Sunday was the Northern Masters track and field championships, this year the championships were moved forward from September and over the hill to Cleakheaton. I think it was a fab move as they had record number of entrants for the championships, shame some didn’t turn up and some opted for the masters grand prix the day before in Sheffield. It’s a real shame two excellent masters events were held in close proximity on the same weekend. However going forward organisers can liaise to avoid clashes.
Anyway as it was my daughters birthday on the 23rd there was no issue with a clash and again opted to run the 800m and 1500m. I could’ve done a further 3 events but Id rather do two and get times I want rather then just enter for medals. Not that I assuming I’d win all 5 but it was a high probability. This year my main goal is to achieve times. That is what I enjoy and what drives me, medals come secondary to times. With that being said in championships it all depends on who enters and who is fresh from racing. The first race for me was the 800m. Originally it was planned to go at 12:15 but it was put back to 12:30 due to lack of officials. I was hoping Mark from Barnsley AC would be running as I chased him when I set my PB earlier this year. However he had raced the day before so opted not to do the 800m. I then got talking to other entrants. Found out that Andrew was aiming for the lower 2:00 mark. I had seen him race at the Manchester mile, so knew he was quick and then a Rotherham Harrier who was targeting 2:14. Brill I thought to myself as that was my target. I made a mental plan to stay as close to him on first lap as possible then attack if in position to do so on the second.
Our heat was first to go and there were no lanes but instead we all started on the 400m line. I prefer this start and was soon on the back of the Harrier. Andrew set an early lead and another runner was in 2nd place. I held back for first 200 and felt good as we did the first lap. The timer shouted a 67s split. Shit was what I thought, too slow and proceeded to attack, by how I had moved up to 3rd and on the back straight made a move to pass the Harrier but he attacked back and it was neck and neck all the way to the final 100m where he kicked again and I was chasing him all the way. I crossed the line in 3rd place in the heat. However, as it was age category championships I won gold as did both 1st and 2nd in their respective categories. I had to wait about an hour till results were posted and was over the moon to be given 2:14.4 a brand new personal best. While 800m isn’t my main distance I would love to go sub 2:10.
After collecting my gold medal, I spent the afternoon relaxing with the family in the shade as it was very hot and didn’t want to burn. The break between races allowed me to talk to fellow competitiors and enjoy the athletics on show. Finally at gone 15:00 I started to get ready, going for a gentle run to get legs moving. They felt really heavy and it was so hot. I knew this year there would be a good battle for medals in the 1500m but one of my competitors opted to race the 3000m and go home. In a way was kinda disappointed as I was looking forward to a tough race. However nothing I could do about it. Again my age category was in first race. I had Sarah on the start area to shout splits, again time was more important then the medal. If I get quick enough then I would earn the medals. Mark was in this race but had also raced the 3000m so wasn’t feeling fresh but he has always bested me in races. I had a plan and was going to stick to it. Gun went and I was straight into the lead and I could feel a slight headwind on the back straight. I raced round to complete the first 400m and time keeper shoulder 64s. Sarah however shouted 73s bang on target. (Thank God I listened to her) I continued to lead as I completed 800m giving it everything, clocking another 73s lap. The 3rd lap I dropped a few seconds but at the bell I heard Sarah shout pick it up if you want that time. I could hear her shouting all way to the finish. I passed her and lapped a runner on bottom bend. I then kicked like my life depending. I crossed line 1st overall and retained my 1500m title I won last year, to become a double gold medallist on the day and a 3 time gold medallist at the Northern Masters Championships.
I waited at track side to get time so didn’t have to wait and I had it in my head my PB was 4:36.64 in fact it was 4:36.94. After a short wait I was told it was 4:36.90. So I thought I had missed a PB by 300th of a second, I was too disappointed as I knew I had race very well twice in one day and I had bagged a season best time at least. So back in car was looking at power of 10 and saw that my PB was 4:36.94 so I had PB’d just by 0.04 of a second!. However when the results were published Tuesday, my time was actually 4:36.60 so a new PB by 0.30 of a second and a second faster then my season best. This meant I had set a new PB at both distances on the same day and won gold in both events. This felt amazing and also like I had earned both medals. Me being me though knew I had a faster 1500m time in me, so on the way home I already started to plan my race strategy for the Trafford GP on Tuesday night!