EMAA Indoor Inter Area Track and Field Challenge 2024 report by Dot Kesterton

Dot Kesterton chases another athlete in the 1500m on a blue indoor track. A judge stands trackside, looking back down the track.

Dot in the 1500m

Event date: 25 February 2024

Event report by Dot Kesterton

Jed Turner and I took the long drive to London to join our area club, Northern Masters AC, at the annual Indoor T&F challenge at Lee Valley in North London. Jed is an experienced and talented track athlete, particularly at 800m, whilst I’m still at the ‘I’ll give it a go, what’s the worst thing that can happen’, stage.

Well the first worst thing was that my spikes, brand new and unused, were all wrong. Apparently it had to be Christmas Tree spikes, conveniently available at the pop up shop near the stadium entrance at £5 a set. What on earth is a Christmas Tree spike and why did it have to be that particular style? Oh, unlike EIS the Lee Valley indoor track has just been upgraded and the spikes must protect the new surface.

As one of only a handful of older women in the Northern Masters event I was co-opted to run 1500m, 800m, 400m and 4x200m relay for the W60s who were also struggling to put out a full complement of older women. In return, Caroline Marler, an astonishingly talented heptathlete, would take on all the field events for our team in our age group. It was a tall order but also a chance to run repeatedly round in circles with some other poor soul counting the laps until the blessed bell sounded.

First up for me was the longest distance, 1500m. It’s nothing really if you’re a 10k runner. A walk in the park surely? Not really, I discovered, it’s pretty hard trying to move swiftly, consistently and competently for 7-and-a-half laps. But I did it, in a fairly creditable 6:36.42, 2nd V70 of 4 and points for the team. After a brief rest the 400s were announced. More warm ups and team talk. I had some serious opposition here with Helen Godsel, Southern Counties and the great Angela Copson, now 75 and a phenomenal athlete to show me the ropes. 400m is a new one for me. You don’t really have time to get into it before it’s done. The bell rings while you’re still trying to work out your breathing. I clocked up a personal best (of 1) in 1:33.48 to come in 2nd V70 of 3. Legs now beginning to turn to jelly but only an 800m and relay to go so it can’t be too bad eh?

Jed put in another sterling performance of 2:26.38 in his 800m race to come 5th of 8 M60s, earning a much need 5 points for the team.

A bit of food and drink later and back on the start line for the 800m in mid afternoon. This is now four times round the track with full knowledge that the camber is actally there to make you lean away from it and possibly cause a lot of damage to unsuspecting muscles as you struggle with said breathing and early onset DOMS. I’d tried this one out last year and achieved 3:22.67. A whole year later and with two events already making my legs quiver I managed to finish in 3:22.81 2nd of 4 to Sarah Roberts, Southern Masters.

Finally the 4x200m relays. This is a thrilling event, even when you’re exhausted. Valuable points can be won and fortunes changed in the relays. I dropped an age group and ran with Caroline Marler, Glennis Richardson and Susan Richardson in the W60 age group. We came in triumphant in our heat in 2:32.94 dropping to 4th of 6 teams overall.

Northern Masters athletes pose for a photograph in the indoor athletics arena

Northern Masters team

Northern Masters women finished 3rd of 9 area clubs. The men were 6th of 9 and Northern Masters were narrowly beaten into 4th place overall. The team captain Paul Barlow summed up our collective effort as a ‘can do’ attitude delivered with amazing spirit. He concluded that it was a joy to be part of the team. I’ll second that.

Please talk to Jed or me if you’d like to try out track and field. There will be some Run Jump Throw events at Woodbourn Road over the summer months which are fairly low key, a chance to have a go and try something new. Check out NMAC or BMAF if you’re interested in competing at area or national events.

Full results can be found on bmaf.opentrack.run.

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