Monday, 14 May 2018

COUNTY DOUBLE FIRES UP SPRINT DUO

Trackspeed1-UK sprinters opened their championship campaign for 2018 with a sensational one-two in the Surrey County 100m final, securing both Gold and Silver in a hotly contested event at Kings Meadow, Kingston on Sunday (13th May).

Dean Hylton (6) and Cameron Starr (13) on their way to an
impressive County one-two at the Surrey Championships.
Dean Hylton was no stranger to the county rostrum, having won bronze, three silvers and now two golds over recent years, but he had to fight to retain his title from last year with training partner Cameron Starr hot on his heels.

In the heats both athletes cruised through to qualify, winning heats in each case comfortable ahead of all the opposition.

In the final, Starr was the sharper out of the blocks, and was leading after 60 metres, but Hylton switched on the after-burners to overtake and win the title by just under a tenth of a second.

Dean and Cameron receive their medals alongside
third-placed Tremayne Gilling
It marked a perfect opener for two of Trackspeed1-UK's most talented athletes and, although times were not the fastest they have ever posted, it lined them up nicely for their next outing at the annual Loughborough International next Sunday (20th May).

Trackspeed1-UK Head Coach, John Powell, was pleased with the outcome with both athletes recording times far faster than their opening campaign 12 months earlier.  Hylton clocked 10.72s, while Starr recorded 10.80, both faced with a slight headwind.

"It's always nice to kick things off in the summer with winning performances," said John, "and a County one-two, especially in Surrey, is no mean achievement.  I would fully expect both Dean and Cameron to improve now as the season progresses, and I'm really looking forward to seeing quite a few of the group in action now.

"As always, we've had a challenging winter at times with the weather curtailing some sessions, but we still have athletes in pretty good shape, and they are ready to roll over the next couple of weeks."

The squad have athletes in action at the open meeting at Lee Valley this Wednesday (May 16th), and Brandon Murray joins Hylton and Starr at the Loughborough international event on Sunday.

It's all smiles as Head Coach John Powell congratulates his two medalists 

Saturday, 28 April 2018

JEROME TRIUMPHS IN ONE-LAP DEBUT

Trackspeed1-UK sprinter Jerome Lule emerged triumphant after his first ever competitive 400 metres in Clermont, Florida, today with a time that was surely a statement of intent for the future!

The 21-year-old Shaftesbury Harrier clocked 50.56 seconds to win his round of the event Stateside, confirming what his coach had been saying the whole trip  that this was to ultimately be his main event!

Cross-winds made the going far from easy, but despite his vast lack of experience over the longer sprint, Lule judged the pace well, and finished strongly to hold off the opposition.
Trackspeed1-UK's Jerome Lule (centre) wins his first ever
400m race in Clermont, clocking 50.56s.
"I was pleased with the way it went," said the athlete after the event, " but  know now I can go well inside 50 seconds.  John told me I ran wide in my lane on the first bend, and it was really hard work with the wind blowing you all over the place."

It was the season's opener for the squad after they pulled out of the earlier meeting at Gainesville.  Sprint times were down, illustrated by the fact that one of the world's fastest men, Tyson Gay, ran only 10.28s, and the visiting German National team couldn't produce anything faster than 10.48.

"The wind was across and hence the readings, plus or minus, couldn't be totally reliable," said John.  I was expecting faster of our guys - my timing isn't that far out, and marks were way faster in our time trials two weeks ago.

"This was only the first meet of the year though, and from that you simply need to learn from your performance what you can, then put it away and move on.  There is zero doubt that there is way more to come from these lads, and they will need to be patient until the season is properly under way."

Reon Gowan-Wade ran his first competitive 200 metres since a young teen, clocking a creditable 22.42 seconds, while James Kasiriye-Sebalu was just outside his best with 22.67s.
Reon Gowan-Wade (2nd from right) on way to a lifetime best 200 metres

In the 100m Brandon Murray was the unluckiest of the bunch with a recorded -2.2m/s headwind, yet he still posted 10.89s.
Brandon Murray (142) clocked 10.89 in the 100m
"Lots to be encouraged by, and some aspects to learn from," concluded John, "which isn't a bad place to be at this stage of the year."

Trackspeed1-UK's pre-season Stateside camp draws to  its conclusion at the end of this next week when all return to the UK to engage with the outdoor season proper.

Friday, 13 April 2018

LIFETIME BESTS SHATTERED IN EARLY TRIALS

Trackspeed1-UK held their own early season time trials today in the Florida sunshine of their pre-season training camp in Clermont -  and every athlete promptly shattered previous best ever marks over 60m, 100m, 200m or 400m  sprints.

It was an impressive day's work which succeeded in kicking well into touch most of head coach John Powell's predictions as previous best recorded marks were rubbished by every member of the squad.

It is true that times were wind assisted, and it is true that all times were unofficial, but even allowing for these variables, performances featured some really good top end sprinting.

Possibly the most impressive was 20-year-old Croydon man, Brandon Murray, who had only ever run over 23 seconds for the 200 metres.  Hence his 20.98 seconds around half a lap was nothing short of stunning.  This after another huge PB of 10.41 in a 100m contest with training partner Cameron Starr.
Brandon Murray smashed PB's over 200m,
100m and 60m in squad trials.
Welsh international, Starr, has been promising much this season with some classy training sessions both back in the UK and more recently Stateside, but even he could not have predicted 10.28s even allowing for the following wind and a possibly marginally generous timekeeper!
Welsh international Cameron Starr hit impressive form
over 100m Stateside.
Next up came 21-year-old Shaftesbury Harrier Jerome Lule.  Assessed for a long time by his coach as a budding 400m athlete, his track record to date was solely over 100m and 200m.  After his first attempt at the one-lap sprint even he had to admit it might be his future with a very solid 50.88 second effort.

Trackspeed1-UK have a pretty impressive set-up this year with 2012 Olympics medical lead John Allen providing physio' support, Mark Stanton strength and conditioning coordination, Alex Starr offering nutrition advice, plus Bukola Woodburne Dyer as massage therapist.  All this alongside the still active international partnerships developed over the years in America and Australia.

"After a period that has seen the squad a little in the wilderness, there are some exciting plans for the future now," said John Powell.  We have a potential set-up that will have alot to offer athletes over the coming season and next winter's training programme."

Meanwhile, back at their Florida base, Daryl Thomas trashed his 2015 200m best of over 23 seconds with a 22.13 second effort, while Reon Gowan-Wade established a solid opening 200m of 21.78 seconds.

"All these times come with a huge health warning," said John, "but they aren't so far out as to say that they weren't all PB's, because they were all so far inside previous best marks.  It was the best possible start to the 2018 outdoor season and a great consolation for not competing at the annual meet in Gainesville where prohibitive entry fees proved a step too far on top of a two and a half hour drive."

Trackspeed1-UK will open their formal competitive programme now at their training base in Clermont where there is an open meeting on Saturday April 28th.

Trackspeed1-UK squad therapist
Bukola Woodburne-Dyer helps Reon
Gowan-Wade on the road to recovery
after the group's trials efforts 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

STATESIDE PREP LOOKING CLASSY ALREADY

Trackspeed1-UK athletes are already beginning to produce signs that 2018 could be their year, as they put together some classy training workouts in the United States.

Based at their annual pre-season camp at the National Training Centre (NTC) in Clermont, Florida, the dramatic change in climate from the chaotic British winter seems to have worked already as a strong motivator.

Conditions at the NTC are not even closely matched to the squad's London home at Crystal Palace and, combined with sunshine, 80-degrees, and six-star facilities, their new, albeit temporary, home seems to have proved inspirational.
Trackspeed1-UK Head Coach John Powell reviews one of the squad's
early sessions with sprinter Reon Gowan-Wade
"We don't have the whole squad out here this year," said Head Coach, John Powell, "as trips like this do not come cheap.  We are lucky enough to have four sponsors who are supporting us, or we would still be huddled in a corner of the indoor track at Crystal Palace.

"There is a huge imbalance in our sport now," he continued.  "The elite end of athletics have pretty much whatever they need both financially, in facilities, coaching expertise and support services, and the gap between them and the rest is not getting any smaller.

That said, we are above a huge majority of UK athletes in having this opportunity not only to train here pre-season, but also to learn from the world class company that train here already."

The squad's base in Clermont is home to some of the United States' most accomplished athletes, not least the second fastest man of all time, Tyson Gay.

"That in itself is a huge motivator," added John.  "Today we met the team manager and lead coach from Equador who had a couple of their elite athletes training here, including a London Olympic finalist.  The mutual learning opportunities are amazing.

"We are also exceptionally lucky to have additional expertise as part of our party, not least Dr John Allen, one of the most experienced physiotherapists in the United Kingdom.  Add to that the Strength and Conditioning / Nutrition advice of squad consultant Mark Stanton, and the services of Sports Therapist Bukola Woodburne-Dyer, and it's a pretty impressive set-up this year!"

Reon and training partner Welsh International Cameron Starr
in action during an early session in Clermont.
Trackspeed1-UK athletes open their 2018 outdoor account next Friday 13th April when they travel north to Gainesville for the Tom Jones Memorial meet, held at the University of Florida track - a notoriously fast surface that could see some fast early times produced.

Friday, 9 March 2018

WARMING UP NICELY FOR SUMMER!

The temperature may still be single figures out there, but Trackspeed1-UK athletes are warming up nicely for summer.

Their winter training programme, reshaped on previous years, is beginning to show some very positive signs, according to head coach John Powell, as sessions wind down from the intensity of winter toward the speed-based foundations preparing for summer.

Although quiet on the news front, the squad have been working hard at Crystal Palace, with John doubling in his role as chairman of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, a stakeholder group fighting to preserve facilities in the long term at the sports centre he has coached at now for over 42 years.

Trackspeed1-UK Head Coach John Powell talks
to the BBC about the future of Crystal Palace
- his coaching base for over four decades.
(To be broadcast BBC London News, April)
Many of the squad will be traveling Stateside at the end of this month to attend their annual warm weather training camp in Clermont, Florida, where athletes are guaranteed top notch facilities in a climate far more reliable and appropriate to sprinting than the UK.

"It's a great facility at the National Training Centre in Clermont," said John, "and together with the excellent climate it always represents a golden opportunity for athletes to focus on themselves as athletes 24/7 while they are there, and really put in some top class sessions that prepare them ideally for the coming summer season."

The squad will compete in two meetings while in Florida, one based at their training venue in Clermont, and the other at the University of Florida track in Gainesville.

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!