British Masters Track & Field Champs – Lee Valley – Sat 09 & Sun 10 Mar 2019

Last weekend a group of ESM athletes decided to take shelter from the blustery weather and headed over to Lee Valley to compete in the British Masters Athletics Federation indoor track and field championships, reports Phil York.

Jason Carty, (pictured), who competes in the M45 age group, convincingly won the 60m in a Championship Record of 7.16 seconds. (If you want to see just how convincingly, take a look at this short video!) His performance in the final followed a 7.29 clocking in his heat. On January 27th 2019 Jason had set a new British M45 indoor record of 7.11 seconds, lowering this mark to 7.06 on 13th February. He is hoping to medal again at the forthcoming World Masters Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland.

An added bonus for Jason at Lee Valley was receiving an award for Best Masters Sprinter 2018, after winning gold medals over 100/200m at the World Masters outdoor championships in Malaga, Spain. Jason also took time out at the end of last summer to make presentations to ESM young athletes at their awards evening.

Bill Lonsdale is a regular at Northala parkrun, but combines distance running with track and field competition in the M65 age category. At Lee Valley he competed in the long jump, triple jump and 800m. All Bill has done since August is road running, as he prepares for the London Marathon in August. Accordingly, he was delighted to long jump over 4 metres, which was enough to win a silver medal, although it was a close competition with only 2cm covering the first three places. This event took a lot out of his legs and he suffered cramp in bed on Saturday night. This meant that he performed very disappointingly in Sunday’s triple jump, but managed to run a just outside three minutes in his 800m final later in the day. The race was won in 2:25.71 by Weymouth’s Kevin Archer who is the third fastest in the all-time M65 800m rankings.

Patricia Thomas contested the W50 800m, finishing fifth in 2:55.83, her fastest time indoors or out, since 2016. Patricia was reasonably happy with her performance, but found it hard to cope with the camber of the steeply banked indoor track.

In the W55 age group, Breege Leane was thrilled to come away with a silver medal in the 1500m, despite having recently been injured. Breege’s post-race interview was typically modest and entertaining:

“My race was fine. Well I came away with a silver medal anyway. That flatters me really as I was way down the field with a difference of around 27-28 seconds between me and the winner. The leaders went off together so there were very few athletes to make me look good and you really realise how far off the pace you are. That said, I am pleased because I think I tried as hard as I could and that I actually made the start line, not to mention the finish line and managed to wangle a bit of bling along the way! It was my first indoor experience. The banked track was strange to run on – there’s an outward pull on the bend. I didn’t fancy doing the 3000m the following day – there’s a limited number of women in their late fifties who want to run around a 200m indoor track 15 times!”

Dave Cobb is actually a second claim member of ESM, and joins us for Wednesday evening track sessions. His first claim club is West 4 Harriers but, along with Bill Lonsdale, competes for ESM during the summer in the Southern Counties Veterans’ League Mid-London Division. At Lee Valley he lined up in the final of the M45 400m, finishing fourth in a time of 57.54, a personal best indoors. In fact it bettered his previous best, set in February, by just one-hundredth of a second! Prior to 2019, Dave had run all his track races wearing trainers, but after being drawn in heats against a fast-starting Brazilian athlete over 400m AND 800m at last year’s World Masters Championships in Malaga, he decided on a change of footwear. But that’s a story best told by Dave himself.

Post race, Dave commented:

“I found it very dry (the atmosphere), running indoors. By 250m my tongue was sticking to the roof of my mouth. I finished in 57.54 though, and the winning time was about a second faster. I’m running the 200m, 800m and 1500m for Great Britain in Poland at the end of March, and I might put my name down for the 4x200m relay if I’m fast enough. I can’t make it over there in time for the individual 400m though”.

Well done to all five of our veterans representing the club at this event.

ESM results summary:

M45: 60m: 1 Jason Carty 7.16, 400m: 4 Dave Cobb 57.54

M65: 800m: 6 Bill Lonsdale 3:04.73, LJ: 2 Bill Lonsdale 4.19, TJ: 4 Bill Lonsdale 8.63

W50: 8oom: 5 Patricia Thomas  2:55.83

W55: 1500m: 2 Breege Leane 5:50.05

Full results on power of 10