At the end of Chichester Runners’ most successful season ever in the National Junior League for under-20s, the club have no fewer than three squad members in the UK decathlon top 20 for the age group.
They’re the only club in the UK to have more than a single athlete in the list.
Both Charlie Roe and Jamie Moore have come through Chichester’s junior teams from under-13 level while Horsham-based Matt Baker has been part of the club’s under-20 team for the past three seasons.
While Roe and Baker, both university students, will go into the under-23 ranks next season, Regis School sixth-former Moore will have another year to improve his ranking.
Baker led the three nationally in tenth place with 6,145 points with Roe one place back in 11th with 6,126. Moore, in his first season in the decathlon, was an excellent 16th with 5,599 points.
From his early years a talented long jumper, Roe has made great strides across all disciplines and now rates an 11.67sec 100m and a 51.42 clocking for the 400m among his strongest events.
A 45m best in the javelin ranks him at the top of the club rankings for 2011 and gives him valuable points in a supposedly weaker event. At the end of competition Roe can call on his cross-country background to run close to 4min 30sec for the 1,500m and finish the gruelling ten events in fine style.
Moore started his athletics career as a middle-distance runner aged 12.
What has propelled Moore to the forefront of the athletics scene in recent years has been the pole vault, where his club record mark of 4.10m was only just short of making the national rankings in its own right.
Like Roe, Moore has improved his all-round strength and speed with an 11.65 in the 100m, also assisting in good jumping marks as well as much improvement in the throws.
Moore has the consolation of knowing he will always make headway over the final 1,500m and improve his standing over the field.
Bath University student Baker has always made a flying start in the hurdles and been more than proficient in the jumps but has also addressed his lesser events and become a useful thrower.
He has used his speed and endurance over the strength-sapping 400m to be part of Chichester’s record-breaking 4x400m relay team.
Meanwhile, in the third and final race of their autumn cross-country promotions, Chichester Runners play host to some of the best athletes in the south of England in the Hampshire Cross Country League this Saturday at Goodwood.
With clubs from five counties in the south, the standard of the league is always one of the fiercest in the country and should give Chichester’s athletes an idea of how they will fare when area and national competitions take place after Christmas.
Olympic hopefuls Stephanie Twell and Charlotte Purdue will probably be missing as they form part of the GB elite squad and have one of their Kenyan-based altitude training camps.
However, many of their Aldershot team-mates will line up as national champions alongside local athletes. James Baker’s recent good form should see him give a good account of himself in the competitive senior men’s race while Chichester’s senior women will look to reproduce their fine team showing in the Sussex League at the same venue at the end of October.
Chichester athletes will have an extra incentive to succeed as their own club championships will be held in conjunction with the race.
The programme starts with the under-13 girls’ race at midday and finishes with the senior men at 2.30pm.
Entry to the course is free and spectators are welcome. Coverage follows in next week’s paper.