The beautiful Italian region of Veneto was the setting for the biennial European Masters Track and Field Championships (5th-15th September). NEMAA had no fewer than 9 members competing over the 10 days in a variety of events.
Christine Elliott (W60), Sunderland Harriers, was the first regional athlete to compete on the first day of the championships. Christine started her campaign with a personal best and NEMAA all time records in the weight throw followed a few days later by a further NEMAA all time in the hammer... Despite all hammer throwers having to wash the hammers in a bucket due to the mud bath that was the hammer throw area! Well done Christine!
Guy Bracken, (M55) of North Shields Poly, commenced the defence of his 1500m title from 2017 also on the first day, easing through to the final held on Day 3. Guy successfully retaining his 1500m title to add to his world indoor 1500m and 3000m titles he won earlier this year. As impressive as ever and very inspiring.
Day 3 was a medal rush day for our region, with Nisha Desai (W35) of Trafford, who only entered the masters ranks in August, impressively winning the regions first gold in the 400mh. It is worth noting that prior to the championship Nisha had ran slightly faster, recording the world's fastest time for a W35 this year but also smashing the NEMAA all time record and moving to 4th on the W35 UK all time rankings. Well done Nisha and I'm sure that this title is the first of many.
A well-deserved and hard fought bronze medal went to Darren Towart (M40) of Tynedale in the 400mh. Darren was delighted to win his first individual medal and showed that it’s not over until the very end where he won on the dip by 0.02 seconds, amazing! Darren followed this up on day 4 by making it through to the 400m semi final. Well done!
Day 3 also saw 3 other individual performances, North Shields Poly’s Andrew Webb (M70) narrowly missed qualifying for 300mh final and also the 80mh on day 5; Sunderland’s Jacqui Etherington (W40) finished 6th in her 400mh final in a new NEMAA all time record and Bill Doidge (M70) of Low Fell gained a seasons best time in the 1500m. Bill followed up his solid 1500m performance by being part of the M70 bronze medal winning cross country team on day 4 in torrential rain. Conditions were so bad that it led to the venue where the XC was being held having its track events cancelled later that day due to flooding! Bill also gained a season's best in the 800m later in the championships as well as running in the 10km road race on the last day. Well done!
Julian Ions (M45) of NEVAC commenced his campaign on day 4 with a solid effort in the 400m. Julian later went on to make the 200m semi finals on day 8 narrowly missing his pb. Julian's solid performances secured him spots in the relays where he came home with double gold in both 4x100m & 400m, brilliant well done!
Another of our athletes was also in action on day 8, after a solid 8th place in the cross country on day 4. In her favoured event, Jacqui Etherington ran a 9 second personal best to win a silver medal in the 2000m steeplechase behind the winner who set a European record. This is a new NEMAA all time record, tops the UK W40 rankings and places her 5th all time.
Another notable mention must go to Mike Stacey of Low Fell, who achieved a PB in the 1500m, a season's best in the 800m and took on the 5k for the first time, achieving a respectable time under very hot conditions - well done Mike.
Finally, North York Moors athlete Carolyn Gale had an amazing championships, winning a Bronze for the 10000m, a Silver in the 5000m and a team Gold for the Half Marathon in the W70 class. Brilliant running from Carolyn, well done!
However the championships cannot go ahead or be supported without the help of the officials. A special thanks to Archie Jenkins and Lynne Marr in their team management roles, Bill and Christine Courtney for ensuring we were all safe, in their safety officer roles, and that of Alan Bell and Lesley Minivini in their essential roles in the call room and track side. Thanks very much.