“One of the best weekends of my life” is how Exeter Harriers’ Rebecca Chapman describes her weekend in Sheffield competing for Cardiff Metropolitan University at the British Universities and Colleges Championships (BUCS) where she scooped three medals. “I came away with gold, silver and bronze and I’m so happy that all the hard work is finally paying off.”
Chapman, former English Schools’ long jump champion, was entered for her strongest event but also took part in the 60m sprint and was determined to better her run from last year when she narrowly missed out on a place in the final. “My aim for the 60 was to make the final, I just wanted to get there and earn the team some points, and get my legs working by having a run-out before the long jump.” It was a busy day for Chapman, with heats, semi and the final all in the same day. A comfortable win in her heat with 7.69 took her through to the semi-final. “It was a scrappy first run but I felt really good after. However I’ve never been more nervous lining up against full time sprinters in the semi, but my aim was still just to qualify for the final.” Chapman was shocked to win her semi with a suburb new lifetime best of 7.56. “I wasn’t expecting to win especially in a time like that. When it came to the final I saw the line-up and it was loaded but I genuinely believed after my semi that I could medal if I got out. I have no drive phase so I had to rely on my pick-up and upright running and it all came together.” First and second athletes across the line were easy to define but with a blanket finish for the remaining places Chapman was ecstatic to learn she had snatched the bronze with 7.63.
The following day Chapman’s focus was on the long jump qualifying rounds, and her opening leap of 5.89 was enough to secure her place in the final. “My coach wanted me to rest as much as possible for the final. I opened with 5.89 and we knew that would be enough so I pulled out then.
The final was amazing. To open with 6.06 set me up really nicely and to follow that with 6.07 was incredible.” Chapman’s next couple of jumps were in the 5.90’s from behind the board. “I was a little disappointed that I didn’t jump further because I knew there is so much more there.” Beaten only by Jade Nimmo of Edinburgh Napier University with 6.15, Chapman was delighted to claim the silver.
Chapman’s busy weekend continued with the 4×200 relay, running the second leg, and with the Loughborough University team disqualified in the final the Cardiff Metropolitan team were successful in claiming the gold.
Owen Walpole (Edinburgh) successfully reached the final of the 1500. Clocking 4:06.1 for third place in his heat Walpole went on to run 3:59.53 for fourth place in the semi-final, and finished in ninth place in the final with 4:10.63.
Alec Crowter (Sheffield Hallam) reached the semi-finals of the 200 with fifth place in a time of 23.61, having clocked 23.17 for second place in his heat.
Emily Weeks (Sheffield) also reached the semi-finals of the 800 with fifth place in 2:16.75 having clocked 2:15.2 for second place in the heats.
Rebecca Jones (Exeter) clocked 8.38 for sixth place in heats of the 60 and 26.73 for fourth place in the heats of the 200. Anna Rust (Bedfordshire) was ninth in her heat of the 3000 with 11:49.9 after being told that morning that the doctor thought her arm was fractured, as a result of falling on a training run. Josh Tunstall (Southampton Solent) recorded 5.97 in the long jump for ninth place in the qualifying rounds.