Once the boys got settled in with their third driver in 4 days they decided to stretch their legs and see if the technique that they have honed on dry land was up to a bit of speed. From a spectators point of view this was the smoothest load yet and it showed in their time of 6.66 seconds. To put this into context, our boys are pushing a 220kg Bobsleigh 30 meters on ice in 6.66 seconds. It is already an incredible achievement but the boys are adament that they have only just got started.
Due to new driver Lamin Deen competing in the Combined Services Championships today the School Runnings team were in need of a replacement driver to enable them to up their training. Once again, Driver turned coach turned manager Mark Carter came through with the goods, providing veteran RAF Driver, Coach and Selector Steve McFall to drive for the team for the next two days. The boys continue their sharp learning curve, shaving a quarter of a second off their push start on this run.
Today has shown that sport is a beautiful beast for more reasons than one might expect. After seeing just how professional and fired up the St James crew are Mark Carter, driver and Championship organiser made an incredible sacrifice to improve the teams chances in the competition. As an 11 year veteran of the British Championships, Mark has built up an extensive list of contacts, one of them being Army and Great Britain driver Lamin Deen, currently ranked 2nd in the country and likely to go to the Olympics in 2014.
Mark approached me at breakfast asking ‘how would you feel about winning a medal?’ and continued to put forward a proposal to ask Lamin to mentor and drive for the boys during the Championships. Considering that Nick had just said that he was looking forward to going faster now that they were going to start pushing as ‘the initial thrill of Bobsleigh had gone’ (that was quick!), I thought that it would be best to ask the boys what they thought… and call Nick’s bluff!
Initially the boys were unhappy about Mark not being involved but once Mark had talked to them and reassured them that he was more than happy to step aside to give them a real chance of winning a medal, they jumped at the idea of working with a potential Olympic athlete.
After meeting ‘Deeno’ at the track the boys upped their efforts to improve their loading sequence while Mark went and talked to another contact, calling in another favour in order to improve the teams chances further. Where success and failiure are measured in hundredths of seconds the equipment is all important. While the Bob itself is of a good standard (and now looks the part in St James School Runnings livery), the runners were fairly bog standard, training runners and would not produce a good time.
Now, if we imagine for a second that the St James team had the second fastest driver in the country AND the runners that the Netherlands team have been using for the World Cup series, they could put in a seriously good time. So that is what Mark arranged, and that is what they did! the St James School Runnings team covered the 1270m course in a time of 57.21 seconds… the 4th fastest of the day!
We started this project in order to push the boundaries of what our boys thought is achievable in sport and indeed in life. From a day at the push start track in Bath to qualifying for the British Championships to the possibility of winning a medal. The incredible positive attitude and professional outlook of our athletes has really had heads turning at the track and is starting to draw media attention too. What they are doing is extremly special, I am a firm believer that if you work hard enough, your efforts will get rewarded. the St James Bobsleigh team is proof of this theory.
After some intensive training and some tips from the Army and Air Force coaches, the St James crew take their first run from a running start. Only at 60% but the boys knocked 5 seconds off their previous fastest time and almost broke the 120 Km/h mark.
The St James crew became true medal contenders today in training for the British 4-man Bobsleigh Championships.
With new recruit Lamin Deen at the helm, the runners that have been used by the Netherlands team in recent World Cup races, and a solid running start, St James posted the 4th fastest time of the day.
The team have now qualified for the British Championships with two different drivers in two days and have put themselves in serious contention for a medal on Saturday with a fastest run today of 57.21 seconds, knocking 5 seconds off their previous fastest time.