North East Masters Athletics Association (NEMAA) Track and Field League Meeting 4 – 17th July 2023

by Geoff Hewitson

The fourth NEMAA Track & Field League meeting took place at Monkton Stadium on Monday 17th July, where once again the weather conditions were generally favourable for competition, (apart from the almost obligatory headwind down the home straight!). Our club had a total of 11 competitors (8 men and 3 ladies) – not massive numbers by any means but at least we’ve managed to field complete teams (and therefore score League points) at every meeting so far.
The men’s team picked up 70 points in total, which leaves us in a fairly comfortable 5th place in the League. A cushion of 91 points or more to 6th place Elvet Striders and the rest of the clubs should be enough to guarantee our position, but equally it looks unlikely that we can get above Blyth or NSP with only two meetings remaining.

Team Grand Prix for Men

Our three ladies scored 39 points, and remain in 7th place in the League table.

Team Grand Prix for Women

Top points scorers for the men’s team were Ken C (15), Joe Hall and Phil Healey (13 each) and Andy Turnell (11).

Ken won his age category in the shot (6.84m) came second in the discus (17.82m) and finished 3rd in his age category in the 200m (44.4s). Phil “The Leap” Healey was runner-up in his age category in both the high jump and triple jump (new PB of 4.96m in the latter) and won his 200m heat in impressive fashion in a time of 36.7s. This was despite his exertions the previous day at the Stanhope 10k, although I’m sure I heard him say “It was as flat as a pancake, I don’t know what our Lisa was going on about!”

Joe Hall was a double PB achiever, with lifetime best performances in the discus (22.95m) and triple jump (6.45m). He also scored well in the shot, with a best effort of 6.98m. These performances were the icing on the cake for Joe, having just finished runner up in a golf competition at his club over the previous weekend. Now we all know that Joe hates to talk about his achievements, and we had to really force that last bit of information out of him.

Andy T also competed in both throws and the triple jump, and picked up 11 League points from his efforts: triple jump (6.39m), discus (16.01m) and shot (5.62m). Jason Marr showed the benefit of Ken’s advice and guidance in the throws with a couple of decent efforts in both the discus (16.24m) and shot (5.79m). He also ran well in his 800m heat, recording a time of 3:15.4.

Danny O came through to have a crack at a couple of track events that he hadn’t tried before and performed well in both. His time for the 200m was 36.3s, having earlier run an astute tactical race in the mile, starting off at the back then gradually making up places over the final couple of laps. His finishing time was 7:20.1.

Gerry’s night unfortunately ended in frustration, as he was forced to pull out of the mile with a lap to go due to a reoccurrence of an ongoing viral issue. Thankfully, everything settled back to normal fairly quickly, but he made the sensible decision to call it a night rather than risk doing the 800m or 300m later on.

My best effort of the night came in the 200m (even though it scored the least points). For once I managed a narrow win in my heat and was happy enough with 33.9s. As with the long jump, my triple jump continues to provide an almost perfect illustration of a linear decline in performance with age. 7.10m was enough for second place and 5 points, but I still can’t help looking back to my early 40s when I was jumping well over 10 metres from the 9 metre board. Now I’d be lucky to reach the sand from the 7 metre board! My third event was the 800m.

Jo R and Heather J once again performed outstandingly for the club, scoring maximum points in all the events they contested. Jo won her age category in the 200m (30.0s), discus (19.12m) and high jump (1.30) which equalled her personal best. Meanwhile, Heather won the discus (15.03m) and shot (4.97m), and also competed in a non-scoring 3km race walk, which she completed in a time of 23:47.5. It was nice to have Sharon B back again, and her performances in the discus (12.57m) and shot (5.42m) earned 9 League points from age-category 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

With just 2 meetings remaining, the Individual Grand Prix competitions are heading towards their conclusion. We still have a number of leading contenders across the various disciplines and age-categories, and although some of those currently in 2nd place have a more realistic chance that others, we should hopefully end the season with several winners.

F50 Throws Sharon Bridge (2nd)
M55 Throws Joe Hall (2nd)
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)
The next league meeting takes place on Monday 31st July. Events are 100m, 400m, 3000m, long jump, high jump, javelin and hammer.

Online entries for this meeting close at 5pm on Friday 28th July.

Looking further ahead, the final meeting is just one week later (Monday 7th August). As the season finale, this meeting concludes with the now traditional 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relays, It would be a big help if you could let me know if you plan to be there, and if so, whether you would like to run in the relays. Hopefully I’ll be able get most or all of teams sorted out in advance.

Also, (assuming the rules are the same as in previous years) each relay team is allowed one (non-NEMAA affiliated) guest runner from their club, provided they are of NEMAA age i.e. 35+. So, for anyone thinking of giving the Track & Field League a go next year, here is an opportunity to get a bit of a flavour of what goes on without any obligation or cost. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll try to fit you in to the relay teams.