North East Grand Prix 5 – 26th July 2023

by Alex Hird

On Wednesday I was back at Monkton Stadium for the penultimate NEGP fixture of the season. Only me there again, but this time I’d signed up to two events; 1500m and 400m.

My 400m race was up first, I had a good draw in lane 3, and I had a good battle down the home straight to finish 2nd in a time of 55.20s, which was a PB by nearly 2 seconds. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a fairly decent chunk in 400m terms.

Due to the way in which the evenings timetable was setup, I had very little time to recover for my next race in the 1500m. I grabbed a drink, went to the toilet, and I was being called back out onto the track. I very nearly pulled out at this point, as those who’ve done a flat out 400m will know, my legs were burning. Still, I’d paid, and I’m tight, so there I was stood on the start line waiting to hear my 2nd gun in the space of 20 minutes. I was also lining up in a race of 16 where I was the slowest rated, what a 5 minutes I had to look forward to.

It was an unusual start for me and, for obvious reasons, I didn’t set off like a rat up a drainpipe. Instead I got myself in the middle of the pack, and more importantly on the inside. My first lap didn’t feel great, but I grew into the race and got stronger on each of the following laps. My aim was just don’t finish last, and in the end I crossed the line in 10th and set my second PB within 25 minutes, clocking 4:20.67 which was just under 3 seconds quicker than my previous best. Maybe I need a 400m race as a warm up more often!

I was dreading the evening once I knew about the timetable, but it ended up being a cracking night for me.

The NEGP fixtures have been unbelievably popular this year, selling out within a couple of hours of entries opening, so unfortunately posting fixture 6’s entry link here will be pointless as it will be sold out by the time Crook-ed is published. There is however the open track & field meet at Shildon on the 20th August. Entries are still open for that.