Tuesday, 14 November 2017

COLDER, TOUGHER, BETTER - SQUAD AND ACADEMY DIG INTO WINTER!

The days and nights are getting colder, and the training is getting tougher, but both the Trackspeed1-UK mainstream athletes and their Academy understudies are grafting away now with more PB's already predicted on the horizon!

The select few who currently populate the Academy are progressing well after an initial month of tutelage under Head Coach John Powell,and now with former Jamaican Junior International, Dean Hylton.  (Any new faces interested in theTS1-UK Academy - or mainstream squad - should email John Powell direct at trackspeed1@hotmail.com)

The main squad are well into their autumn programme now too, with a revised approach to winter by their coach already showing positive results.  Spectacular improvements by some of the squad during 2017 summer has set the bar high for 2018, and so John is eager to build on that success.

Ishmael Smith-John improved over 100m in 2017 from
11.12s to 10.79s. 'More to come in 2018' says his coach!
"The intensity of training is greater this time round," he explained, "and there is a greater thread of speed throughout the year.  We have also devised a strength and conditioning programme that integrates well with what everyone is doing on the track thanks in no small way to input from our S & C consultant, Mark Stanton.

"The Academy athletes are going well too.  We have a couple of really exciting prospects who could well form the next generation of Trackspeed1-UK graduates."

As the UK winter kicks in, coaching eyes are already on final preparations for summer though, with plans for the squad's annual trip to Florida in March/April now well under way.

"This trip is a key part of any athlete's preparation for summer," said John, "and this year we have been able to whittle the price down significantly, and hence I am very much hoping as many of the squad can travel as possible."

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

WINTER BECKONS AFTER ANOTHER USA TOUR

Trackspeed1-UK Head Coach, John Powell, is back in the UK after another hook-up with coaches in the USA prior to the squad returning for full-on winter training next week.

The highlight of John's visit in Los Angeles was his meeting with Quincy Watts and Joanna Hayes, both coaches at the University of Southern California.  Watts won the Olympic 400 metres title in 1992 (Barcelona) and Hayes the gold in Athens 2004 over 100 metres hurdles.

John Powell meets Quincy Watts and Joanna Hayes at USC
John with USC Head Coach for Track and Field,
Caryl Smith-Gilbert
"It was amazing to meet two such celebrated athletes turned coaches and to chat and see the facilities at USC," said John, who also visited the infamous University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

At UCLA, he mingled with some of the 50,000 students, and viewed more awesome facilities, with another priceless hook-up with new speed coach Curtis Allen.

The track and field facility at UCLA
"Both schools have amazing facilities and certainly nothing we could rival," said John," but there again  it is the USA, and their country is a little larger than ours, and in California they have the rather significant advantage of sunshine pretty much the year round!"

Trackspeed1-UK athletes are already into preparatory training at their Crystal Palace base, getting into shape for when their full winter programme kicks in next week.  They will be looking to elaborate on the outstanding personal bests in many cases set during the 2017 summer.

A new Academy of high school pupils added to existing numbers will also be eagerly engaging with their sights set on graduating to their senior counterparts in future years.

"We have a history of over 40 years of recruiting raw talent and seeing some of it emerge in later years at international level," said John, "and that is a tradition we are very proud of.  The Academy set-up now provides the opportunity for local young athletes to take advantage of a great training set-up - who knows what it may produce in the future."

The Academy training programme is devised and structured by John, with coaching delivery by former Jamaican Junior International, Dean Hylton, who is in his fifth year of training with the senior squad.

More images from John Powell's LA trip here...

UCLA shade the track relay boxes for
greater clarity in race meetings
A gigantic astroturf area next-door to the track provides an awesome
addition for athlete training away from the hard but very fast track surface
The track and field facility at USC

Two views of the strength and conditioning room at USC
A view of part of the strength and conditioning facility at UCLA



Monday, 24 July 2017

TRACKSPEED1-UK CLOSE TO ANOTHER SUPER SEASON

As the domestic season is soon to give way to the World Championships in London, Trackspeed1-UK are already reflecting on another hugely successful season for the majority of their athletes.
Trackspeed1-UK Head Coach John Powell (centre) welcomes members of the
Maldivian delegation, competing in next month's World Championships, at Crystal Palace.
As Head Coach John Powell hosted the Maldivian sprinter Hassan Saaid and coach Ahmed Faail at Crystal Palace ahead of the global event next month, many of his squad were signing off their competitive season on a high.

The Loughborough European Athletics Permit meet on Sunday (22nd) saw Ishmael Smith-John crack the 11-second mark for the third time with a 10.92s sprint in cold and rain, while Cameron Starr's 10.82 was a likewise solid performance given that the English summer had abandoned the meeting!

Dean Hylton, whose year had seen him run faster than ever before came to a close at the British League event a week ago, while David Bolarinwa clocked a healthy 10.51 at the Loughborough meet, and is now looking ahead to a race in the Olympic Stadium on August 2nd before his final couple of meetings later in the month.

Brandon Murray was the first athlete to make a huge breakthrough taking his lifetime best down from 11.12 to 10.71, with training partner Ishmael Smith-John following suit, annihilating his previous fastest 100m of 11.14s with a 10.79s effort at a Rochester open meeting earlier this month.
Ishmael Smith-John - in the form of his life this summer!
Early season also took 400m sprinter Niclas Baker into new territory with a 47.05m run in the USA, while newcomer Reon Wade took to the track for the first time at Newham in early July and clocked a shock 11.05s on the back of very little preparation, earning him the label of 'surprise package' for 2018!

"We may not have anyone at the World Championships," commented John Powell, "but we have had some really significant breakthroughs this year, which have lined up a potentially very high standard for 2018.  I really believe we have a few guys this year who could be turning heads next!"

Monday, 10 July 2017

ISHMAEL SHATTERS HIS LIFETIME FASTEST!

Yet another lifetime best mark has been annihilated by a trackspeed1-UK sprinter - this time it was the turn of Ishmael Smith-John to produce not one, but the two fastest 100 metre sprints of his life at the weekend.
Ishmael Smith-John's PB at the weekend moves him to
within 8 places of the top 100 sprinters in the UK for 2017!
The 21-year-old Blackheath and Bromley AC athlete began the year with a 2016 best ever of 11.12 seconds, but at the Medway track in Rochester on Sunday all of that changed

First he cracked the infamous 11-second barrier with a wind-legal 10.92s, but then in the second round of the open meeting, he switched on the after-burners up the home straight to record another wind-legal time - this time of 10.79 seconds.

Ishmael - one of Trackspeed1-UK's most dedicated and hard-working athletes, having barely missed a training session since he joined the group back in 2014 - now rates as one of the most improved sprinters in the country at this level, with a host of new opportunities now available as a result.

When he began with the Crystal Palace-based training group he had a recorded best of 11.32s over 100m, but improved that pretty quickly to 11.17 in 2015, albeit levelling out a little in 2016 with a slightly improved 11.12s.  2017, however, has launched him into a different stratosphere of sprinting.

"I'm looking to compete in the European Athletics Permit meeting at Loughborough in a couple of weeks now I have the entry standard," he said after his achievement on Sunday, and coach John Powell endorsed his athletes new pitch:

"These were outstanding performances by Ishmael," he said, "and it is only right that he takes advantage of some good quality races now - not necessarily to set more new PB's, although we obviously hope he does, but to gain more experience of running at this level and above."

Ishmael joins training partner Brandon Murray as another hugely improved athlete this year, having moved his best 100m time down from 11.16s to 10.71s this year.

Meanwhile, their coach is doing his bit to add to the Trackspeed1-UK list of 2017 achievements, having been asked to act as team coach for the South of England Junior team competing in the home international in Cardiff on Wednesday (12th July).

Sunday, 2 July 2017

HYLTON'S BREAKTHROUGH SEASON

Trackspeed1-UK sprinter Dean Hylton is enjoying his most successful season yet in his illustrious if a little turbulent track career.
Dean Hylton at Newham after he destroyed the opposition
to record a lifetime's fastest 21.29s over 200 metres.
Running at Newham Leisure Centre on Sunday he destroyed his lifetime's best 200 metres time with a 21.29 second run (wind speed +2.0m/s) that obliterated the opposition.. And that came after a thoroughly decent 10.60 100m sprint a couple of hours earlier.

Hylton, a former Jamaican Junior International, has struggled to find his form the last couple of seasons, and has suffered his fair share of injuries, but 2017 has seen the breakthrough he has threatened for so long, and he is confident there is more to come.

"I could have run faster in the 200m at Newham," he said, "but I haven't run any 200's this year and I'm a bit rusty.  The 100 has been better this year too though, so I am slowly getting it together."

Dean levelled with his fastest ever 100m a week ago with a 10.56 effort at Lee Valley, but already has one eye on next year, with clearance to apply for a British passport expected this Autumn.

Yet again this summer, Trackspeed1-UK athletes have been bus setting personal best times in the sprints, and most now have improved on their 2016 marks.  The newest name to the squad, Reon Wade, wasn't planning to run this year having done very little fitness work, but after impressing his coach in training he was persuaded to run at Newham.

He duly obliged with a lifetime's fastest 11.05 seconds over 100m, having had no blocks practice and precious little technical work.  It was a performance that underlined coach John Powell's aspirations for him in 2018.

"Reon is going to be a real talent if he puts the work in over winter," said John, "and I have every confidence he will turn a few heads next year over both 100 and 200 metres."

Meanwhile in Birmingham, David Bolarinwa was contesting the 100 metres at the British Championships, and ran well to reach the semi-finals.  He clocked 10.56s in the heats, and 10.50 in the semi's, finishing 6th in the latter in an extraordinary race containing ten athletes.

"David is work in progress," said John Powell.  "He proved his worth a few weeks ago with a windy 10.29s 100m at Lee Valley, and as long as he sticks with it, he can easily surpass the lifetime best wind legal 10.29 he set several years ago."

With no sponsor to prop the group up the squad's competitive agenda has been restricted to the UK and mostly London-based competitions, but that is not preventing a capable group of sprinters improve steadily through the summer.

One of the most spectacular improvements on 2016 is Brandon Murray, who has taken his 100m time down from 11.1 to 10.7 this season, although his hamstring strain in a race surely destined to beat even that mark at Lee Valley 10 days ago, will mean he has to wait a little longer before he has the chance to edge in to the 10.6's!


Monday, 15 May 2017

WIND-UP OF THE YEAR!

The link below is to Channel 4's catch-up page for the "Britain Today Tonight" programme aired on Friday May 12th, 2017.

It features Trackspeed1-UK athletes who thought they were visiting a guest Russian physiotherapist.

The truth could not have been more different!

A hilarious outcome courtesy of the production team in association with TS1 head coach John Powell!

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britain-today-tonight/on-demand/60696-003

Or simply play this...




Sunday, 14 May 2017

HONOURS SHARED!

It was a blanket finish, the clock didn't stop, and they had to wait an hour for the final result, but Dean Hylton and Brandon Murray both ended medal winners after a thrilling Surrey County 100m senior men's 100 metres final!
Dean Hylton (12) on his way to gold, and Brandon Murray (17) bronze,
in the Surrey County AA 100m senior men's 100m final at Kingston
Blackheath and Bromley's Hylton edged over the line ahead of Herne Hill's Marvin Popoola, with Murray hooked onto their shirt tails.  All three men clocked 10.9 seconds according to the manual timekeepers stacked above the finish line.

Winds have been the curse of early season competitions for Trackspeed1-UK athletes, and the sprints at Kingston's Kingsmeadow stadium were no different.  Wind speeds fluctuated but all the sprints faced a headwind of anything up to and beyond 3 metres per second.
Trackspeed1-UK sprinters Dean Hylton and Brandon
Murray on the medal rostrum in Kingston
With most other squad athletes still recovering from traveling back across the Atlantic from their pre-season training camp barely a week earlier, County duty featured few of the Crystal  Palace-based group.

Calvin Kirstein was outside the medals in the Sussex 100m final in fourth, but was involved in a gold medal performance in the 4x100m relay, where his Eastbourne Rovers quartet set a new club record.  Ishmael Smith-John won silver in the Kent 200m at Ashford despite a gale blowing him backwards in the final.

Twenty-four hours before Hylton and Murray took to the tartan in Kingston, Trackspeed-UK's Cameron Starr took silver in the 200m senior men's final clocking 21.99s amid another swirling wind.  Niclas Baker took bronze in the Middlesex 200m final at Lee Valley - again into a huge headwind - with training partner Jerome Lule in fifth to make it six medals out of eight performances for the squad over the weekend.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

SQUAD'S FINAL TUNE-UP STATESIDE

Trackspeed1-UK athletes fly back to the UK this weekend after their final pre-season tune-up, at their annual training camp at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida
Trackspeed1-UK's squad in Florida this year including strength
and conditioning assistant, Mark Stanton (far right), and top
British physiotherapist Dr John Allen (second from left)
Already announced by head coach John Powell as another huge step toward a great 2017 summer season, many of their number will be returning with new lifetime best performances already after competing in the two track meetings in Clermont and Gainesville last month.

It will have been the eighteenth annual training camp John Powell will have led in the US, some of the earlier years having been based at the Disney facility (now run by ESPN) near Orlando.

"The National Training Center (NTC) offers everything we could wish for," said John.  "It has been very popular this year with British, German and Canadian national teams also working out there, along with a number of independent groups, not least local American Olympians and internationals.

"Sessions are always very well coordinated though, and shared usage of the outstanding weight room and cardio facilities, never mind the track, is always very well organised.  Generally speaking I don't like crowded tracks, but here it simply isn't a problem, we are always well looked after."
Trackspeed1-UK athletes in training at Clermont (above & below)
under the watchful eye of John Powell

An added bonus for two of Trackspeed1-UK's number was a blocks session this week under the watchful eye of leading US sprints coach, Lance Brauman, and amid his world class squad of athletes.  David Bolarinwa and Cameron Starr gave more than a good account of themselves against some of the best.

"I have no qualms with athletes dipping into another coach's session like that," said John who eagerly scrutinised the session himself.  "In fact giving up an opportunity to work with a group like that would be positively criminal - and in any case, another set of coaching eyes is always welcome at this stage."
Top American sprints coach Lance Brauman supervises
as David Bolarinwa gets set to impress (above),
while Cameron Starr gets some one-on-one attention (below)

Early competitions for Trackspeed1-UK back on UK soil will feature the County Championships in 10 days' time, the Loughborough International, and other local invitation meetings.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

BAKER LAPS IT UP AS PB's CONTINUE TO FALL

Niclas Baker capped the best start to the season of his life with a huge personal best 400m run in the Tom Jones Memorial meeting, in Gainesville, Florida.
Niclas Baker (2272) heads for hime in the 400m Stateside
Despite windy conditions he swept round the University of Florida track to win his heat in 47.05 seconds - almost half a second faster than the lifetime's fastest mark set last year of 47.41s.

It came a fortnight after a very impressive, albeit very windy, 20.89s (+5.9m/s) 200m sprint in Clermont, and sets him up for a great summer season that will see him competing both at home and on European soil.

It was another very solid day at the office for Trackspeed1-UK athletes, most of whom sent existing lifetime best marks into the history books.  Cameron Starr showed the form that has promised on the training track with two of the fastest sprints of his life.
Cameron Starr (2277) on his way to his fastest ever 100m sprint
in Gainesville, Florida
In the 100m, a breeze slightly over the legal limit at 2.7m/s saw him cross the line in 10.69 seconds - his fastest ever recorded time for the event.  Better was to come in the 200m though, when he dismissed his 22.08s best mark for 200m with a 21.87 wind-legal run with the breeze measured at +1.4m/s.

"Cameron's 200m best time was a farce, and will undoubtedly be lowered still further this year," commented coach John Powell, "and his 100m performances will improve as we increasingly shake hands with speed work in training.

"Niclas's performance was little surprise as we have known for some time that he is a serious talent over 400m, and the various components of his race are gradually coming together.

"Athletes always seek instant success at these meetings, and when it doesn't always materialise they panic, but it's only April, and their training programme is not designed to see them peak the minute they hit the track.  There are far more important meetings further own the line in June and July.

"That said, it was very pleasing to see how most of the squad executed their races, with most shaving a little bit off their best times.  Solid runs at this stage are always good for confidence as we return to the UK in a week, and engage with the busy domestic programme as well as some meetings on the continent."

Further lifetime best marks were set by Blackheath and Bromley athlete Ishmael Smith-John, who clocked 22.12s over 200m - his second improvement this year already, while Chaka Maillet shaved a tiny fraction off his 22.56s best with a 22.53s run. Suffering from a sporadic achilles tendon complaint, and having missed much of the pre-camp training, this was a significant performance for him.

Elsewhere, Rhys Francis came to within the thickness of his vest of setting a 100m PB, timing 11.15s against his 11.14 best with a legal wind of +1.8m/s, while Brandon Murray underlined his dramatic improvement 2 weeks earlier with another 10.71s 100m dash, albeit helped by a slightly over-the-limit 2.7m/s breeze.  His previous 10.71 effort had been just legal with a reading off +2.0.
Rhys Francis en route to one of his fastest ever 100m
Finally, David Bolarinwa was far from satisfied with his wind legal 10.57s 100m performance, but as a former multiple Euro-Juniors medalist and with a wealth of international experience behind him, that mark is unlikely to remain in the record books for very long.

"It was a very good day at the office," concluded John Powell, " and as long as the UK weather doesn't misbehave this summer, its looking like a really good season ahead."

Talking tactics!  John Powell discusses race planning  in the hugely
impressive air-conditioned indoor football pitch used on this occasion
as the athlete warm-up area at the University of Florida!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

LIFETIME BESTS SHATTERED AGAIN!

Trackspeed1-UK sprinters enjoyed a spectacular opening to their competitive 2017 summer season with several lifetime best marks shattered in a meeting in Clermont, Florida.
Brandon Murray(right) is all smiles as he reflects
on his fastest ever 100m at Clermont, Florida
Nearly all the performances at the meet, held at their training base at the National Triathlon Training Centre, were assisted by a strong breeze but, even ignoring that, several times were well within previous personal bests.

Arguably the leading performance of the day was 19-year-old Brandon Murray.  Having joined the squad 2 years ago with a lifetime's fastest 100 metres of 11.37, he lowered that in 2016 to 11.16, but at Clermont sent that into oblivion with a 10.71 second sprint aided by one of the only legal tail winds of the day measured at 2.0m/s.

It was of course mixed with an element of luck that the wind gauge stopped on the absolute limit for legal times, but it was a performance that easily outshone any other in the 19-year-old South London Harrier's 4-year track career.

It was a close call for the top squad performer of the day though, with Niclas Baker tearing up the home straight to record a sensational 20.89s 200m run, albeit assisted by a mini-gale recorded at 5.9m/s.  It still easily outshone his previous 21.61 best, and was assessed by coach John Powell as potentially faster:
Niclas  Baker on his way to a sensational sub-21-second 200m,
annihilating his previous lifetime best for the distance!
"Nic didn't really get hold of the bend, and only switched on the after-burners in the straight.  It was a very classy run despite the wind, especially as he had run a 48.81 400 meters 3 hours or so earlier," he explained.
It's real!  Confirmation of Nic's super 200m run!
Another Trackspeed1-UK athlete in the form of his life was Cameron Starr, who clocked 10.71s for the 100m aided by a 3.6m/s tail wind - the second fastest time of his life behind his best 10.70, but in the 200m he timed 21.69s to win his heat despite nearly falling 10 strides into the race.  His heat winning time destroyed his previous best of 22.08s, and was another run that was easily inside his best with or without the wind.

Rhys Francis, 18, from Cambridge Harriers, began the day with a 11.14s personal best, but was blown to 10.98s at Clermont with a 4.1m/s tail wind.  In the 200m his form was even better with a 22.92s run, dispelling his previous best 23.59s with a 4.2m/s tail wind.  His 200m was surrounded in controversy though as he finished 2 metres ahead of second place in his race, yet was recorded at the same time as second place.  With the backside clock stopping at 22.8 it is likely his mark was in reality yet faster!
Rhys Francis on his way to a lifetime best 200m
Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Jerome Lule was knocked for six when news reached him of the tragic passing of his grandmother after arriving in the US, making all the more creditable his focus in training, and eventual personal best 200m at Clermont.

Jerome timed 22.96 with a 3.7m/s tail wind, having started the day with a 23.17s best mark.  John Powell commented:

"Jerome didn't take the news well, but has knuckled down in training to produce some excellent sessions.  Wind or no wind he is clearly in the form of his life, and will doubtless do his Grand Mother proud this summer.
Jerome Lule set a wind-assisted best ever 200m
"Overall I was delighted with everyone's showing at Clermont though.  It was a pity the wind confused results a little, but there is always a bit of pressure around an athlete's opening race.  It has been another long winter and everyone is always anxious to see where they are at on day one."

Trackspeed1-UK return to the same track this week to continue their training programme, with the next competition scheduled for Friday 28th April in Gainesville for the elite Tim Jones Memorial meet.  At least five athletes will compete on a traditionally fast track, with another week of training to follow before the group return to the UK.
Cameron Starr (red shirt) was in the form of his life at Clermont