North of England Masters Championships

Another gold medal!

Apologies for the late race report from last Saturday, it’s been a very busy week and when I’ve had time to write I’ve not been in the mood. Think it’s not helped by my view of the championship event. Bare with me as I’m going to have a moan!

I opted not to do this last year as it clashed with my family holiday but this year I saw it as natural progression from the Northern Masters Championships. My plan was simple do that champs then see how I did, then do the North of England one and then decided on the British Masters. Only one i’m not doing is the Yorkshires in September as it clashed with my charity challenge and I have limited window of opportunity to complete that now. I’d have liked to have done the Worlds in Malaga but it was a choice between a family holiday or a race. My family is extremely supportive and I would be unable to do what I do if it wasn’t for their support, so I’d never put running before our family holiday. My wife is self employed and besides a week at Christmas the holiday in August is her own time off throughout the year (she works 7-6, 5 days a week!).

So after getting a PB in both 800m and 1500m at the Northern Masters, I wanted to test myself against a stronger field (well that’s what I would’ve liked) I’ve said before time comes first, medal comes second, right now I would sacrifice a medal over a PB any day of the week. With it being open to all masters from entire north so long as your in a club, I had high hopes for a good age race. It was also at my home track which was an added bonus. Having looked at the timetable I selected to just run the 1500m on the Saturday and do a long run on Sunday rather then do a race both days.  I entered and while entry system isn’t the best It did allow me to see who had entered and was extremely disappointed to find only one other V35 had entered. Yet again Masters events are poorly attended/advertised and it’s a shame but then you can only compete with who is entered.

So not knowing if they’d give out medals if not enough competitors, my goal was still simple, aim for sub 4:30.00. I had one less recovery day as I should have raced Doncaster Wednesday night but as I’ve already wrote, it was called off due to football and I opted for York the following evening instead. (Doncaster was this Weds, in perfect condition and gutted I didn’t race it) So to Saturday, it turned out to be another hot one and i’ve only ever raced at my home track twice previously and both times I hadn’t had a good race. But I was optimistic going into this I also knew it had a couple of V40’s who were quick and Mark who had beaten me at 5k the other night. I gave Sarah my splits for 300, 700, 1100 and I could see they had electronic timing set up. So I could keep track of time as well. I went to pick my numbers up. Now unlike other races, there was no one manning the tables and it was a case of working things out for yourself. I found my name, signed the sheet and picked up numbers.

I did a warm up mile on the track, not that I needed it and felt very leggy, the 5k had taken more out of me then I had realised. I was hanging around and found out there was a second sheet for my actual race you had to sign. I also knew several participants had gone on a warm up, so I told official who said sign them in or they could not race. The communication and clear instructions were some what missing at the event. A friend of mine had same issue the following day at 800m and wasn’t allowed to race and they wonder why people don’t take part when some jobsworth goes on a power trip. There should have been someone sat at table handing out numbers and saying you need to comeback and sign race sheet 60 mins before. Simple job, everyone would know, yet all I saw was participants constantly asking same questions because there was a simple lack of communication from the officials. I know a few have said that compared to the Grand Prix held at same venue in June it was shockingly bad and would be voting with their feet next yet.

Anyway to the race. I was in race 2 of 2 (fast race) I knew my plan and knew others round me. After what seemed like ages we finally got under way. I soon was in 3rd sat on shoulder of lad who had run 4:30 the other Saturday. My plan I had decided was to say with him as long as possible. I went through the finish line looked at clock to see it wasn’t working. I also couldn’t hear Sarah. I kept with him and coming through 700m Mark went past. I stuck with them both to 900m but I didn’t have it in legs as they pulled away. I think they ran a 67s 3rd lap and before I knew it was on my own as I went though at the bell. I then kicked but was caught on final two hundred as I crossed line 5th overall. I got 4:34.56 on watch. Not a PB but knowing they had electronic timing I was happy considering I had made error of not doing my own thing. It’s something I keep doing. I need to realise I need to race my way, as when they pick it up I can’t as its not how I race so instead of having valuable time in the bag I don’t and then I have no safety net. Yes the best way to race is negative or even splits but for me I have my best races getting a good start, getting time in the bag and then holding on the last mile. It’s not great but it works. When I don’t do this I have a shit race, this 1500m wasn’t a good race as I never felt relaxed and running my own way and I did it again last night (more to follow).

I then spoke to everyone else and everyone talked about race. Then there was nothing. No official coming up saying who had won what, no results. 30 minutes passed and still nothing from any official. Hold on isn’t it suppose to be a championship? So I asked an official and he said they had technical issues with timing, they worked on it Tuesday, the night before but it still failed them. When was they going to tell those taking part. It meant manual times!! So I said well what about medals results. He said well either hang around all day, comeback tomorrow or we will have to sort something out! I was like you are joking, what sort of operation you running here. No medal ceremony and if I don’t hang around or comeback Sunday, I might or might not get it posted to me. I was fuming and so was everyone else. From feedback the championship leaves a lot to be desired. It might not matter to some but for me I want the chance to stand on a podium on an athletics track and have a medal hung round my neck. For me it is a dream. One I had hoped to do at this event.

Instead I left with a very annoyed family. I nipped to Meadowhall and messaged Jason to keep an eye on things. After having lunch and was heading to cinema I messaged a fellow participant Andy if he had an update. He messaged back saying he had his medal and results were out. So a few messages later I found out I had won my age category gold but time was 4:35.0. Well annoyed it had been rounded up but that’s relying on an officials reaction times. So we nipped back and went to stand said I’d won my age category. Official checked my name and handed me my medal in a bag. That was it! Talk about a big let down. For me it was the biggest track win and I got handed a medal in a bag! I should have been over the moon, instead I left the stadium with a sour taste in my mouth. My daughter wanted to see her dad on the podium. but it’s a dream for another day.

Would I do this championship again. Doubtful and it’s also put me off doing further masters events, everything seems half hearted and presentations are an after thought. Which is a real shame. So I’ve now got to decided if to enter the British Championships or not. At the moment my main focus is getting faster at 5k.


  • 5th (1st in age) in 4:35.0
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