LUCA Outdoors Championships 2017

Saturday 27th May saw the final event in the London Universities and Colleges Athletics (LUCA) outdoors championship take place. The series of 3 athletics meets between the London universities had previously visited St. Mary’s and Woodford athletics tracks, and the destination for the final was Battersea’s Millennium Arena.

luca2The warm but windy day began with a 1-2 for Imperial in an excellent women’s 1500m led home by Kate Olding in a time of 4:57.16, closely followed by Sarah Johnson in 5:03.29 and Ophélie Meuriot finishing 5th in 6:11.17.

The men’s race saw some good performances too, with Fergus Johnson (4:54.13) and Duncan Hunter (4:58.90) competing in the first heat, and Duncan Ingram (5:01.51) and Lawrence Tse (5:48.01) running in the second.

Meanwhile, 5 Imperial athletes competed in the long jump; David Fong leapt 5.94m – enough to finish 2nd on the day – with multi-eventer Hunter jumping 4.49m and Jack McKeon 4.22m. In the women’s event, Zhen Wang-Koh flew 2.99m and Meuriot reached 2.84m shortly after her 1500m. Wang-Koh later went on to clear 1.20m in the high jump.

18699866_269059920224076_806913222841257939_nIn the 100m sprints, Imperial’s Paul Guillon ran 12.83, with Stefan Renstrom finishing in a rapid 12.21, and Hunter running an impressive 13.07 after his 1500m and long jump. Hunter and Guillon then went on to run the 200m in times of 26.86 and 26.01 respectively. Not satisfied with 2 sprint events, Guillon next ran the notoriously difficult 400m to post an impressive 56.20.

In the even more difficult women’s 400m hurdles, Jenny Lea ran 1:36.16, despite having never jumped over a hurdle before! She also hopped, skipped and jumped valiantly in the triple jump.

With the sun beating down on the Battersea track, a water station was set up for the longest event of the day – the 5000m. In her 3rd of 6 events, Ophélie Meuriot finished strongly to run 23:55.77, just ahead of Catherine Spurin’s 24:14.17.

In the men’s event, McKeon posted a new personal best of 18:04.92 despite the heat, gusts on the back straight of the track, and suspect water delivery from his teammates.

McKeon then went on to compete in the 800m, running 2:28.71, just behind Duncan Ingram’s 2:27.58, finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively in the second heat. Imperial’s future athletics captain Max Thorp earlier posted a speedy 2:10.46 to finish 5th in the first heat.

In the women’s 800m, women’s captain Alex Mundell ran extremely well to finish 3rd in 2:24.16.

Next was the turn of the spectators’ favourite – the steeplechase. This event involves hurdling 5 large barriers (91.4cm for men) per lap over 2km or 3km, with water jumps to contend with each lap too. A crowd typically gather around the water jump, with plenty of splashes and tumbles occurring during each race. Representing Imperial in the men’s race was Duncan Ingram, who went on to finish in 12:31.00 after a surge in pace on the penultimate lap to ensure he was not lapped by the eventual winner!

Over in the field events, Athletics Captain Raul Rinken came 2nd in the shot put, throwing 10.47m, while James Davis reached 7.70m and multi-eventer Ingram threw 5.86m. Davis and Ingram also competed in the javelin, with throws of 26.81m and 20.04m respectively. Davis also entered the discus, throwing 17.69m, while Rinken won the event by over 7m with a huge throw of 36.38m.

18740287_269060183557383_9221667256603695248_nIn the women’s events Liv Papaioannou came 5th in shot put with 7.21m, ahead of Mundell with 5.79m. Both Papaioannou and Mundell also threw the javelin along with Meuriot, with Papaioannou finishing 3rd with 23.91m, ahead of Mundell’s 15.88m, and Meuriot’s 8.50m. Meuriot’s final event was the discus, in which she threw 9.45m.

Some of the most exciting races of the day were the relay races. Imperial’s 4x100m teams finished in 48.84 and 63.82, and the men’s 4x400m team came home in 4:19.19.

In the medley relay, a special event which has 200m, 400m and 800m legs and both men and women competing in one event, Imperial assembled a strong team enough team to podium; finishing 3rd in 7:49.55.

As the event was the 3rd and final meet of the series, medals were presented for the highest points scored in each discipline over the course of the championship.

Overall, bronze medals went to Women’s Captain Alex Mundell for 800m and our medley relay team, silver medals to next year’s Athletics Captain Max Thorp for 800m, Liv Papaioannou for javelin, David Fong for long jump, and Athletics Captain Raul Rinken for shotput and gold medals to Kate Olding for the 1500m and Raul for discus.

In the final standings, Imperial managed a respectable 4th place out of all the competing universities and colleges, behind UCL, King’s and LSE.

luca1Special thanks go to Imperial’s Matt Douthwaite and Shiv Patel for all their hard work and dedication in organising the championships.

Interview With Imperial Speed Demon Chris Olley

Despite being on a year abroad, Chris Olley still is making time to show off his Imperial vest. This weekend he ran in the U23 European 5k trials up in Manchester and after a smashing race came home in 4th with an incredible time of 14minutes 3seconds – only 8 seconds off the qualifying time! See here to watch the race for yourself!

We wanted to find out what was behind Chris’ ongoing success having made waves across the running scene ever since coming to Imperial three years ago…

18700202_1698978780404505_3786494175142612626_nWhat started you off in running?
I actually started running to train for a completely different sport, ice-hockey! This is while I lived in Finland, everyone in the team was given a cross-training schedule for the off-season to stay fit, and that’s when I started going on (very short) runs with my dad. I was about 9 or 10 at the time.

What is your favourite thing about running?
I think one of my favourite things about running is that its so minimalist, compared to other sports. I mean this in the sense that no matter where you are, usually all you need to train to the best of your ability is a pair of trainers, and the surrounding environment becomes your training ground. I think this is one of the things that attracted me to running in the first place as its possible to improve to a good standard without requiring lots of equipment or lessons.

So you’ve been at Imperial quite a few years now – what has been your highlight of competing for ICXCAC?
So far I have to say my individual highlight is coming second at the BUCS indoor 3k this year. However, I also really enjoy any event where there is a big ICXCAC turn out, like BUCS XC, as there’s always such a fun atmosphere.

How has your running been affected by doing a year abroad?
Its certainly been a big change, as I’ve had to find a new group out here and it’s not always easy to find someone to train with. However the team I’ve been involved with out here (LAC Freiburg) have been very supportive in fitting my sessions into their programme and have helped me to find races here in Germany.

Talk us through a typical training week.
In the summer I usually run around 80 miles in a non racing week, with 2-3 hard sessions and a long run of 13-15 miles. The track sessions vary between 1500 target sessions and longer distance 5k sessions, and I usually do some faster work off the track at least once a week too. In the winter its pretty similar but with longer sessions, more often off road, and up to 100 miles a week for a non-racing week.

What do you reckon is the key to your success over the last few years?
I think I’ve managed to build up my mileage well over the last years without getting injured, and that consistency certainly helps. Having my coach Mark Hookway to advise me and give me sessions that are in line with my aims is also obviously a massive help. Also just not taking things too seriously and running for the enjoyment of racing fast as opposed to putting too much pressure on yourself.

What was your pre-race meal?
My proper pre race meal is usually breakfast, followed by sandwiches or something light for lunch if racing in the afternoon or evening. Last time I raced I had a full English with pancakes as my race wasn’t until 9pm! If my race is in the morning I usually eat quite a lot the night before as I don’t want to be eating too much on the day.

Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
Not really, I find its important to be open to changes in your routine otherwise its quite easy to be put off if something doesn’t go to plan. I think its difficult to always have the same build up to a race as they are all so different.

What do you think about your Strava titles?
I think they’re pretty good…although I haven’t been very good at writing them recently. Its quite difficult of thinking of new ones during a stretch where you’re not doing anything special!
(Follow Chris on Strava here)

How do you maintain your mileage without getting ill or injured?
I think a lot of it is down to being really cautious and backing off straight away if I feel something isn’t right. It’s a difficult balance as you have to be disciplined to get the consistent training but also not be too rigid so that you can allow yourself to take time off if necessary. I try to make sure I eat well and sleep as much as possible. Sleep is a pretty massive factor I think too, I would definitely do it more if I could! In terms of direct prevention, I’ve also been trying to stretch a lot more recently as this has a big impact on preventing niggles.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Running wise, hopefully competing for national titles at a senior level, and qualifying for major international championships. Career/other parts of life wise no idea!

Tell us about the most entertaining moment of your running career.
I think the time I forgot a suitcase containing all my race kit on a train heading to Scotland while travelling for the Euro cross championships qualifier race in Liverpool this year was pretty bad…I ended up being able to replace most of the kit and still have a good race though so goes to show how important it is to be able to adapt!


Finally tell me about the race in Manchester this weekend and in particular the incredible burn up at the end.
I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go as training hasn’t been brilliant these last few weeks, so it was a bit of unknown territory going out at sub 14 minute pace for 5k. Inevitably, as it was a trial race, the pace slowed a bit in the middle and I was still just about hanging on to the lead pack coming into the last lap. I made a bit of a move with 300 to go and positioned myself quite well but then two others made a massive surge at 200, which I just couldn’t really cover! I was still happy to finish 4th in a pb considering it was only my 2nd race of the season and with a less than ideal build up. I would like to do a couple of 15s next as I think it’s important to work on your speed frequently too. #Sport Imperial

Thanks to Mark Hookway for the photos.

Interview With BUCS 10,000m Silver Medallist Luke Caldwell

An interview with our very own mysterious to many BUCS 10,000m SILVER MEDALLIST Luke Caldwell after his 9th placing in the British championships this weekend in a crazy time of 29:01…


What got you into running?
For reasons unknown to anyone, I volunteered to make up numbers in school XC race when I was about 14. Did alright and its slowly taken over my life from there

Why do you enjoy running?
I like the ‘more linear than normal life’ relationship between effort put in and results out. Also the running community is amazing. Almost everyone is incredibly nice

What is your favourite athletics event and why?
5000m? Its long enough to build into it and a story to develop but not so long that you have to avoid looking at lap counter

Talk us through a typical week of training.
I normally run somewhere around 90 miles a week. Thats made up mainly of easy runs with a track session on Tuesday, some fastish strides on a Thursday and another session on Saturday that could be track, tempo or occasionally hills. Mandatory long run on a Sunday

Do you have a special diet?
No. Just try to eat a well balanced diet

What was your build up to the BUCS 10,000m championships like?
I had to have some time off this winter so I started from quite a low point fitness wise at the beginning of the year. But since then, things have gone fairly smoothly.

Did you have any expectations coming into the race?
This is my first race in many months so didn’t have many expectations. Was just hoping I’d get to halfway feeling ok and then see what happens. I’d like to go for a Commonwealth Games qualifying time later on in the season and this was kind of about proving to myself that that goal isn’t completely unrealistic

Talk us through the race itself.
I have a history of going out too hard in 10ks and blowing up so given the disrupted winter I was hoping to run a sensible race to hit about 29 mins. I was fortunate to settle into a good group going about that pace and so got through the first 6-7k feeling alright despite windy conditions. The amazing thing about Highgate is how many people you know who are there, everyones shouts made it a lot easier.

What have you got planned next?
Its all a bit up in the air at the moment but will probably do a 5k next

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Luke and hopefully we can all learn a lot from how simple you make it sound to run stupidly fast!

Clare Maurer Wins Pole Vault GOLD at BUCS

The weekend of 29th April – 1st May marked ICXCAC’s representation at the 2017 BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships.


The third day of the Championships saw Imperial’s very own Clare Maurer clear 3.70m in the women’s pole vault final and bring home the title! Below is an interview with Clare following this incredible achievement:

How did you get into pole vault?
I used to do gymnastics when I was younger and after deciding to stop that my school sports teacher encouraged me to try pole vault as both sports have similar traits. So I decided to give it a go and have loved it ever since!

What was the build up to BUCS like training wise and otherwise?
Training before BUCS went really well and I was fresh back from warm weather training in Spain which was an ideal environment to prepare for the outdoor season (unfortunately the weather in Bedford was quite the opposite to sunny Spain!!)

What expectations did you have coming into the championship?
I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself but I knew training had been going great and I was in good form. I achieved a bronze medal at the indoor championship so I was looking to improve on this but I knew that the competition was going to be tough.

Take us through the whole experience of competing and how it felt to win.
Warm up went well, despite a downpour of rain and cold conditions, so I felt good going into the competition. I knew in a championship like this clearing heights first time was important and after successfully doing this for my opening height, 3.70m and 3.80m, I gave myself a really good chance of winning! I was really determined to clear 3.90 and just clipped the bar, so it wasn’t to be, but I had just been crowned BUCS champion and had achieved an outdoor PB so I was over the moon. It was also great to have support from my coach, team mate and imperial coaching team.

What are your goals going forward?
I’ve just been selected to represent British universities at the Loughborough international on 21st May so I’m really looking forward to that. I’m also hoping to compete at the British championships and jump over 4 metres.

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Find full results from the weekend here.