Bicester AC organised their first ever holiday camp which took place for five days stretching from 9 to 13 August.  The camp attracted over 20 children from Bicester and surrounding areas including those brand new to athletics and members from neighbouring Banbury Harriers.

The camp was held at Bicester School and ran from 9am to 3pm.  The athletes were provided with UK Athletics accredited coaching for a wide range of events which included all of the main athletic throws, running and hurdling, jumps and race walking.  These events were augmented by a range of fun athletic based games which included a running version of noughts and crosses, the Fish fishy fishy game, asteroids and compass runs.  Coaching was provided by a number of Bicester AC coaches assisted by the club’s youth leaders. 

The ages of athletes who attended the camp ranged from 8 to 14.  Each of the days ended with a relay contested by a mixture of age groups and run over a range of distances.  Some of the relays coincided with Bicester AC’s under 11 athlete Cyrus Ariana’s August daily mile challenge set up to raise funds for improving the club’s field and throw facilities.

The final day included a personal best challenge day for the 20 athletes which covered some of the various events which had been coached throughout the week.

Tom Gould, who was the event organiser hailed the event as a ‘great success and a brilliant opportunity to introduce and facilitate young people to enjoy the wonderful sport of athletics’ which filled the void of providing activities for children during the summer schools break which has been compounded this year by the continuing impact of Covid.

Many of the younger athletes were able to try events such as high jump, hammer throw and discus for the first time.

On the last day Bicester AC invited back one of its most successful athletes, Ben West, to present certificates to participating athletes. West is currently one of the leading male middle distance runners in the country and is hoping to qualify for a future Olympics.  West competed with distinction for Bicester as a young athlete and holds the club records over a range of different events and age groups.  When he has completed his degree West is planning to go to the States and do a masters degree whilst continuing his athletics career.  On the last day West ran with Cyrus Ariana and the rest of the camp participants on Cyrus’s mile challenge acting as an exceptional role model and inspiration for the young camp attendees.

Written by N Dolden