UoN Athletics take spoils on Varsity debut

UoN Athletics enjoyed a near perfect afternoon on their first appearance as a Varsity sport on Saturday, dominating proceedings as the Green and Gold reinforced their advantage in the first set of ‘Super Wednesday’ sports. 10 victories over the 11 track races were just reward for a great effort on a cold and wet day at Harvey Hadden Stadium in Bilborough, with UoN athletes producing outstanding performances in many races.

The afternoon began with the 400 metres, where a thrilling men’s race saw Nottingham Trent take an early lead that gave them a comfortable lead on the back straight before some good work from the UoN athlete hauled in the race leader to take the victory on the line. In the women’s event, the Green and Gold were able to make much easier work of the contest, taking a comfortable victory in a two person race to begin a successful afternoon. The action then moved to the middle-distance event of the 800 metres. In the men’s race, UoN faced a tough challenge from Trent in the early stages before being able to kick away on the second lap to claim a confident win, whilst runners in the Green and Gold dominated the women’s race, taking the top four finishes.

Next up was the 100 metres, where UoN continued to produce assured runs. The winning streak continued in the men’s event, taking both victories although the first was a closer affair after a UoN athlete pulled up whilst leading the event at the fifty metre mark. The women’s race saw one of the performances of the day, with Hayley Mills, a bronze medalist in the relay team that won bronze for Great Britain in the 2013 World Championships, producing a blisteringly quick run to win with ease ahead of the competition from Trent and gain the appreciation of the crowd at Harvey Hadden Stadium for a sensational run.

In the long distance race of the 5000 metres, competitors in Green and Gold dominated the field, with 22 of the 25 runners representing UoN. That proved to be a decisive advantage for the team, with the runners working well together to up the pace in the opening laps to string out the field before the pace lessened by the middle part of the race. The pace picked up again in the closing laps to see UoN home and complete a successful tactical race that continued a good afternoon’s running.

The day’s action closed out with two different forms of relay races. In the more traditional 4x100m format, UoN men’s teams took 1st and 3rd place, with the winning team needing to produce a strong run to see off a good challenge by the team from Nottingham Trent. In the women’s race, Mills was once again able to make her experience and pace tell as she set the team on its way to a comfortable victory with a storming opening leg that was built on by good runs from the rest of the runners.

In the less traditional format of the Distance Medley Relay, the UoN team had a tougher time, with teams from Nottingham Trent taking leading positions in the opening stages. The leading team in Green and Gold was able to make up the gap during the race, but Trent came back well in the final lap to take an impressive victory and deny UoN a clean sweep of the day’s events. Despite that final defeat, UoN Athletics will be more than pleased with their Varsity debut, taking a comprehensive victory on the track that continues the brilliant start UoN have made to this year’s Varsity series.

Alex Riggs

Images courtesy of UoN Sport (

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