Nene Valley’s veteran track and field team’s medal hopes were dashed after injuries to key athletes Ricky Huskisson and John Spriggs at Sunday’s Eastern Masters Track and Field finals in Bedford (September 12).
Despite these setbacks they battled on to finish in a highly credible fifth position out of the eight participating teams, with the club’s sprint relay runners providing the most memorable moments of the meeting.
The awesome foursome of Dave Brown, Julian Smith, Adam Fidgett and Sean Reidy re-wrote the record books when storming to victory in the medley relay.
The race consisted of opening and closing legs of 400 metres with a pair of 200 metres legs sandwiched between them.
Brown, the former World Masters 400m bronze medalist ran a storming first leg of 52 seconds and was followed by Julian Smith and Multi-eventer Adam Fidgett, who both added to the lead in their 200m legs. Reidy was handed the baton for the final leg of 400m, and the 36 year old, better known for his hurdling ability, stormed round the track to give the Harriers a winning margin of over 100m, and a league record time of 2:39.
Nene Valley were at their strongest in the Over 35 age group in which Simon Achurch pulled off a fine hattrick of wins in the Hammer, Shot and javelin. The track was also a happy hunting ground, with Sean Reidy first over the line in both the 100m hurdles and 800m
Dave Brown won the 200m with a 24.1 clocking, along with the 400m.
In the over 50 age group Sean Beard comfortably won the 3,000m in a time of 10:22, but the Harriers were hampered by a trio of distance runners having to share duties in the throws.
There was controversy in the 2k walk, when Nene Valley’s James Mcdonald was disqualified in the final lap while in second place, for allegedly lifting his feet. The race winner had clearly been obtaining some running practice when out of sight of the two officials. It was an unpopular decision as the walk is an ever present fixture in the league programme, but the event is mainly filled by athletes with no formal race walk training.
Despite the disappointed of not challenging for medals, the sight of Nene Valley‘s awesome foursome destroying their relay rivals will long stay in the memory.
Results: 1 Bedford & County AC 248.5pts, 2 Marshall Milton Keynes AC 242.5, 3 Chelmsford AC/Springfield 196.5, 4 Southend 195.5, 5 Nene Valley Harriers 172, 6 Thurrock Harriers 149.5, 7 Corby AC 125, 8 Cambridge & Coleridge AC 91.
Peterborough Athletic Club’s Phil Martin led the local contingent home in the Great North Run on Sunday.
The 37 year old long distance ace crossed the line at South Shields in 55th place with an eye-catching time of 1:13.56.
Stamford Strider Simon Fell came home 135th in 1:18.47 with fellow Striders Mark Popple and Neil Martin recording times of 1:21.28 and 1:29.36 respectively
Nene Valley’s Mike Chapman ran a time of 1:24.45 while Jake Norman of Bushfield Joggers crossed the line in 1:27.33.
Locals were out in force at the Swineshead 10 on Sunday.
Peterborough AC’S Kirk Brawn finished sixth in 59:23, while Stamford Striders Jim Morris could consider himself unlucky to miss out on the over 50 prize, despite a tenth place finish and a time of 1:01.19.
Peterborough AC’s Stephen Hall (15th), Oliver Mason (21st) and Simon Mead (22nd) all ran well, while Thorney’s Craig Crofts came home 19th in 1:03.59.
Gina Crane of Yaxley Runners was fourth lady home, with a 1:11.48 clocking.
Crane’s clubmate Carry Murphy finished fourth lady in the five mile race in 39:42.