It was ten past six, cool, damp and grey. I couldn’t see any other Striders. Oh dear, this is going to be a long evening I thought.
Yes, Tuesday saw the penultimate ‘Summer’ track and field event at a gloomy Darlington.
My mood suddenly changed when, in the distance, I spotted me old mucker Dave Fender. It was a surprise – Dave running on a Tuesday is almost as rare as hens teeth. His intention was just to do the running events but I used all my powers of persuasion to get him to enter the high jump with me. His first jump saw him clipping the bar with his foot. “Get that knee drive going mate.”
A few minutes later Dave had made his first clearance and Katie Abel had arrived to give support. Things were looking up. As the bar inched ever higher I felt increasingly confident of taking first place in the men’s senior category. That is until, out of nowhere, our old friend – the 7 foot Polish International High Jumper appeared. Blast! Our friend took first place in the men’s senior with a clearance of, well, somewhere in the upper stratosphere. I grabbed 2nd with a clearance of 1.35 ,and Dave got 3rd with 1.25 – a great effort for a first timer in the event.
400 metres was next – with Dave and I in the same heat. Dave clocking 63.6 secs and myself just missing out on the magic 59 with 60.5 secs. (Oh, if only they reduced the Barrage Parkrun by about 4600 metres…)
With a clash of events, Katie was only able to get one 12 metre javelin throw in before having to dash off for the start of the 3000 metres. The 3000 was to be the final event for all 3 of us. Dave (11.06 mins) and myself (10.59 mins) went off with the elites in heat 1. (the elites lapping us quite a distance from the finish). Katie entered heat 2 with the mere mortals, and ran a tactically astute race – keeping a constant 5 metres behind one of the men before upping the pace and easing past him in the last few laps. She finished with an excellent time of 12.37 mins.
Thanks to Katie for flying a lone flag for the ladies and Dave for giving it a try for the first time. The final event of the summer will see a return to Middlesbrough.