2nd of September was my 5 year anniversary in taking up running, back in 2012 this was my first ever race when I did the Great Yorkshire Run in 57:54. At the time I did this race as a goal after my weight loss. Back then if you’d have told me I’d be standing on the top step of the podium having won a gold medal, I’d have asked what you was smoking. However here I am 5 years later and proud to be able to say I’ve won a gold medal. From a personal view point this ranks up there as one of my proudest achievements. Yes it might only be a Northern Masters gold medal but for me it’s accumulation of a 5 year journey from where I was to where I am now. It was also a fantastic way to finish off what turned out to be a very successful track season.
Ever since turning 35 in January I’ve had one eye doing as many Masters competitions as possible, this was at any level be it county, northern or national but all roads takes twists and turns. So far this year I’ve competed in two master competitions winning my age category in both races. I’m hoping to do a lot more next year. I had hoped to do both the Northern and Yorkshire championships, with them being back to back. However the Yorkshire ones clashed with my daughters first gymnastics competition. Coming from the childhood I have, I will always put my personal ambitions to one side if it’s for my daughter. I want her to have as many opportunities as possible and have everything I didn’t. This meant I was able to fully focus on the Northerns. After a short break in Disney after my 3000m PB, I had 2 weeks to get ready. Jamie was there for my final track session on Thursday and we went over plans.
I had entered both the 800m and 1500m. I had thought about the 3000m but it was sandwiched in between the other two races and doing two races in the space of a few hours meant I had to recover between races. The event was over in Bury and my first race wasn’t till 12:15. We arrived in plenty of time, I had hoped to be in the NMAC vest but still waiting so ran in my Zeon vest, although it did get me into a bit of bother from officials asking where my club vest was? Explained it was still on order, so they allowed me to race in my Zeon vest. As well as numbers front and back we also had our age category on the back. This was perfect as it basically gave you a target to chase. My goal was simple to make sure no one in my age group was in front of me.
After warming up with Mark H from Barnsley we was called up. I soon noticed a Liverpool runner in my age group. I decided to chat to him. It transpired he had run 1:55 for 800m and this year had run 9:01 for 3000m. However he said he hadn’t run 800m for years and I only found out about the 3000m time afterwards. I had a race plan, discussed my splits with Sarah but that all went out the window as I basically had him in my target.
After the ladies race, we were lined up and due to numbers all went on the curve start instead of lanes. It was a crazy fast start and was soon on his shoulders on the back straight. Hoping he had gone off too hard. However, it was me who struggled with the pace and it wasn’t surprising as I went through the first lap in 64s. This is for me my fastest ever 400m split. On the top bend Mark H passed me as the lactic acid boiled over, the lungs screamed, the legs felt like lead weights and my goal of gold was showing no signs of slowing down. I chased all the way and bagged the silver medal and after forgetting to stop watch at finish line, my watch said 2:20 but results gave me a new personal best of 2:17.7.
I was gutted not to get gold but over the moon that I hadn’t settled for silver, tried for gold and landed myself a brand spanking new personal best and my first ever track medal. The winner did it in 2:08. After visiting the podium and a cool down. I chilled out with family in the car for a few hours. I then at 2:30 did another warm up and got myself focused on the 1500m. Asking for a fast time or a personal best was asking a lot, my goal was simple get the gold medal, the time was secondary especially after running such a tough 800m.
We were lined up and I attacked from the start and soon found myself leading after 200m. I went through the first lap in 77s, legs felt heavy but I was in control so instead of pushing pace, I ran tactically and made sure if I was attacked later in race I could respond. The next few laps went past with me in the lead, Mark who had opted to race the 3000m instead was taking photos and Sarah was cheering me on and letting me know the gap. On the bell I decided to kick and pick it up, I was attacked by the V40 winner but having run tactically it meant I was able to respond to not only win my age category but also outright to secure my first ever gold medal. I’m still disputing the official time, which is annoying as I clocked 4:45 on watch yet they gave me same time as the V40 winner but photos prove there was a large gap. However, that’s a trivial point.
I had gotten the gold medal to go with my earlier silver medal. So my first masters championships was a huge success, two medals and a personal best. Next year I aim to get two golds. The night was capped off with a tweet from Dame Kelly Holmes who had seen my achievement. I now move onto doing cross country and building a good winter base. I also have a few road races planned. Then I aim to have a full track season and smash all my personal bests in 2018.
- 800m – 2nd in 2:17.7
- 1500m – 1st in 4:49.9
- Zeon Lightweight Race Vest
- Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
- Adidas Adizero Spikes
- Naked Runner, Classic Ron Hill shades
- Sockmine Griplock lightweight running socks
- Garmin 220