North East Masters Athletics Association (NEMAA) Track and Field League Meeting 3 – 3rd July 2023

by Geoff Hewitson

The third NEMAA Track & Field League meeting took place at Monkton Stadium on Monday 3rd July. Although we were fortunate that the weather stayed dry, there was a cold headwind down the home straight, which didn’t help the 100m athletes and also made for a tough finish to the 400m!.

Our men’s team had a reasonable turnout of 8 competitors, but for the second successive meeting, the ladies only had the bare minimum of 3 competitors necessary to constitute a team.

The men’s team accumulated 76 points on the night, our lowest tally of the season so far, but still enough to move us back above Elvet Striders in the current league standings, (they didn’t have a complete team) into 5th place. We also managed to outscore North Shields Poly for the first time, so not too bad a result.

Team Grand Prix for Men:

Despite their small numbers, our ladies still collectively scored a highly commendable 42 points in the league, which elevated them one place in the table.

Team Grand Prix for Women:

Top points scorers for the men’s team were Ken C (16), Percy P (14), Geoff H and Joe Hall (12 each). Ken won his age category in the hammer (12.19m) and came second in both the javelin (15.31m) and 400m (106.8s). Percy finished first in his 100m (22.6s) and third in the javelin (8.03m) and 400m (132.1s) – in the latter, a tightening calf injury meant he had to coast home in his own time.
“Turbo” Joe Hall made a welcome return to track racing and did indeed turn on the turbo in his 100m, securing an age-category 3rd place in 16.6s. He finished 4th in the javelin (14.96m) and produced a new personal best in the hammer, with a throw of 17.29m.
The hammer competition produced mixed results for our club representatives. Joe and Ken obviously did well, as did Jo Raine (2nd with 12.90m) and Heather Jones (age-category winner with 16.47m). However, things did not go quite so well for Andy T and Laura Newby-Higginbottom, both of whom failed to register a valid throw. Undoubtedly the most technical of the throws, the key thing is timing the release of the hammer so it exits through the (relatively) narrow opening in the cage rather than crashing into the side. Andy and Laura are both decent throwers when it goes right but luck was not on their side with their attempts on Monday. It can happen to the best of throwers – I recently watched a Diamond League meeting (from Stockholm I think – the rain was coming down like stair rods anyway) where a Lithuanian discus thrower, near the top of the World rankings, failed to register a mark with his three throws. Both Andy and Laura fared much better in their other two events, however, and collected useful points. Andy finished second in the javelin (16.85m) and 5th in the long jump (2.69m) whilst Laura ran well in the 3000m (13:53.0, age category 4th) and 400m (104.3s, age-category 3rd).
Jason Marr opted to go for the three track events, always a tough ask, but nevertheless performed with great credit. His times were 17.9s for the 100m, 91.4s for the 400m and 14:57.4 in the 3000m. Gerry ran in the 3000m, which was the designated NEMAA Track Championship race for all ladies and M65+ athletes. Although he finished out of the medals in the Championship, his time of 13:50.7 earned him 5 League points, as several of the athletes ahead of him were from clubs with incomplete teams.
Lee Newby-Higginbottom finished 3rd in his age category in the long jump with a best of 3.69m. He also picked up points in the 100m (14.6s) and 400m (71.6s). Both Lee and myself ended up with the “coffin” draw of lane 1 in our respective 400m heats, which neither of us are particularly happy with! My own 12 League point tally resulted from improved efforts in both the 400m and high jump compared with the last time I contested these events, and what I’d most accurately describe as a “safe” long jump.
Heather Jones and Jo Raine performed outstandingly for the club, scoring 18 and 17 points in their respective age categories. Their exploits in the hammer have already been documented, and Heather also won her age category in both the javelin (9.07m) and long jump (1.27m). Likewise, Jo was an age-category winner in the 100m (15.2s) and long jump (3.75m). Well done ladies on a brilliant effort!
At the halfway point in the season, the Individual Grand Prix competitions continue to take shape. We have a number of leading contenders across the various disciplines and age-categories:
M45 Jumps Paul Campbell (2nd)
F50 Throws Sharon Bridge (joint 1st)
M60 Jumps Phil Healey (2nd)
M65 Jumps Geoff H (2nd)
F65 Jumps Heather Jones (1st)
F65 Throws Heather Jones (1st)
M65 Throws Andy Turnell (2nd)
M75 Throws Ken Cawkwell (1st)
M75 Sprints Percy Parkin (1st), Ken Cawkwell (2nd)
The next league meeting takes place on Monday 17th July. Events are 200m, 300m, 800m, Mile, triple jump, high jump, discus and shot. Note that this is the only occasion when the mile is included in the T & F League fixtures. Also, if you want to impress your friends with how high up you stand in the National Rankings, have a go at the 300m! It’s not run very often so there are few opportunities to post a time.
Online entries for this meeting close at 5pm on Friday 14th July.
Geoff H