NYSD 800m track race

Please see below a report from on of last years Nysd track meetings. Makes a very good read. 
Would be good to see afew more of us try them this year.

Race report NYSD 800 metres

This well-established event has been run in the UK since athletics converted from imperial to metric in 1966. I didn’t need to do a reccy of the course as I knew it well from Tuesday night’s training, there would be 8 corners and 4 straight bits. If I had any doubts I would just use the fell run rule, follow the person in front as it would be very unlikely I would be leading.  I also selected 800 metres as opposed to 5000 metres as I was fairly sure I would not be lapped. I had never ran in anger on a proper athletics track just presumed you turned up got a number, stand on the line, hear the word go, press the button on you watch and then off you go. Not quite that simple.  Apart from Phil Utley doing the odd one no one else from nymac does any of the NYSD track and field series so I will digress from the night I did it and let you know what little I know about them.  There are usually 6 events and they take place at either Middlesbrough Sports Village or Darlington’s Eastbourne Sports Complex, 3 each. They include all the usual field events and track events up to 5000 metres. You can enter as many as you wish but you have got to keep an eye on the timetable so your events don’t overlap.  Be a member of a registered UK athletic club, have 8 safety pins (more about that later), register on the night so when you get to the venue ask where HQ is, ask which official looks after your event, wear your club vest and be prepared to be nervous. Back to the night. I got to the stadium at about 6 and found out straight away where registration was and proceeded to register.

Official. What club are you?

Me. North York Moors AC.

Official. Never heard of them, are they local?

Me. Yes.

Official. What events do you want to do?

Me. Don’t know, what can I do?

Official. Here’s the list pick your event.

Me. (I thought go for it) Can I do 100 metres, 800 metres and long jump?

Official. Yes.

Me Is that it?

Official. Yes, near the time of the event see the official near the start, here’s your numbers.

Me. You have given me 2 numbers.

Official. Yes, one for the front and one for the back.

Me. Oh.

At this point the nerves were starting to kick in as I watched the stand filling up, what have I done? Most of the athletes were very young, 11 years to 18 years old so the spectators in the stand were the Mams and Dads of these kids as well as coaches and friends and they would all be watching ME coming last! My first event was the 800 metres so I walked over to the start area waiting for the official to give instructions. While waiting runners seemed to be appearing from nowhere, 6’ feet 6” tall, about 18 years of age, spikes on and looking mean, although there were 1 or 2 that were not, thank god. I would guess there would be about 30 or 40 of us doing the 800 metres, men, boys, women and girls and we all gathered round the official. His first announcement was “any one run a sub 1 min 50?” (By the way that time is not far off Olympic qualifying.) No one answered. “Any one run sub 2 minutes?” 5 or 6 of the 6’ foot 6’s stepped forward. They were to be the first round runners, no heats, just run and get a time. This selection process went on till there were only eleven of us left, heat 5, and we were told we would be all running together. The official had a fistful of numbered straws and we all drew one to decide our lane. I drew lane number 1, didn’t know if that was good or bad.  Because there were elven of us in the last heat some of the lanes were doubled up. The pulse in my neck was still pumping with nerves but I felt a little bit better as there were some girls (women) of a ‘fuller figure’ in the group. (All the senior events are mixed gender.)

The tannoy announced that the 5th and final heat was about to take place and we were all instructed to go to the start area. I got to the line, realised it was not practical to start my watch as normal as it was a crouched start and then placed my foot on the line only to hear the tannoy announce “will runner 792 (me) get back from the line”. I felt the whole world was watching, I did not realise the start would begin with on your marks, get set, etc. Back to the line again and I just remembered thinking 2 laps, don’t go off too quick but there was another voice saying don’t get left behind. The gun went and I went. I got passed the second corner and then hugged the inside of the track. At that point I took a very quick glance to my right but could see none of the other 10 runners, don’t blow it, keep the pace up, save a bit for later. I was still leading on the second lap but I could hear steps and heavy breathing. At the 7th of the 8 bends I was struggling and could hear someone on my shoulder but I had nothing left to prevent a lady pass me but I did manage to hang on to second place and have never been happier to cross a finish line.  After all the nerves and anxieties – elation.  Great feeling and a great evening’s entertainment that I can thoroughly recommend. As a nymac member the NYSD track series is a facility that we should use so I would strongly advise members to give it a go this year. The first one is in April, don’t forget your 8 pins!

For the record: I did the 800 metres in 2 min 57.3 sec and got ranked 20th in the country for my age, OK I know not many people do it hence the ranking.



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