The BMAF calendar opened with a bang this Sunday in Sheffield. With 29 champions crowned on the day, the event also featured British, European and World records.
Highlight of the day was a world record performance from Fiona Matheson (W60) in the 3000, 11:01.55 the new mark.
On the men’s side, the evergreen Tony Bowman (M85) produced four British records on the day, in the 60 hurdles, long jump, high jump, and pentathlon.
By having a separate championship for 3000m, this enables our middle distance runners to really focus on this distance, and also avoids having to run two races on a single day at the main championships. There were some brilliant performances in the men’s races across the age bands as well as Fiona’s world record.Kay Reynolds, BMAF Track & Field Secretary
Matheson a World Beater
11:01.55 took just shy of seven seconds off of the previous world best, which had only stood since November last year, and was well inside the previous British record belonging to Angela Copson.
W40 champion, and third athlete home, was Lisa Gawthorne. A time of 11:27.00 was a strong showing for the road-focused Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harrier in her first indoor race.
Sprint Finish from Eckersley
Split into five races, the action kicked off with the youngsters of the M35 and M40 categories.
A stellar final lap from Dan Eckersley saw him pull clear to take victory in 8:44.34, more than 5 seconds faster than his 2021 outdoor best.
Hill Takes It To the House
The following heat was an all M45 affair, with Mick Hill leading the seven athletes home in 8:52.91. Paul Horan (9:19.41) and Jeff Prest (9:23.62) were behind, the latter edging his medal by just seven-tenths of a second.
O’Brien Dominant, Ridley Edges It
Dual records were attempted by M50 Tony O’Brien and M60 Guy Bracken in the third heat. O’Brien was targeting Nigel Gates‘ longstanding 8:49.37, while Bracken was looking to improve upon his recent world record of 9:39.20.
O’Brien unfortunately fell short of his target, bringing it home in 9:01.18, though still securing the title by some 58 seconds. Bracken was not so lucky, paying for his early efforts. Colin Ridley (9:51.45) secured the British title, with David Clarke (9:52.72) in second, both faster than Bracken’s 9:57.36.
Ridley Defeats All Challengers
In the largest single age category race, with 10 M55s battling for the title, Andrew Ridley led gun-to-tape to finish in a time of 9:43.42. Welsh Master David Williams was second in 10:17.43, closely followed by Paul Whittingham (10:23.71).
Oxland Best of British
M70 David Oxland was the star of the show in the final heat of the 3000. The Notts AC athlete lopped almost fifteen seconds from the previous British best, his 10:55.36 bettering a record that had stood since 1994.
In the remaining age categories, Mark Hargreaves took a commanding M65 victory in 11:07.49, while Northern Masters clubmates Rod Scholes (M75, 15:11.39) and David Tomlinson (M80, 17:11.11) both secured titles of their own.
Caroline Marler amassed 3959 points in her W70 pentathlon, well beyond Sally Hine‘s 2020 mark of 3674. A clearance of 1.14 in the high jump gave the Otley AC athlete her highest points score of the five events, just four centimetres shy of Rosemary Chrimes‘ British record.
Tight at the Top
Incredibly, at the conclusion of the W60 competition, the medal places were split by just 71 points, with silver and bronze settled by just 8. Susan Frisby topped those rankings (3817), with an incredible 1100 points scored in the hurdles, the most of any performance on the day.
Leanne Buxton (3612) and Jenny O’Connor (3122) became W40 and W50 champions respectively, with Buxton’s 9.54 in the hurdles the fastest female performance over barriers on the day, generating 984 points.
1 Championship, 1 Record
In his first time competing at a British Masters Championships, the M35 event, Max Hall eclipsed the marks belonging to the previous record in all but one event, his total of 3461 breaking the prior mark of 3387.
Jumps of 6.35 and 1.73 helped Hall to his total, but the standout performance was 8.55 in the hurdles, scoring 879 points.
In the M40 competition, EMAC athletes Sean Reidy and Clint Nicholls were separated by less than 50 points in the fight for gold. Reidy produced a stellar 2:48.07 in the 1000 to leapfrog Nicholls and take the win with 3194 points.
High Scoring Champions
Consistency was key for Phil Robinson, as he scored over 500 points in every event on his way to the M50 title (2864).
Darren Dods (M45) had both the highest overall points score (3674) and individual event points score (908) of any male athlete, securing the British championship by over 500 points.
Tony Bowman scored 2940 points in his pentathlon, well beyond the mark set by Tony Rawlinson at the same event 20 years prior. Despite not completing the final event, Bowman improved on Rawlinson’s marks in all prior events on his way to the British title.
Falling short of Bruno Sobrero’s European and World record of 3085, Bowman took two further individual event records from Rawlinson, and one from John Evans.
In the first race of the day, Bowman sprinted to 13.50 in the hurdles, taking over two and a half seconds off of Rawlinson’s previous M85 best. Jumps of 3.05 (long) and 1.02 (high) followed, both bettering the previous British marks.
Closely Contested Titles
Sole M65/M70 entrants, Irishman Peadar McGing and David Cowley (MMAC) won their respective age groups, scoring 3556 and 3021.
All results from the day can be found on OpenTrack here.
For those of you looking to get in on the action yourselves, entries for Lee Valley can be accessed below.