Hi folks, as some of you will be aware, the World Masters indoor athletics championships took place the week before last in Torun, Poland. With 4345 entries from 88 countries this was a major athletics event with a number of former Olympians taking part and included athletes from ages 35 right up to 100+. The North East are always represented at these events and once again our athletes did us proud.
Guy Bracken from North Shields Poly first won the 3000m event and then won his heat and final of the 1500m in totally dominant fashion, matching his achievements from the European indoor championships in Madrid last year and the world outdoor championships in Malaga last September.
Jacqueline Etherington from Sunderland also had a great championship. Setting a seasons best over 3000m to come 5th in her first event she ran, the next day, in the 8Km cross country event, not only coming a brilliant 3rd but also getting a team bronze as well, two medals for one race! Then it was back to the track for the 800m, where after winning her heat she came 5th in the final. Back again for the 1500m and a straight final saw Jacqueline finish 5th in a new personal best and break the 5-minute barrier as well. So, having won medals over a 8km cross country course, Jacqueline obviously got selected for the 4 x 200m relay for her age group and finished the championships with another medal, a silver!
We had still more medal success. Despite a cold, Jacqui Hodgson from Durham City ran a strong 400m heat to put herself into the final. The final was a typical indoor race with lots of pushing and shoving. Just as we thought Jacqui was finishing a creditable 5th, two Spaniards clashed and both went down, through her own hard work and a bit of lady luck, Jacqui finished with a great bronze medal. Jacqui ran the 200m event later in the week and produced her fastest time in nearly 2 years to finish 4th in her semi-final.
One last medal to report. Darren Towart from Tynedale has had another great indoor season. In Torun he competed in the 200m and also ran a seasons best in the 60m hurdles. But he left his best till last and running in the last men’s event of the championships, the 4 x 200m relay, Darren and his team mates picked up a brilliant bronze.
The championship overall seemed to go really well, thanks to the organisers, helpers and of course the officials. The North East were even represented there with Bill and Christine Courtney doing a brilliant job as officials. They are often at these international events and do the North East proud.
Congratulations to all of our representatives in Torun, you did a great job!