Jack Snook breaks club pole vault record – 17 August 2013
clears the bar in the city of Leuven, Belgium
over 12 months ago at the end of the last outdoor season, Jack set a new
PB and club record in pole vault of 4.00m in his first year as an
under-20. Things were looking good for the winter and the indoor season,
until one training session in October when he was unfortunate enough to
break his ankle landing awkwardly from a jump. It was curtains for the
indoor season, with estimates ranging from six to nine months before he
could jump again - not a prospect to look forward to.
may have just decided to give up - but Jack is not one of many. It would
be a long road to recovery, but he was determined to return to vaulting.
With good initial support from the NHS physio after being discharged
from the fracture clinic, he started the long journey back. Jack's
rehabilitation was fully supported by his coach, Dave Pearson, who
developed a programme of strength and conditioning which was adjusted
according to how much Jack was allowed to do and what after-effects it
finally started vaulting again in April this year, and, in a relatively
short time, showed that his performances were not far off where he ended
the previous year, finally equalling his 4.00m PB on 15 June at the SW
Schools Championships. This surprised even his coach, as we were all
expecting a much slower come back.
Training has been going well, but something wasn't quite working at
competition time, until Saturday 16th August at the British
Athletics Throws & Jumps Fest in Bedford. Jack entered the competition
at 3.60m using his usual pole, clearing that height at the first
attempt. He then moved to a pole which was sourced the previous weekend
at the SW Intercounties fixture in Exeter. The first attempt at the next
height, 3.80m, was a failure, but the next attempt was successful. Next
up was 3.95m - a first time clearance. Then the big one - 4.05m, a new
PB and club record. Remarkably, another first time clearance. Next up
4.15m - and another first time clearance. Both those heights were
cleared well … could he do 4.25m? Well, sadly no, but oh so close with
all three attempts.
there more to come? Well, the short answer is yes...
following Friday, Jack travelled with the South West team to Antwerp in
Belgium for a competition (thanks to Sonya Ellis for organising the
trip). Hours before travelling, he found out that his pole vault
competition would not be taking place at the stadium in Antwerp, but in
a market square in the town of Leuven – about 28 miles away, and away
from the rest of the team – street vaulting would be a first for Jack!
and I had booked to travel independently to give Jack some support and
we arrived at the competition venue shortly after Jack to find that it
had been raining and the runway was quite wet as a result. Fortunately,
it had now stopped raining and things were drying out throughout the
warm up – which is more than can be said for a few spectators from a
competition time – Jack was nervous. He hadn't vaulted in these type of
circumstances before – plenty of loud music and spectators who were keen
to watch the spectacle.
jump for him was a clearance at 3.82m. Next came another first time
clearance at 3.97m. The pole was beginning to feel soft, so he
transferred on to a bigger one for the next height. A first failure at
4.12m was followed by a successful clearance at the next attempt. Now
the bar was moved up another 15cm to 4.27m – this would be a new PB and
club record. Jack had moved up a hand grip on the pole and took his
first attempt – he tickled the bar on the way over, but it stayed up – a
first time clearance for a new lifetime best!
failed at the next height – a dizzy 4.42m – but he was not far off
clearing that as well.
don't know if this performance will be ratified by the Power of 10,
hopefully it will, but with three more pole vault competitions before
the end of this summer season, surely there must be a chance of going
even higher. Watch this space …
done Jack, and special thanks to Dave for his time, patience and
dedication - hard work by all concerned, well rewarded.