Dead Runners society race report
Eastern Veterans track & field league, Luton - Wednesday 4th June 2003.
More racewalk practice in the EVAC league as well as an opportunity for something very strange!
Tony here with news of another Eastern Vets track and field league last
night in Luton. Last month I made my long awaited debut in this league as a
brand new 40 year old veteran. I enjoyed it so much I arranged for some time
off work so I could compete again. So after pushing back the frontiers of
science at Daresbury Lab during the day I left mid-afternoon for long drive
south to Luton. I arrived about an hour before the event started. My
beautiful wife Shelley made her own way there from our home in Cambridge.
Shelley was going to be a busy lady as she was down to do all 6 track events
just to get the points for our club of Bedford and County AC. First events
on the track were the 400m hurdles, Bedford men won the M40 and M50 races.
Then Shelley competed in the ladies race and for the first time ever beat
someone else in a hurdles race, Bedford won the W35 and W45 races as well,
so far every track event Bedford had competed in they had won.
Next event was my event, the 1 mile walk. I jogged 3 laps of the track to
warm up and then did another 800m walking in my racewalk shoes before we all
lined up. 20 men and women lined up, unlike at the last event there was a
racewalk judge, he told us he didn't want to see any lifting but he would
use his discretion on bent knees.
Bang and off we went, with 20 competitors it was a fast and furious start,
once the dust settled I found myself in a leading group of 4. There was a
big guy from Milton Keynes, our friend Rod the physio from Peterborough and
my M50 Bedford teammate. On lap 1 I was stuck behind Rod and the big guy, I
was spending more time in lane 2 than lane 1, in my limited experience of
racewalking I had never been in such a close group going so fast. At about
300m we went past the judge and then big guy speeded up, end of lap 1 (409m) in 2.07! Already feeling very tired at this stage and I was just trying to hang
on and avoid the flying elbows. Pace settled down a bit on lap 2, past the
judge and big guy surged again, end of lap 2 in 4.21. Now we had dropped my
Bedford teammate, lap 3 and on the back straight we started to lap people
who were strolling round for a point. Around 1000m Rod stumbled and dropped
back and we were down to two, me and the big guy. Big guy was surging and I
was trying to hang on, 3 laps in 6.29 and off we went on the last lap. I was
still hoping to hang in there and win the race. On the last bend big guy
surged again and I saw him pull away from me down the home straight with
rather bent knees. I kept going hard to the end trying to catch Shelley who
was racewalking for the first time, I didn't quite lap her. I finished 2nd
in 8.36.5!! I thought I might get close to 9 minutes, I didn't expect to go
anything like that fast. I have racewalked 2000m and 3000m on the track this
year and in both races I went through the mile in around 9.40! My Bedford
teammate came 3rd and Rod was 4th. Shelley finished 13th in 11.38 (my easy
training pace) complaining of sore shins, still she won her agegroup!
Another one of my Bedford teammates got a DQ.
The man who won it was a decathlete who walks once a year, he looked a bit
big for a racewalker but he was strong enough to win, mind you if there had
been more than one judge there I think he wouldn't have made it to the end!
I racewalked an easy lap to cool down, the last competitor was still on the
track as I did this. On with the road shoes and I jogged 2 laps to complete
my recovery. Very pleased with my work, I had a chat with the judge for some
feedback about my racewalking and he thought I was walking fine. Rod was
amazed at my improvement from the last race when he beat me easily, a bit
more practice and proper racewalk shoes certainly helped.
Shelley, having got maximum points from her non-specialist events, lined up
for the 800m. She was looking a bit tired by now, she got to halfway in 85s
but slowed on lap 2 to finish in just over 3 minutes and was only 4th in her
agegroup. By now I was having a cup of tea and a bagel, feeling happy with
my nights work. Then the team manager asked me to run a 200m leg in the
400-200-200-400 relay! I watched Shelley run in the 200m, she ran as a
non-scorer but almost caught the scoring Bedford runner on the line.
Back to the car to find my track spikes, by the time I got back Shelley was
running in the 3000m. There were runners spread all round the track, one of
my Bedford teammates won the men's race. Shelley finished ahead of some
ladies but I have no idea where she finished in her agegroup.
Finally the relay, the ladies went first and Shelley ran a 200m leg. Then it
was my turn, we had a team of an 800m runner, a marathoner/racewalker and 2
sprinters. I got handed the baton in 2nd place and off I went, first 100m
not to bad but then whoooosh, 2 runners zoomed past me on the back straight.
I handed over to one of our sprinters who quickly regained the 2 places I
lost. We ended up 2nd in the race. That 200m hurt more than the mile
When the final results were announced Bedford won the men's match from MK by 2 points so by making up a team for the relay I helped us win :-) They
didn't announce the results of the ladies match.
End of a long day and back to Cambridge, this weekend we get to do it all
again on the track in the British Masters/Veterans championships at Derby.
PS We later learned that Bedford won the ladies match as well :-)
Midweek. Warrington, Cheshire.
Weekends. Milton, Cambridge.