WAA 2017 Review –
David Weir claiming his 6th straight & record breaking Silverstone half marathon win in 47.33, John Smith sub 50 mins in 2nd place
In Lisbon in spring time the the athletes and coaches gathered in a private room to present inspirational Correia with the ‘Lifetime Member of the Weir Archer Academy’ award in recognition of the amazing job he has done for many years.
-Morgan Woods- won the Victoria Park 2.6 mile road race
With the London Mini Marathon underway early, the tone of the day was set as Graham Spencer thundered down the Mall just missing out on 2nd place & Matt Cooper , Jamie Edwards , Morgan Woods and Olivia Gallagher all recorded fantastic times.
As our juniors continued to impress and inspire, it was certainly fitting that just four years after Jenny Archer MBE and David Weir CBE created the Academy, these excellent performances would come on the six-time Paralympic Gold Medallists last ever appearance in London.
Including Weir, there were 70 wheelchair athletes taking part in this years marathon, a true testament of how the sport has been growing in popularity and what greats like Weir and Tanni Grey-Thompson have done for the sport, through their hard work and dedication. In front of hundreds of cheering supporters, Weir accelerated past Hug and powerfully pushed through the finish line, setting off euphoria in the stands and on the sofas of those watching up and down the country. This was a record breaking and for many including Dave would say one of his finest victories !
Following suit was Smith who raced superbly to climb up his constant ladder of progression, finishing in a time of 1 hour 33 minutes This was Weir and Archers new historical 7th record win at the London Marathon ! -
From London to New York- known as being the city that never sleeps, the Big apple, John Smith following on from an impressive 5th place in Berlin was there to fly the GB flag in New York one of the big 5 majors. Now, Smith saw this as a chance to prove that Berlin wasn’t a one-off and that years of working to become one of the best endurance athletes under the watchful eye of Archer, had put him in good stead to adapt to any situation thrown at him during race day.
One by one, Smith picked off the competition eventually finding himself in second where he would remain as he crossed the line behind Marcel Hug to record his first podium finish in one the world’s biggest marathon majors.
John and Dillon making the England Team Commonwealth games in Australia April 2018 !
-Olivia and Jamie getting in the team for the CP Games in Barcelona August 2018 and also James Freeman and Matt Cooper on their way to the biggest CP Worlds so far,
-Youngsters competing in their first competitive mile race in Portsmouth
-Mickey, Jay and Joao at Worlds with Mickey Bushell achieving a fantastic silver medal and no doubt heads were turning thinking his best days were behind him !!
-Graham second, Morgan third and Eden winning Westminster mile
Jabari Knight winning the Brian Freeman award after an amazing winter as he worked towards representing his country Trindad & Tobago at the World Championships
-Many attended to watch Dave’s last track race at the Muller Anniversary games
During the 2017 Muller Anniversary Games at the Olympic stadium, Weir and Archer were finally about to be given the send-off they deserved in a place where they made so much history. With Weir being able to race alongside members of his academy, it was almost as if he was passing the baton onto the future generation-
Off the race track highlights included
-Lots of community bits like school speeches, dog walkers and Pelham primary school raising funds, AFC Wimbledon ( number of athletes and WAA supporters involved )
On the longest day of 2017, Weir Archer were set to attempt to make history by breaking a world record and having their names in the history books for years to come by trying to push over 250 miles
In order to achieve this feat, a team of cyclists alongside the clubs athletes would have to cover a mammoth distance of 13,000 miles to not only achieve the record but to also raise funds for the academy’s charity.
Whilst the cyclists would have to cycle 150 miles each from London to Brighton and back, the athletes would clock up over 250 miles around Richmond Park and the newly renovated Kings meadow athletics track.
However, as if covering the distance wasn’t going to be hard enough, the academy also would have to do this during the hottest day in 41 years.
Sweating alongside the team, were many parents, voluntary cyclists and supporters who were making sure the athletes were well hydrated and were in good health, whilst Archer was constantly providing the team with some inspiration.
The family atmosphere and team work ethic that Archer and Weir had rooted into the academy was truly on show throughout the day and no matter how hard it got in the heat, the athletes all got together and helped each other overcome these challenges being thrown at them.
Finally as the sun began to lower, it turned out the athletes had smashed their challenge, covering a total of 361 miles as they eagerly awaited some celebratory laps of honour to break the record with the cyclists. Not long after, the cyclists thundered through the Kings meadow gates and onto the track to an amazing atmosphere and round of applause from everybody who was supporting. After months of dedicating their own time to help the academy and work extremely hard to train for this challenge
Not only did the day go fantastically well but the academy also managed to raise over £15,000
Being the facility that both Archer and Weir had trained at for the majority of their careers, it was fitting that the pair were chosen to officially open the new track alongside the Mayor of Kingston.
Despite many offers to often train elsewhere, these two giants of British sport have always remained loyal to the facility where it all begun and on the 11th October 2017, the Royal Borough of Kingston renamed Kings meadow as the Weir Archer fitness and athletics centre as a fitting tribute to recognise what they have done for sport and in the local community.
-Our Xmas Awards night held at the AFC Wimbledon Football Club with over 80 people, a step up from Fat boys and a justified addition to our annual calendar
Many athletes recognised at our biggest ever Awards evening
One of the academy’s youngest and hardest working athletes, Graham Spencer was also honoured with the well-deserved Brian Freeman award on this special evening to show off a season of hard work.
-Support for the CP Xmas event at Dorney Lake in Windsor with our WAA developers & youngsters lining up with celebrities and para heroes in a number of different races.
-Support from WAA at Get Kids Going santa run with over 2,000 people running 5k and our guys lead the event and Get kids going were able to demonstrate to many how their fund raising benefits others