Athletics Club News

Read the latest news from the Athletics Club written by Sam Cruchley, Club Coach (PhD Metallurgy and Materials, 2015), Luke Gunn, Head of Athletics, and current student Matt Curtis...

Track Update

2017 marked yet another successful year for the club, with outstanding performances from our students occurring on both the domestic and global stage – business as usual for BUAC. Top results came thick and fast from the start of the year when in February, Phil Ferdinand’s triple jump club record fell during 2017’s BUCS indoor championships. Recent graduate Lawrence Davis leapt to a huge lifetime best of 16.01m to improve the 11 year-old record by over 7 cm’s while on his way to securing the gold medal. We wish Lawrence along with the rest of BUAC’s graduating class of 2017 every success for the future.

On the track, 18 of our student-athletes ran an impressive sub 4-minute 1500m in 2017. Of this sub 4-minute crop, front runner Jonny Davies bagged a brilliant bronze from the final of the 1500m during the World Universiade Championships held in Tapei over the summer. Jonny returned to The Taipei Municipal Stadium just three days later to add a silver medal to his collection, this time from the 5000m – a hugely successful trip to Taiwan for the BUAC man. A further international appearance featured master’s student Michael Bowler earning selection for Ireland at the European Combined Events Team Championships. A warm weekend of competition in the Spanish city of Monzon helped Michael break 7000 points for a new personal best in the decathlon, placing him just 200 points off the medals in 5th.

From beginning to end, 2017 has been an exceptional year in-particular for one member of BUAC. Starting her year off strong in February to become British Indoor 1500m champion, Sarah McDonald has consistently produced a whole host of world-class performances throughout the year. 6th in the final of the 1500m at the European indoor championships capped off an impressive indoor season for Sarah, but perhaps the best was yet to come. A 3rd place finish at the outdoor edition of the British Championships proved enough to secure a spot on the GB team for this summer’s World Athletics Championships. A fantastically-timed lifetime best during the first round of the 1500m saw Sarah progress to the semi-finals in London, cementing her place as a true world class athlete.

During the build up to this summer’s world championships, the club welcomed the return of the Jamaican Track and Field Team for another successful training camp. Around fifty of Jamaica’s finest track stars were granted all-access passes to many of the university’s brand-new facilities including the Chamberlain halls of residence, the recently opened £55 million Sport & Fitness Club and of course our brilliant athletics track on campus. The camp proved to be a hit with our student volunteers as well as the Jamaicans, with many of our athletes snapping photos with former World 100m champion Yohan Blake and Olympic, World and Commonwealth medallist Warren Weir before their departure to London.

Winter Update

BUAC has been busy upon return of our students to Brum for the new academic year in September. The cross country and endurance squads enjoyed a training weekend to Shropshire featuring guest speaker Jake Whiteman, while our men’s and women’s track squads have been sharpening up relay change-over skills under the guidance of coaches Martin Owens and Dominic McNeillis, with the aim of securing further BUCS relay titles.

With another cross-country season now in full swing, strong performances at the Liverpool Cross Challenge and beyond saw three of our current students’ bag selection for December’s European Cross-Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia. In-form fresher Niamh Brown joined second year student Victoria Weir in the dominant gold medal winning GB junior women’s team. Joining the girls in Samorin, Sarah McDonald ran an incredible penultimate leg of the inaugural senior mixed 4 x 1500m relay to set-up the win for Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Sarah has also been recently selected for Gold Coast 2018 where she will run in the 1500m for England at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Bud’s Run and Birthday Bash

Buds Bash logoSaturday 21 October was a brilliant day for all those involved here at Birmingham. This year’s event was extra special as we held a huge birthday party for Bud’s 70th Birthday in the University’s Great Hall.

A staggering 428 runners completed the course which included Olympians, bankers, school kids and Parkinson’s sufferers.

In the evening almost 400 people packed out the Great Hall for a wonderful evening of food, catching up with old friends and music, provided by the excellent Revelators led by one of our alumni Sam Jacobs. 

The whole day raised loads of money for Parkinson’s UK and raised the total to an incredible £67,000 for Parkinson’s UK. The continued success of this event could not have happened without the wonderful team at Bud’s Run, the University of Birmingham and a whole host of other special people.

Looking ahead to the future – upcoming events

We are extremely excited to have Penn and Cornell Universities visit us this summer and are looking forward to hosting the very first competition on our new track! This is going to be a very exciting competition called the Birmingham Relays and is going to involve, as many of you may have guessed, lots of classic USA style relays, e.g. Distance Medley and Sprint Medley relays, along with a selection of standard athletics events. We would love to invite all our alumni to the track for a small opening ceremony as well as to watch this historic event on Saturday 23 June! Drop the club an email  to let us know if you want to come.

Bud’s run will be back again in 2018 trying to raise more money for Parkinson’s UK and more details will follow soon, check out the Facebook page and website for more information.

We have a busy schedule of events coming up:

BUCS Indoors Championships – 16-18 February

BUCS Outdoor Championships – 5-7 May

BUCS 10K Championships – 19 May

Birmingham Relays (hosting Penn and Cornell) – 23 June

Please follow us on twitter @UBSportAthletic to see how we get on!