Exeter Harriers’ talented young mult-eventer Sam Talbot took the silver medal at the National Combined Events Championships in Stoke, breaking new ground with the range of events involved. 14 year old Talbot’s age group usually compete in the one-day Pentathlon but England Athletics have taken things one step further by introducing the athletes to different events before they move up to the next age group. The National Championships for Sam’s age group is now an Octathlon over two days, with javelin, discus, pole vault, 100, 400 and 1000 added and excluding the long jump, shot and 800.
The first event brought a pb in the 100 for Talbot with a time of 11.68, just three one hundredths of a second behind main contender Max Price of Stevenage & North Herts.
Talbot’s solid 1.71 high jump was no match to Price’s 1.89 and left the Harrier trailing by some 160 points, but a superb 400 of 54.31 brought his score back up to within 3 points of Price. Day one concluded with Talbot’s 29.61 javelin leaving him trailing the leader by 44 points.
Day two started with a competitive 80m hurdles which saw Talbot clinch the fastest time with 11.42 to Price’s 11.54 despite Talbot hitting several hurdles hard. Talbot’s discus throw of 24.51 fell some 6m short of Price’s and his pole vault of 2.45 was also 50cm short of the leader and left Talbot with too much to make up in the 1000m. Despite this Talbot gave it his all in the final event, finishing 13 secs ahead of Price and ultimately, following a superb all-round performance over the two days, 147 points short of the leader Price took the title with 4274 points, Talbot the silver with 4127 and Benjamin Burton of Cardiff taking the bronze with 3524 points.. “I was pleased to get silver as I have only been training for javelin, discus and pole vault for three weeks” said Talbot, ” the 400 and 100 were also new to me and I was pleased with my 400 time.”
Talbot and Price will meet again at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships in Birmingham in mid September, where the Exeter Harrier is determined to come out on top.