Rick Betts reports on North East Masters at the British Indoor Championships March 7th/8th 2020 Lee Valley
The British Masters Athletics Federation 2020 indoor Championships took place at London’s Lee Valley indoor athletics centre the weekend of the 7th & 8th of March, with a relatively small but ultimately very talented group of athletes from the North East representing NEMA. Not many silver or bronze medals were won during the two day competition but 17 golds were brought back to the North East by 7 athletes, and a British record was thrown into the equation too.
Pride of place must go to North Shields Polytechnic athlete Kath Stewart. Competing in the W80 category Kath claimed a stunning 3 gold medals one with a new world indoor record and the other two in British record times.
Competing in the 400 metres Kath set new wold indoor figures of 1 minute 30.37 seconds, eclipsing the previous record of 1minute 31.14 set by Italian, Emma Mazzeenga in Budapest in 2014. That time was also less than a second away from the outdoor world record set by Rietje Dijkman of the Netherlands at last year’s European Masters Championships.
Earlier in the day Kath competed in the 200 metres carrying on where she left off in the Scottish indoor championships taking the 200 metres in a British record time of 39.13 seconds. Kath then completed her remarkable treble, treble by winning 800 metre gold in 3 minutes 57.33 seconds yet another record. There's a write-up by Athletics Weekly on Kath's performance here.
Another athlete to take 3 gold medals was John Wild. John (Veterans Athletic Association North East), was top of the tree when it came to throws in the M65 age group. John won the Hammer with a throw of 35.51 metres, he also took gold in the discus with a personal best of 42.28 metres which moved him into the top 10 on the British all-time list. Johns third gold came in the weight throw where his weight landed 12.91 metres from its starting point. In the same age category Trevor Straker added to North Shields Polys medal tally taking gold in the shot put with a great throw of 10.39 metres and bronze in the discus behind Wild with 33.98 metres and only 1 centimetre behind silver.
Busiest athlete of the weekend and also a triple gold medallist was Dash Newington (Gateshead Harriers). Contesting the W35 age group Dash in only her second year in the sport certainly made an impact at Lee Valley. Following on from her success in Scotland in January Dash set a personal best of 9.66 metres to win a close triple jump gold medal. Dash then went on to take Gold in the high jump with 1 metre 40 and she showed her versatility taking the 3000 m walk in 20 mins 51.84 seconds. Not content with the three golds Dash then went on to take two more medals, this time of the bronze type in the 60 metre hurdles and the weight throw.
In the M40 men’s category there were 4 golds medals, two apiece from Keith Hutchinson and Dan Upton. Despite only taking up track athletics 3 years ago following a career in non-league football Keith Hutchinson (Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers) came away with two personal bests and two gold medals. On Saturday Keith won the gold medal in the 400 metres. Competing in his first ever indoor 400 metres Keith ran a superbly timed race to take the tape in a time of 52.38 seconds. Returning on the Sunday to race the 800 metres Keith had what he described as “the race of his life”. Lining up against the 1500 metre Champion Andrew Brown (Dunbar), Keith tracked his opponent for three laps, before unleashing a telling kick just before the bell to take his second gold medal of the weekend, running under two minutes for the first time recording 1 minute 59.81 seconds. Also competing on the track and winning medals was Steven McMahon (Sunderland). McMahon claimed well deserved bronze medals over 800 metres (2:07:73) and 1500 metres (4:14:47).
In the M40 field events it was Dan Upton who claimed four medals, two of them Gold. Dan (Richmond and Zetland Harriers) took double gold in the Hammer (32.24 metres) and the weight throw with 10.90 metres. Dan then showed his versatility taking two silver medals in the shot (12.41 metres) and discus (38.85 metres. Dan also competed well in the javelin finishing in fourth place.
In the M45 competition Raymond Robinson (NEMA) took the gold medal in the 3000 metre walk in a time of 18 minutes 27.61 seconds. An honourable mention should also go to Martin Telford (Wallsend) who finished fifth in the m60 400 metres in a good time of 65.88 seconds in only his second 400 metres race in over 7 years.
Jacqueline Etherington of NEVAC followed up on her successes at Glasgow last month with a win in the 1500m in a season's best time of 4:58:70, followed by another gold in the 800m the following day.
If their successes have inspired you, the North East Track and Field League starts in May, with a season Pass (six matches for the price of five) now available for purchase in our online store. Individual match entries now available too, check out the store for details of each match.
All matches will take place at Monkton Stadium on Monday evenings, with field events beginning at 6.15pm and track events at 6.30pm prompt.
Full timetable details and rules are available here.
Match 1 Monday 4th May
Match 2 Monday 18th May
Match 3 Monday 8th June
Match 4 Monday 29th June
Match 5 Monday 6th July
Match 6 Monday 27th July
Championships on Saturday June 20th
I went to Lee valley to compete in the British masters championships, M60, 200m’s, finishing 7th of 8 in the final in 31.08 secs a PB, and 400m’s finishing 7th of 8 in the final in 68.84 secs a PB.