I told you recently about how my son’s long jump has been going from strength to strength this season. He achieved his dream of jumping six metres. But within three weeks, my athlete had blown that out of the water. Or out of the sandpit, so to speak.
It started with the county championships. His first jump was 5.98. Very good for a first jump. Then he jumped 5.89 and 5.93. Not quite six metres, but still very good. And he was in the lead after the first round and the second round. In fact, he was in the lead all the way. And then on his final jump, he jumped 6 metres 10!
This meant he’d qualified for the regional championships a week later. And he was county champion.
Ever since he’s been jumping competitively (just over a year), there’s only ever been two boys in it. My son and one other boy are always streets ahead of the others. But the other boy is always ahead of my son. At a competition a few weeks ago, he got 6.24 when my son got 5.90. My son had beaten him this time! My son was county champion, even if the other boy did have a better PB.
My son went into regionals feeling confident he could get another PB.
Qualifying standard for the national championships is 6.40. He wouldn’t get that, but if he could get 6.20, he would be happy.
I pointed out that, proportionally, an extra 30cm wasn’t really that much more. But realistically we knew it was a very long way and he’d already come so much further than he’d dreamed of this season. (He started the season with the aim of jumping 5.80, with six metres as a dream.)
Athletics age groups cover two school years and he is currently in the lower year of the under 17s category. He would aim for 6.40 and nationals next year.
We looked at all the boys lined up to jump and some of them were seriously big and very fit looking.
‘I don’t think he’ll get extra jumps,’ said my husband.
In jumps competitions, all competitors start with three jumps (or sometimes four), then the top few (it could be three, four or six) get three more jumps. Four kids were going to get three more jumps.
As long as he didn’t come last and as long as he jumped close to his PB, I would be happy.
My son was the fourth to jump. The first two kids jumped well under six metres. The third kid jumped well over six metres and well over my son’s PB.
My son jumped 6 metres 51.
I didn’t think I was hearing right.
SIX METRES FIFTY ONE?!
But he’d really done it. He’d smashed his PB and smashed the qualification distance for nationals. He’d blown his PB out of the water. Or more specifically, my athlete had blown it out of the sandpit.
We were all in shock. I was shaking and had tears in my eyes. My son was trying to contain his excitement, but he couldn’t stop smiling or bouncing around.
There was a boy in the competition who had previously jumped seven metres. He didn’t beat my son on the first round. Or the second. My son was still in the lead after two jumps, before being pushed back into second.
My son qualified for those extra jumps. The seven metres boy jumped seven metres. But nobody else beat my son’s 6 metres 51. And the other kid in the county who usually beats my son? He came nowhere near. This time we could confidently say that my son is the best in the county. And the second best in the region.
For the first time in his short athletics career, my son made it onto a podium (he’s finished first and second before, but there’s never been an actual podium).
I’m excited to see just how much further my athlete can take his long jump career. Next stop, nationals!