Peterborough NVAC youngster determined to get the ‘Max’ from his natural speed

Peterborough Nene Valley AC hurdler Max Roe will have an extra spring in his step once Covid is tamed and grassroots sport is up and running again.

By Barry Warne
Monday, 30th November 2020, 3:17 pm
Max Roe in action.
Max Roe in action.

Roe, one of a crop of exciting young hurdlers from the Peterborough area, enjoyed a tremendous start to 2020.

With the indoor season escaping relatively unscathed, the Bourne Grammar School pupil was able to shine, and picked up hurdles silver in the England U15 60m Championship, setting a new personal best of 8.42.

Roe (14) won bronze in the same event in 2019. He will end the year ranked second quickest under 15 in the country at both the 60m indoor and outdoor hurdles.

Coach Alan Sims with Max Roe (left) and Joe Purbrick (right) at the England U20s indoor championships

Roe first competed for Peterborough AC as an under 13 in 2017 and won 13 of his 25 contests at 80m, 100m, 200m, 75m hurdles and long jump.

Roe said “I enjoy sprinting and recognised I was pretty fast from my results on school sports day. When I started to compete for PAC it was at sprints and also the long jump. In recent years I have competed at shot putt and achieved a club record when I was an under 13.

“In 2017 my team manager asked me to fill in for hurdles at a club event at the last minute in order to gain points for the team. I had tried hurdles during club training before, but never thought of competing as my main focus was sprinting.

“My first event was pretty memorable. I jumped over the hurdles like a gazelle with really poor technique, but I won the race easily so it spurred me on to try again. My manager was keen for me to keep hurdling as it gained useful team points.”

Peterborough Nene Valley AC boast an extremely strong contingent of young hurdlers and this has been a big inspiration to Roe.

“I have trained with Joe Purbrick in the past,” he added. “And it was great to see him come second at the U17 Nationals and then go on to compete for England. This is something I’m keen to achieve.

“My other big inspiration is Freddie Fraser (ex-Nene Valley, now Huntingdon AC).

“Freddie was very successful when I started to focus on hurdles. He won the U15 boys English Schools hurdles, and I was very excited to be joining his training group at the start of the following season. Freddie was incredibly committed to his training which spurred me on, and he was also really supportive. He gave me advice and encouragement as I started to compete at bigger events such as indoor nationals and English Schools.

“My old coach, Alan Sims, was a great hurdling coach. It was Alan who approached me to train in his group in 2018. Until this point I hadn’t trained specifically for hurdles. It was a great group and Alan was a great coach who encouraged us to have fun while learning and developing our technique.

“Recently, Alan had to give up coaching due to other commitments so I now train with James Copeland and the coaching has taken on a whole new dimension. James has a great wealth of knowledge and I continue to learn new things and be challenged regularly. I’m looking forward to next summer with James.

“My athletics high spot so far was the English Schools U15 60m Hurdles last year. I got to the final as the only first year athlete and came fifth overall after a poor start because of nerves.

“I came second this year in the indoor nationals in March which was a great experience, and I was really looking forward to competing this summer as a second year U15 boy.

“It’s a real shame I didn’t get to compete, but for the future I would like to win at English schools and go forward to represent England at hurdles in an international competition.”