Paddock Wood Startrack 2023

Paddock Wood AC hosted their Startrack Athletics week, held at their track at Puntland’s leisure centre. They have been holding the event for over 32 years. Over 45 children with ages ranging from 6 to 15 years took part. Each day they had to chance to try all of the athletics events including high jump, hammer and javelin. On Thursday the children were divided into 3 teams named this year from cities which have hosted or are going to host the Olympic Games Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris. Each child then competed in a run, jump and throw to earn points for their team. On Friday afternoon teams went head to head in an obstacle relay to add to the scores. Individual winners were Oliver Denton who scored 69 points wining the boys 6/7 category and Tamsin Baker the girls with 67pts. In the 8/9 ages Stanley Thomas took it for the boys 120pts and Jemima Baker won the girls 128pts. 10/11s was won by Austin Day with 135pts and Jola Fasakin for the girls 143pts. It was a close thing in the 12 plus group with Harry Lenham wining for the 2nd year running with 148pts. Abi Seal taking the girls trophy 167pts.

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Paddock Wood Startrack

Startrack is a week of athletics for children where they can learn about most of the events involved in athletics, or try to become better athletes. Paddock Wood Athletic Club has been holding Startrack weeks for over 30 years and it is the longest-running scheme in the country.

“Startrack is aimed at children aged ideally from 11 to 16, but we do take those aged at least 6 years upwards. 6 years is the lowest age we accept (they MUST be 6 on the day they start) and for whom we have special events using different and softer athletics equipment with the events the younger ones doing being tailored to their needs, ability, and competence. Coaching is done by our own England Athletics-trained coaches, assisted by teenagers specially selected from our club members. All our staff are background checked.

During the week we try to get the children to become proficient, or better, at Sprinting up to 400metres (including Hurdles and Relays), Middle Distance (800 to 1500metres), Throwing (Javelin, Discus, Shot Put, and Hammer), Jumping (Long Jump, Triple Jump, and High Jump) and Race Walking. We aim to coach at least three events each day, culminating with a competition at the end of the week with each child attempting a Run/Race Walk, Jump and Throw of their choice. Each child receives a Startrack T-Shirt at the beginning of their time with us and a Goodie Bag on departure. There are trophies and medals to be won.

We are proud to have played host to over 4000 children over this time from many different backgrounds and nations. We have found some remarkable athletes in that time including one young lad who went on to become a GB Junior International Javelin thrower, many who reached the English Schools Athletics Championships, and many others who have become Kent County and Kent Schools Athletics Champions.

Startrack is a very good introduction to athletics for children, even though they may get some experience of it at school. Current schools’ timetables have to contend with many different sports and there is very little time to spare on the timetable for athletics, so it usually takes place just before and just after School Sports Day leaving very little chance to spot the stars of the future. This is where an athletics club comes into its own by offering more individual and specialised coaching outside school hours with the coaches helping to hone the athletes’ skills.

Startrack is very popular and everyone gets a chance to have a go at everything we can offer – down to the giant Obstacle Relay on the final afternoon -sometimes ending up in a water fight, so be prepared! Wellies and wetsuits may be advisable for Friday afternoon!

Mike Duffin

Startrack Organiser

Previous year’s results and photos

Please use the links below to view the results and photos from Paddock Wood Startrack.

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