magnus and Zyggy K1 on at 9.00am followed by Elise at 9.03am. Sam RC paddling mid morning and after a few more shuttles back and forth, Sam P and Nick K1 at 2.45pm, in the worst heat of the day.

A live feed via the ICF website allows athletes from around the world to experience the racing first hand as events unfolded.

With a strong field it going to be a hard boys K1 race but our paddlers quickly established themselves in some large groups with Magnus towards the front and leading through the first portage. With a light wind and it being a little cooler paddling conditions were good. Zyggy was moving up through the field but slowly the race pace separated the groups. Final result Magnus 8th and Zyggy 10th with some valuable experience gained. Both paddlers should be pleased with their performances at this level.

Elise’s K1 race fielded some good quality paddlers and held a fast pace from outset.  Elise established herself towards the front and paddled well to come a creditable final 8th place overall. Our aim was to field a team capable of top ten placing’s and we were on target. Well done Elise a great performance.

The U23 women’s race saw some mature and tactical paddling from Sam RC. Whilst the race pace was not high at times there was a high number of quality paddlers and things could change in a moment.  Sam was not fazed as the pace of the leading group increased but continued to make some mature decisions to come in with a solid performance and Silver medal. A fantastic result.

Sadly things did not go so well for us in the U23 Men’s.  With 20 minutes to go the guys were on the water but Sam had a pump problem so Melvin and I set to, to try and resolve things.  Time was ticking away and it was complicated with the full foot plate which meant it was going to be a close call but with two and a half minutes to spare he was paddling to the start line….when the race was started early – something which should not happen at this level especially when all competitors where checked onto the water and it should have been obvious to the starter that they had one missing!   A 200 meter deficit at the start is an impossible margin to make up but Sam paddled well pulling up places with each lap.  Meanwhile Nick was looking strong and in a good position when the inevitable happened when boats are dragged at the portage and he removed his under stern rudder totally!   After returning to the side a very quick replacement was fitted but too much ground had been lost.  Sam finished 14th and Nick 20th reflecting on the events rather than ability. Both were understandably very disappointed.

Saturday day six

Another early leave after 6am get up. Traffic light and we were in to the course bathed in early morning sun….again, when does it rain here!  It was obviously going to be very hot later so with lessons learned a cool box was acquired and ice to keep the drinks bags cool for the later races.

With the first races away at 9.00 the conditions were near perfect for the early races, sun, not too warm (by Oklahoma standards) but light breeze. First up were our two junior men’s K2′ s.

A large field of 21 boats saw a quick start with Jack and Ed nudging forward in the group after a fast start and looking strong. Luke and Magnus were holding there own with others but wide of the main pack. This turned out to be useful, as nearing the first turn Jack and Ed were involved in a scuffle and this resulted in a clash, loosing them valuable places.

Luke and Magus were able to avoid the problems arising from such a large group all jockeying for position to get to the best washes and move clear with the leaders.

Approaching the portage the leading group moved around again and Luke and Magnus found themselves being disadvantaged by a wrongly timed manoeuvre which could have resulted in a swim. Luckily they came through this but dropped back a little as a result. Portaging was swift and as expected there were some minor clashes and mistakes, with Luke and Magnus nearly loosing reach of their boat at one stage after the jump out, but still they maintained a comfortable lead over the other British crew who were struggling to make up the lost ground.

This was a fast race and at times hectic race.  A very creditable performance from Luke and Magus coming in 8th with much valuable experience gained.

Jack and Ed held their place to finish 11th after the unfortunate incident in the early stages.

Next at 11.45 was senior women’s K1 – temperatures were rising not just because of the midday sun…..Lizzie was on a storm from the start and making her mark in this race! After the leading group reducing to just two she demonstrated some powerful paddling and excellent portaging edging her towards a certain medal – but could it be Gold or was it to be Silver -  our hearts were in our  mouths at one stage when Lizzie hit her under stern heavily on the joint between two pontoons which could have easily ended her day in disaster, but it survived and on her next passing a message was got to her to carry rather than drag her boat to protect from possible further damage, which she duly did!  With the two boats together out of the last portage it could have gone either way but a powerful performance from the other paddler saw her edge away from Lizzie in the final meters – but a superb Silver medal and world class performance from Lizzie without doubt.

If Lizzie’s race was exciting, Keith and Ed’s kept us on the edge of our seats.  Keith flew out from the start into a lead that surprised some of the world’s best paddlers!    Ed had a strong start in a race that was always going to be dominated by the top paddlers……and what a performance with strong pace and great tactics up in the front group.  Keith’s portaging was ultra fast with many commenting upon the sheer speed of his run! But he did not stop there with a constant and aggressive pace being set on the water too.

Both our paddlers finally settled into the second group with continued pressure being exerted all the time by Keith, who was obviously not content with racing his own group but prepared to make a real attempt to claw back the meters to the leaders.  Superb commitment and gutsy performance from Keith with a sprint for his 7th position in the final meters to achieve a truly excellent result, he was followed by Ed with a creditable 10th.

Sunday day seven

Another early start the first car leaving at 7.15am and with very little traffic we were into the course in record time. Beautiful sunny morning, but rather warmer than before. Obviously another hot day to come. It was to climb to 94F later.

The first race was the Women’s Senior K2 with Sam RC and Amy off to a strong start and looking good from the line.  Fay and Lizzie were also there and looking good. A strong and solid performance followed with other boats slowly falling off the leaders washes – but it was great to see our two boats right up there in the mix at the front.  It was always going to be close at the end and our girl’s crew of Sam and Amy gave it all they had to be there right until the end sprint and collect a superb Bronze medal. Fay and Lizzie not disappointing with an excellent 4th placing not too far behind.

The final race of the championships – a very strong Senior Men’s K2 race which promised to be THE race of the weekend with anyone’s guess as to the winner. Tim and Andy were there in the leading group with Keith and Ed close by. The leaders and groups were moving around with Tim and Andy playing the washes very well and maintaining good position in some lovely V washes before falling back a little to lead the second group.  They proceeded to break free before being re-joined in the later stages but seemed to have the pace to control those with them. Their portaging was swift and their position maintained. A creditable 6th final place was well deserved and commendable at this level.   Keith and Ed’s race was cut short, with an early retirement following their efforts the previous day in their K1′s.

A surprise for us all in that we heard that Lizzie had won the World Ladies K1 Ranking trophy that was duly presented to her. A fantastic end to the weekend and achievement to be proud of.

The final Nations ranking for the competition revealed that we had come 4th – only one point behind the strong South Africa team.

An evening Bar- be- q round the pool with the South African team followed back at our apartments.

We returned the following day to Heathrow after another 20 plus hours travelling.

It was excellent to see a good group of Parents who attended the event to give support to our team.

Our thanks to Melvin who was out there competing in the Masters for his valuable assistance (and congratulations on his Gold Medal) and staff members Claire and Tom for giving up their valuable time and providing support to the team.

 

Stan Missen, Team Manager.

World Championship Results

The GB team delivered some exceptional performances at the World Marathon Championships last weekend in Oklahoma, USA. A full report will appear in the next week or so, but here are the headline results:-

Senior Women’s K1:-
SILVER Lizzie Broughton (RIC)

Senior Women’s K2:-
BRONZE Sam Rees-Clark (B3C) and Amy Ward (ELM)
4th Fay Lamph (WEY) and Lizzie Broughton (RIC)

U23 Women’s K1:-
SILVER Sam Rees-Clark (B3C)

Junior Women’s K1:-
8th Elise Piercy (ELM)

Senior Men’s K1:-
7th Keith Moule (CLM)
10th Ed Rutherford (ELM)

Senior Men’s K2:-
6th Tim Pendle (NOR) and Andy Daniels (LON)

U23 Men’s K1:-
14th Sam Plummer (LBZ)
20th Nick Romain (RIC)

Junior Men’s K1:-
8th Magnus Gregory (LON)
10th Zyggy Chmiel (NOT)

Junior Men’s K2:-
8th Luke Harding (LON) and Magnus Gregory (LON)
11th Jack Childerstone (WEY) and Ed Haws (WEY)

 

Norwich CC win National Championships Team Trophies

Congratulations to the winners of the National Championships Team Trophy Norwich Canoe Club and runners up Nottingham and Richmond. Also congratulations to Norwich, Banbury, Leighton Buzzard first, second and third respectively in the Lightning team competition.

The Spanish House and Spanish Galleon along with the team plates will be presented at the September Sprint regatta, on Sunday at around 1:30pm after the presentation of the Sprint regatta trophies (scheduled for after race 275 at 1:20pm).

GB team claims second place in Spanish International K4 Series

Each year the towns of Sanabria and Valladolid organise a pair of international K4 races, over a distance of roughly 5km each. Over 60 K4s take part in a range of classes, with the international K4 class being the highlight.

This year, the Spanish organisers attracted eight international crews of the highest standard, to take on their top crew of Merchan, Alonso, Fernandez and Ruiz (who hold a selection of world marathon and sprint titles between them).

Racing against them were our GB crew of Tim Pendle (NOR), Andy Daniels (LON), Keith Moule (CLM) and Jon Simmons (WEY). The German crew included multiple Olympic medallist Andreas Ihle, and crews from Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Italy all contained proven medal winners.

The first race took place on 19th July in Valladolid, where the GB crew took third behind Spain and Germany. They went one better the next day in Sanabria, but were unable to stay with the Spanish crew and had to settle for the silver medal ahead of Portugal. These results gave them second overall for the series.

These athletes will all be contesting the National Championships at Worcester next month, and will be hoping to make the World Championship team for Oklahoma in September.

Four medals for GB at European Marathon Champs

Only a week after the opening of the season of ICF marathons with the World Cup, the European Championships took place between 13th and 15th June in Piestany, Slovakia.

Sprinters will be familiar with the course on the dammed river Vah at Piestany, which can be generous to racers with its slight following current. The annual junior international took place here only two weeks before the marathon in chilly conditions, but the sun was very much shining on the GB team this weekend.

Our team comprised the following:-

Magnus Gregory (Longridge) and Ross McMullen (Elmbridge), racing in the junior men’s K1 and K2 races
Elise Piercy (Elmbridge), racing junior ladies’ K1
Sam Plummer (Leighton Buzzard) in the U23 men’s K1
Jenny Illidge (Worcester) in the U23 women’s K1
Fay Lamph (Wey) and Lizzie Broughton (Richmond) racing in the senior women’s K1 and K2 races
Jon Simmons (Wey) and Keith Moule (Chelmsford) racing in the senior men’s K1 and K2 races
Andy Daniels (Longridge) and Tim Pendle (Norwich) racing in the senior men’s K2 race.

The European Championships entry was of a very high standard this year, meaning it would be hard to match our three european gold medals of 2013 (Amy Ward in junior K1, and with Sam Rees-Clark in junior K2, and Fay & Lizzie in women’s K2). The entry lists featured most of the names who had won senior and U23 world medals at Copenhagen.

Three long days of competition start with the junior singles races. At only 15 years old but with an impressive set of results behind him already, Magnus faced a tough task in the boys race, and was joined by Ross McMullen who had won the Bedford assessment race. A big start saw Magnus at the start of a large group heading into the first turn only 1800m from the start line. This upstream turn proved important in most races as it thinned groups out considerably, but Magnus’s positioning near the front saw him through clear. Very quickly Magnus and the Hungarian Gyorgyjakab broke away at the front of the race and established a lead of several minutes. Ross found himself in a challenging group of nine boats stretching from third to eleventh on the water. While the front runners were untroubled, the big group regularly fractured at portages and turns, while Ross made impressive efforts to come back each time he was held up.

The Hungarian finally too strong for Magnus in the final portage and broke away to win, but Magnus took an excellent silver medal, nearly five minutes ahead of third. Ross took tenth place only 30 seconds from the bronze winner. Tough break of the day went to the Portuguese Azevedo who was lined up to collect a bronze medal, only for judges to pull him out of the queue in favour of the German Pflugfelder at the last minute. Perhaps an omen of the football result to come!

While the boys were racing, Elise was contesting the junior ladies’ K1. A difficult start saw her separated from the front group of six, and despite chasing one of them down she had to settle for seventh place. Elise will still be a junior next year, unlike four of those who finished in front of her.

The U23 races also took place on Friday. Jenny Illidge made an impressive start to get into the front group, but was unable to keep with the pace of some of the 2013 world medallists who dominated the race, and finished tenth behind the winning Hungarian Vaczai. Sam Plummer, in his first year as a senior, faced a similarly tough task in a world class field, finishing eleventh only three minutes from the Norwegian winner Minde.

Following Ross and Magnus’ performances in K1, they had high hopes for the K2 the next morning, and their first few laps promised to deliver. Unfortunately fatigue caught up with them and they were dropped from the leading group of three, by the Hungarian and German crews. They were eventually caught by the chasing pack and had to settle for a sixth place which didn’t quite do justice to the quality of their race.

Lizzie and Fay, last year’s European K2 marathon champions, had made the decision to double up this year and test their ability to race both K1 and K2. At the same time, the big guns had come out to play and the women’s K1 start included a string of world champions in Csay, Cicali, Faldum and Bara. This group set a blistering pace to the first turn, where the current sent Lizzie into one of the turn buoys, into reverse gear and out of the front group. She and Fay set about chasing, and over 2km kept the gap at around 20 seconds. The portage thinned out the lead and chasing groups, leaving Lizzie just behind the front group with the Bulgarian (and ex-Hungarian world champion) Faldum. Lizzie waited until they were within striking distance before attacking the Bulgarian and rejoining Csay, Cicali and the Serbian Bedocs.

With Csay’s long experience dictating the race, Lizzie raced with great strength and intelligence to drop first the Serbian, and then the Italian, finishing 25 seconds behind Csay to claim the silver medal. Fay claimed seventh place just behind Bara.

If the women’s K1 was not enough excitement for the day, the men’s K1 was equal to it.The field here was exceptionally well matched, and saw a group of a dozen mix it up for almost the full duration. At the front, marathon champions Alonso of Spain, Ramalho of Portugal and Hamar of Norway were fighting a tactical war against the German three-time Olympic medallist Andreas Ihle. Rather than fall into a trap of paddling steadily, the marathon racers broke the sprinter down with sharp accelerations and better tactical use of the current. In the mix throughout was Keith Moule, who found himself in and out of the front group several times.

Things looked to be settled when Ramalho led Alonso and the Hungarian Boros away with a lap to go, but only 1800m later Keith was back leading a front group of ten only 3km from the finish, while Ihle was dropped. The final portage was taken at full pelt, and a slip-up getting in saw Keith’s boat fill with water, dropping him to a ninth place finish, extremely impressive nevertheless. At the front, Alonso led through the finish ahead of Ramalho and Hamar. Some aggressive steering in the finishing strait saw the Spaniard relegated to second, making Ramalho the champion.

Sunday’s K2 races are the fastest of the event and did not disappoint in terms of excitement. Fay and Lizzie were under constant pressure in the front group of the ladies’ race as reigning champions, and the Italian and Hungarian crews contained better rested athletes. These crews managed to get away, while Fay and Lizzie beat the Swedish pair to claim the bronze medal, and GB’s third of the competition overall.

GB have not claimed a medal in a senior men’s K2 championship since 1997, but this year we fielded two strong crews in Pendle/Daniels and Moule/Simmons. Tim and Jon hair paired up for a fourth place last year, while Andy had managed a fourth place at the 2010 Worlds, so there was plenty to hope for.

Tim and Andy managed to establish themselves in the front group from the start, while Keith and Jon got into the chasing group. The front group soon became five: the Spanish world champions
Alonso & Merchan, their compatriots Bouzan & Fernandez, the Hungarians Boros and Petrovics, and the Portuguese Brandao & Nanita. All of these crews had winning pedigrees but our boys were untroubled throughout. First to fall back were the Portuguese who valiantly chased the front four for several laps, led mostly by the GB crew as the Spaniards were content to wait.

Merchan and Alonso waited until the final portage to attack, putting in first in an attempt to go clear. Bouzan and Fernandez had seen it all before and caught them quickly, with our boys and the Hungarians close behind. The world champions led the complete group of four out of the turn, and with 200m to go Tim and Andy made a serious attempt to come past. But the race plan of the spanish crews paid off and they were able to take first and second by a quarter of a boat length from the British crew, the Hungarians having fallen back.

Many of the athletes racing for Great Britain at the championships had made a choice between attending the June regatta selections or going for a medal in Piestany. The potential sacrifice of a sprint selection demonstrates their commitment to being medal winners, and they delivered.

James Smythe, Team Manager.