ATHLETICS: National Indoor Pentathlon

Frank Blackwell, Lesley Willis, Sally Hine and Dave Cowley
Frank Blackwell, Lesley Willis, Sally Hine and Dave Cowley
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Gold for Rugby’s veteran athletes

Veterans’ National

Indoor pentathlon

Championships, Lee Valley

Lee Valley, Enfield was the venue for this year’s championships to find the best all-round indoor pentathletes in Britain.

Four local veterans from Rugby and Northampton AC ventured there to test their present fitness, which in the light of the current weather has presented many problems training outdoors for skills events. Their effort netted three gold medals.

Rugby’s Sally Hine was first off in the Women’s W60 age group. Although unopposed in her age group she still beat younger athletes in winning the hurdles in 12.74s.

Her high hump of 1.09m equalled last year’s mark, long jump was slightly down at 2.94m, as was shot 6.20m but she rounded off the competition with a determined 3:42.92s in the 800m. Her final score was 2694pts.

Northampton’s Lesley Willis also competed unopposed in the W50 age group but challenged the younger athletes in many events. Like Sally she found the lack of recent good weather just taking the edge of last year’s performance in the field events.

Her campaign began with the 60m hurdles 11.82s a PB, followed by HJ 1.18m, shot 7.04m and LJ 3.86m. An excellent 800m in 2:55.11s produced a final score of 2862pts moving her up to 7th on the British all-time list.

Young M55 Frank Blackwell who now resides in Jersey but still performs for R&N AC only narrowly made the start of the hurdles due to cancelled ferries on Saturday; arriving in England at 6.30am Sunday he then had to drive up to London arriving just ten minutes before the start.

Amazingly his time of 11.2s was nearly a second faster than last year. Long jump 4.03m and shot 7.11m were slightly down, but a high jump of 1.36m was his best for some time and a fighting 1000m at 3:59.78s was 12 seconds faster than last year.

His final score of 2485 was a 300point improvement and placed him 5th. As Frank’s birthday is in three weeks, he would be then in the M60 class, where this performance would have placed him second in the country at that age group.

Daventry’s Dave Cowley completed the quartet in the M65 age group. Like the ladies most of his performances were slightly down on last year only high jump being up to par.

Despite this he had wins in the 60m hurdles 11.12s, long jump 4.15m (equal first), high jump 1.33m and shot 9.16m. Only in the 1000m was he down to 3rd finisher, but having a near 400pt buffer before this event he held on to 1st spot with 3313pts, however down 100pts on last year’s total.