The final meeting for the current season in the Kent SCVAC masters athletics league took place on Friday 28 July at Dartford, writes Geoffrey Kitchener.  Our women’s team consisted of Rebecca Pickard; the men’s comprised Gary Walsh, Oloff Van Zyl, Sham Pickard and Geoffrey Kitchener.

Track events began with 800m and two superb wins for Sevenoaks.  Rebecca took immediate control of her W35A race as front runner and, although still being tracked at the bell, pulled away from the nearest competitor from 600m and finished three seconds ahead in 2:42.3.  Oloff in the M50 race also went out first, had a commanding lead by 300m and built on this for a ten second lead at the finish in 2:20.0.  Both races showed considerable confidence on the part of the winners.  Gary consolidated with a fifth place in the M35A 800m, a PB against much younger runners.

Proceedings were interrupted by an accident at the 100m starting area and eventually resumed by transferring the 100m races to the back straight.  Rebecca achieved second place in the W35 race with 16.2 seconds.  Oloff followed up with another win in the M50 race, this in 13.8 seconds, and Gary and Geoffrey took on the M35A and M60 races respectively, with times of 16.2 and 16.0 seconds.

The field events we were able to fill were the M50 discus (Oloff was third, with 24.57m) and the M60 long jump (Geoffrey).

The meeting was to close with the 4 x 200m, a rarely run distance, and our men’s team was geared up with hopes of a club M50 best performance which came adrift when Sham came down in the third leg with agonising cramp in both legs which made further progress impossible.  We were greatly relieved that, after first aid attention, it appeared that no long-term damage had been sustained. 

Overall the men’s team scored 25 points, of which 16 were attributable to Oloff, and our position in the overall series for division 2 was maintained as fifth, much as had been expected.  Rebecca has been our sole women’s representative for the whole series and placed our women’s ‘team’ also as fifth, a result which could not be taken for granted and required a win over Swanley/Eynsford in this match, which she achieved.

Despite the relay, there was general satisfaction amongst the Sevenoaks AC competitors that we had given fully committed performances, with a resolution next season to begin early training on the more technical events so as to cover a wider range.  The results are on power of ten website here.

The next events for Kent over-35 athletes are the Kent Masters Championships on 10th September (jumps, at Ashford) and 16/17 September (all other events, at Gillingham).  Entry details are at here and anyone wanting to enter does so as an individual, clubs do not send in teams.  Competition is in ten-year age categories.  Entries close on 24 August.  If you want to see what sort of numbers of competitors and levels of performance may be expected, the 2022 results are viewable here and here (jumps).

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