Race Report : Woking Open Track Meeting : Wed 29th May


Why Woking on a Wednesday?

Well it wasn’t for Pizza Express and it definitely wasn’t sweat free…..it was all because of Eastbourne last Friday…..

[Now please either bear with my indulgence, or delete and move on]

Recently when my co club statistician, Alex Reid, set another club record (the track mile) my eye was drawn to the club record in my own age category (M55) – I know, I find it hard to believe myself sometimes.

6:17:20 held by Steve Austin since 2015….it got me thinking – could I beat that?

Then shortly after, by some quirk of fate (or sinister algorithm) up pops a message on my phone about the Ron Hill Mile Night being held by Eastbourne Rovers on Friday 24th May.

So I entered…..I used to do a fair bit of track running in my younger days and still have (sad I know) my training/ racing diaries from all those years ago… I checked – it was 39 years since my last track race (400m Hurdles for Leeds City AC in the Northern League at Cleckheaton!)

Race day came and seeded in the 4th of 12 races on a warm but slightly windy evening, with a track side DJ and encouraging crowd, I’m off and running but not really sure how fast I can manage….scary and exhilarating in equal measure…one lap passes, then at half way I’m at 3:08 – a good third lap, then the bell “come on, just hold it together”… I keep going and hit the home straight, trying to channel Steve Ovett in his pomp… crossing the line as the race clock seems to flip from 6:16 to 6:17, I’m not sure….neither is Margaret on her stopwatch….

Log on to Open Track and finishing 6th of 11 runners, there it is – 6:17:36…..I’ve missed Steve’s record by 0.16 of a second “Oh @#*&%¥§” or words to that effect.

As much as being so close was frustrating, the experience of being in a track race was magic and the Eastbourne event was inclusive, encouraging and had a great atmosphere.

Next morning pre Parkrun, I thought I’d have a casual look (more like a desperate search) on the Power of 10 fixtures for any other upcoming mile races that weren’t too far away….hey presto – the Woking Open Meeting on Wednesday 29th May had one at 7pm…….so only a three hour round trip on the M25 in rush hour – I’m in.

So five days after Eastbourne, last night was another warm evening but with no wind but also less atmosphere. I’m seeded as the slowest runner in the first heat but have the advantage of being 40+ years older than most of my fellow 10 athletes – experience will count I thought.

Off we go, slightly quicker first lap then Eastbourne, same at halfway then a second or two in hand at the bell. “Don’t @#*&%¥§ this up” going through my head as we hit the home straight and I went for the Seb Coe serene, floating style kick to the line…look up to check the clock and it had stopped when the winner crossed the line (some time ago to be fair) – argh !

Checked my garmin and I think I’ve done it…..but you never know….another nervous wait.

Finally, on Open Track, in 11th place from 11 runners, it’s there 6:15:00 – a new PB and new M55 Club Record!

Super chuffed and a terrific experience.

I really would recommend a crack at track running – as Stuart Corke did with a fabulous run at the Tonbridge Open 3000m on Tuesday – and certainly think a club trip down to Eastbourne for their Mile Evening next year would be good fun.

Final Note: Alex Reid and I as your co-club statisticians have now set 7 club records between us this year.

Thanks for reading, if you got this far.

Andrew Deighton

Race Winners

My heat : Liam Brooks (Polegate) 6:02:72
Fastest Man: Matthew Grindrod (Brighton & Hove) 4:19:08
Fastest Woman: Rae Le Fey ( Hastings AC) 4:54:36

My heat: Joshua Williams (Camberley) 5:48:36
Fastest Man: Martin Sunderland (Woking) 4:33:69
Fastest Woman: Martha Collings (Woking) 5:03:50