ATHLETICS: Veterans’ league opener

New blood welcome to join Rugby & Northampton master athletes

The Easter Masters Athletics League first match of the season was held at the Leamington track in fine weather which made a change from previous years.

The Rugby & Northhampton teams, which for the last few years had won most of the matches was into new territory; having lost many of its ladies team due to illness, jobs, or relocation and gaining several new males but without some seasoned performers. Added to his several of the rival teams had imported a lot of extra athletes in the closed season.

R&N veterans (all over35) draw their team from Rugby, Daventry, Northampton, Leicester and the surrounding villages; as they run an A and B team, “Lions” and “Saints” so need double the usual number of athletes to fill the slots.

The ladies teams having lost many of the younger athletes and with an average age of over 50 were forced to rely on the old guard to cover even the 35 age spots. That they did, and even won many of their events, shows how good these ladies are.

For the Lions Sally Hine was first off in the 100m Over 60, wining in 16.4s then dropping an age group came 4th in the 050 HJ,1.05m, 5th in shot, 6.24m and lead off the relay team. Jean Fail although also 60 Won the O50 100m, 15.7s, 2nd O35 HJ, 1.20m, in O40s 3rd in shot, 6.38m and javelin 17.52m and managed a relay leg. Yet more sexagenarians; Angela Copson won the 400m, 83.8s, before claiming 2nd in the O50 1500m, 5:28.6s and Carol Birch won the W40 2Km walk, 12:55.7s. Dropping to the 50 year old Team manager, Tricia Garner won the W35 walk, 12:40.8, ran 5th in the 1500m, 6:12.2 and a leg of the relay.

Kate Williams started well in the W40 100m, 3rd in 16.7s but then was forced to drop out of her 2 other events with a damaged Achilles, which actually cost Lions the win. Finally youngster (at 49) Lesley Willis claimed second spots in W35 100m, 14.8, W40 400m, 68.6, and the 4x200m relay 2:16.4s.

The female saint also sported 3 more 60+ ladies; Barbara Parkinson W60 100m, 4th 18.6s,W60 400m, 2nd 69.2s, W50 shot,6th 4.59m and a relay leg. Val Cross came 6thin the W50 100m, 4th in the W40 walk, 14:32.6s , 8th in the W40 shot, 8.25m and ran the relay while Ann Rollins covered the W40 walk in 13:30.8s for 2nd.

Heather Fiddament-Harris made a welcome return to the track in the 1500m W50, claiming 5th in 6:34.6s. for the younger ages; was Mel Ackerman in the W40 400M, 7TH in 94.4s, Wendy Jenkins ran 7:46.0s for 5th in the W40 1500m, and Maz Allen ran 7:13.1s 6th W35 1500m. Both ran legs of the relay to gain 5th, 2:41.5s. Due to shortage of numbers several events remained uncontested by the saints.

The men were better served in numbers in the younger age groups with a number of new comers to the ranks since Christmas. Lions wins on the day were scarce due to a high standard from the other clubs.

There were however a brace for; Ian Gidley M40 Triple jump, 11.39m and High Jump 1.65m, plus Kevin Murch M35 Javelin 47.02 and M 40 Hammer 27.92m. Second positions were the more common; John Moreland M50 Hammer 37.70m, Clive Morrison M40 100m 12.1s, Keith Richards M60 Walk, 11:49.0s, Paul Birch M35 1500m, 4:33.2s, Dave Cowley, M60 100m, 14.0s, M60 shot 9.59m, M50 HJ 2nd =, 1.35m but only 3rd in the 400m 67.1s. Third spots also for Richard Bowman in his first appearance in the team with a PB of 57.1s for M35 400m, while training partner Michael Langman left his wedding plans for the M35 100m 13.0s. Newcomer Gary Wallace took on the M40 400m claiming his PB with 59.1s, 4th. He also joined with Clive, Richard and Michael in the 4x200m relay finishing 2nd in 1:43.9s. Completing the points were Steve Harris M40 walk, 4th 12:05.8s and Terry Egan M40 1500m 5th 4:46.4. Unfortunately due to illness the team was missing a solitary M60 1500m runner which cost them the match win.

For the Male Saints Top points came via Paddy Lynch in the M60 1500m winning with 6:04.2s. Paddy has been suffering recently with breathing problems during training and was doubtful about running but having removed his teeth before the race found this a solution to his problem. Runner John Gercs stepped into the M40 Hammer at the last minute and was rewarded with 2nd 19.85m. Third places for; fast finishing Gordon Houghton M60 100m 14.1s, and team manager Mark Barraclough M 40 walk 11:46.4. Mark also gained 6th in the M35 1500m, 5:44.5s.

Debutant Kamal Kheldouni came 4th with PBs in all his events, some not competed in since school; M35 100m 13.2, M35 400m 59.4s, M35 HJ 1.50m. Adrian White having just recovered from illness ran 69.5s, 4th M50 400m, and a relay leg. Dave Bunker was also active; 5th M50 100m, 16.1s, 8th M50 HJ 1.00m and anchored the relay to 7th 2:00.8s.

Dave Ronchetti although short on training due to work commitments came; 6th in the TJ 8.42m, 7th in M 40 400m, 62.2s, and ran a relay leg. Andrew Marshall completed the relay team, ran 13.3s for the M40 100m and threw the M35 Javelin 26.59m, in his first attempt for over 10 years. Brian Summers ran a steady 4:58.9s, 6th M40 1500m. John Love managed 6thin; M60 Walk, 15:05.5 and M50 Hammer 15.00m.

Completing the team, and ensuring that for the first time in over a year every event had been covered, elder statesman John Evans at 76!, 7th in the M60 shot 5.75m. This is the best team score for some time in a much more competitive league than last year

The Teams welcome new members over the age of 35, especially for the ladies. So, if you used to do athletics and fancy trying again, get in touch! The website is then look for the vets page. Our next match is at Nuneaton at the start of June.