Sat 8 Feb 2020, Sheffield
Five Preston Harriers went over the Pennines to get more racing/training time in before the British Masters Indoor Championships and the European Masters Indoor Championships. Sy Woan, Sharon Wilkinson, Carol Holt, Steve Hallas and Alan Appleby were all hoping to see improvements, getting ‘training to race’ time in or try new events. Sy was competing in the 60m and 200m, Sharon and Carol the 200m and 400m and Steve and Alan the 1500m. There were lots of entrants in each event so you were graded according to your anticipated time. The main track is a banked six lanes and the 60m has eight lanes.

Sy was first to compete; in round one he was in heat 1 and blasted down the track coming third in 7.48sec. These men and women may be over 35 but they can still shift down the track and provide good racing. Next off was Steve, hoping for a sub 5min; he and Alan had been to Sports City a couple of times with Sharon and had not quite got the results they’d hoped for, but this was a race and more like the conditions will be at the big championship events. There were nine athletes in each heat and Steve was watching closely; he was in heat 4 and watching the preceding race thought he may have missed the chance of a better run.

His turn came and he quickly settled into mid place for the first couple of laps then moved up a place and the first four were all looking strong and leaving the others further behind. On the next lap Steve moved into third but they were all still close together then at the bell Steve made his move and went to the front. Down the back straight he pulled away opening a gap of seven to eight metres. Coming off the final bend he maintained his form and saw off the challenge from the second placed chap having a comfortable win. He did better than he expected and was pleased with his race and time of 4.47.85. It was also his birthday!

Alan was in the last 1500m, a new event for him, just testing the indoors in preparation for Lee Valley and Braga where he hopes to compete in the 3k. Amazed at how quick the rest of the field disappeared in front including a 75 year old, he just hoped he would be able to stay with them after the initial rush. On lap two he caught the 75 year old and then a lady and soon after was lapped himself by two runners and the rest of the field was closing him down. He heard a bell, was it for him, he carried on and as he neared the line he was lapping the older chap and the bell went again, time on clock read 5.04, there must be another lap to go, so round again to be told a extra lap had been completed! Was it a lap of honour?Was it value for money? It was 6.35.29. The clock stopped at the winning time.

Sy had the 200m and was in heat 3. Once again giving it his all he completed the lap in 23.74 then got some recovery in before his round 2 of the 60m. Sharon was next on with her 200m, she was in heat 8 and ran a good race but was disappointed with her time of 27.65, the same as she had run a few weeks previously but it was more practice and in the right ballpark for the 400m which is her main event. Carol was in heat 11 and had a great run leading the whole way and posting a new pb of 29.67. This was a good experience as she is relatively new to the sport and the race went as she’d hoped.

Sy completed his day’s work with the heat 1, round 2 of the 60m, another blast down the track this time recording 7.57sec. Sharon was in heat 7 of the 400m and ran a more pleasing time of 61.25sec and feeling there was ‘more in the tank’ at the finish. Carol decided to give the 400m a go and hers was the last race of the day, heat 8. The first lap was a decent time but then the ‘dead legs’ kicked in and the race ended in 74.31 – a pb nevertheless.

A good day’s experience for everyone in preparation for the British Masters at Lee Valley 7th & 8th  March and European Masters at Braga, Portugal 15th to 20th March.