2017 By Scott Mills
After the recent SLAN track meet at Sutton’s David Weir Leisure Centre, the new athletics season is now underway and whilst personal bests were few and far between there were still many lessons to take from what was a competition on a very slow track.
However, with fast times hard to come by, many may think that this track meet was particularly unsuccessful, but not for one of Weir Archer Academy’s younger athletes- Morgan Woods.
Often known for giving 100% whether he is competing, training or even studying for his school exams, Woods believes that although he didn’t PB in Sutton it was an extremely successful experience.
“Although it was hard because the track was very slow, for me personally I really enjoyed it because it pointed out what my strengths and weaknesses were and what I need to improve on,” Woods explains.
“Having trained on the rollers and in Richmond Park for most of winter, I have realised that my starts are something that needs improving and I will hopefully be able to do this once the track [Kingsmeadow] reopens.”
With Kingsmeadow Athletics track having been renovated during the winter, it has been a particularly unusual winter training schedule to what Woods has been used to since he joined the club in 2015.
Driving from his home in Worthing to train every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with his teammates under the watchful eye of head coach Jenny Archer MBE, a combination of rollers and road work have temporarily replaced the sessions that Woods so loved on the track.
Although Woods feels his sharpness at track meets may have suffered, he does feel that he has gained other strengths from this training schedule and that, that sharpness can be easily retained.
“At first I wasn’t looking forward to the season because I felt that all the racers I would be competing against would have an advantage because they would have had time to get used to new chairs and equipment, build speed and work on track specifics.
“But after the SLAN meet at Sutton I thought that my stamina had improved massively and that is all down to the hard work I have put in on the rollers.
“So now the track is reopening and I am fitter, I feel as though if I work on improving my starts I wont lose valuable time at the start of races or fall behind the competition.”
Coming off the back of an extremely successful season, one that was full of personal bests, podium finishes and even being crowned as the 2016 Worthing Community Sports Star, Woods has already set his sights on having an even better year in 2017.
Having recently won the Victoria Park 2.6 mile road race, the self-proclaimed sports lover wants to keep on making progress, starting with the 2017 London Mini Marathon on the 23rd April.
“My success in Victoria Park was a great race and an even better way to start off the new season but I definitely believe that because it was an open race all the dogs and other animals chasing me made me push even faster,” Woods points out with a huge smile on his face.
“Looking ahead though I want to finish around 6th or higher in the [London] Mini Marathon and then to continue my reign of beating people and setting new PBs.
“Then if I am looking further into the future my dream would be to make Tokyo in 2020, but if I don’t make it, it is not a problem as I will just use it as motivation to make the Paralympics after that!”
But for now, whilst the hard-working Woods puts his dreams of Tokyo to the back of his mind, he will have to remain focused if he is to achieve success in not only the London Mini Marathon but also the 2017 Bocchia Schools finals held in Sheffield on the 27th April.