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Downham Market Ryston athlete Clarke storms to British Masters title

Tim Smith
Tim Smith

The weekend saw two Ryston Runners AC athletes proudly don a Norfolk County vest for the first time.

Robert MacQueen had his call up for the Norfolk U15B team at the Inter Counties match at Horsforth (Oxford) on Saturday, a well deserved end to a season that has seen his continued commitment to training pay off in terms of several PBs and club records.

MLNF Ryston Runners at the EMAC Final
MLNF Ryston Runners at the EMAC Final

Robert competed in the 100m (12.39) and 200m (25.3).

In the face of some very high level competition even these excellent performances did not see him progress beyond the heats, but he now has a renewed sense of what he needs to do to and a determination to work through the winter to attain the next level.

Hannah Brown, by comparison an old hand at this level of competition, acquitted herself admirably for Norfolk, winning her 400m heat in 58.73, the fastest qualifier for the final. In that final she placed second by 0.06 seconds, despite running a very impressive 57.64.

Sunday saw Callum Stanforth make his county debut for the Hibbard, Bemax & Peterhouse Trophy match at Stevenage. No results available at time of writing.

The Women’s Masters team went into the final of the 2017 EMAC T&F League at Bedford on Sunday as clear winners of the Northern Division, having swept all before them in qualifying.

However, a very depleted squad did well to finish fifth. A mere eight athletes covered the whole match between them, bar two events, an awesome achievement for a team whose age span was 51-72 years, and competing against much younger athletes.

Wendy Fisher stepped down from her own W50 category to race against women over 15 years younger, covering the 3000m, 1500m, 800m, 400m, 200m, and 100m (i.e. the whole track programme bar hurdles) and also taking on a 200m relay leg. Gaye Clarke drew on all her experience as a multi eventer to cover most of the W50 programme, featuring in the HJ, LJ, SP, DT, HT, JT, PV, 80mH, 100m, and 200m, as well as taking on a 400m relay leg.

Marlene Simmonds, the oldest competitor on the team, did her usual array of events, while the other 60+ members, Jane Ashby and Gill Hart, put in their usual sound performances, with Gill recording a PB of 19.1 in the, unfamiliar to her, 100m.

Liz Blakie drew one of the biggest cheers for her brave efforts in the High Jump, Sue Smith tried to fill every gap in the team so as to gain points, as well as officiating, and even team manager Helen Reed drafted herself in for a relay.

With excellent back up on the officiating side from Mick Ennis, Andrew Green, and Keith Morris, and further support from Jeff Reed, Martin Simmonds, David Lane and Hannah Fisher, Helen commented: “I couldn’t have asked for any more.”

For Gaye it was the end of a very full-on week of competition. Starting the previous Sunday she covered seven, then nine, then 11 events in three matches over eight days.

The seven events saw her take the British W55 title in the BMAF Heptathlon Championships at Sheffield, with a SB of 4,550 points, just 13 shy of her age group PB and almost 150 points clear of her closest rival.

On Wednesday she covered nine events for her division at the Civil Services Championships in Manchester, which she also helped to organise, then rounded off an action-packed season with the 11 events at the EMAC final on Sunday, an event which she also helps organise.

l In Sunday’s Great North Run Sophy Tarsey finished 18,253rd in 2:09:39.


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