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Scottish Masters Track and Field Championship

30/07/2018

On Saturday 14th July Grangemouth Stadium was the venue for the annual Scottish Masters Track & Field Championships, with over 150 athletes competing for medals in five-year age bands, subject to certain performance standards being achieved. 

Jim Buchanan of Dumfries Running Club competed in the 3,000m steeplechase for the very first time, in a race classed additionally as an Open event allowing younger athletes to further their racing experience.

Anyone with knowledge of track athletics will be aware of the unique nature of steeplechase, the dominant feature being the requirement to hurdle 35 immovable barriers, 91cm in height, of which seven instances will be the water jump. Jim had trained through the Spring to become comfortable clearing the barriers with a weekly track session, with additional work on flexibility and strength. Unfortunately an injury allowed only the use the spin bike for five weeks, with then ten days of light running and hurdle drills for final preparation.

Race day was a unique experience. Well organised and marshalled by Scottish Athletics, each athlete follows quite rigorous protocols for access to the warm up areas, declaring attendance at least one hour to race time, and waiting in ‘call up area’ with fifteen minutes to go. Additionally with a stadium audience overlooking the track adds to an exciting atmosphere.

Ten athletes competed in the steeplechase, five junior/senior men who specialise in the event. There were three  in the M50 age group including last years winner and championship record holder (12:20), with two M45 athletes making up the field. Jim observed that “My approach to this first experience of steeplechase and drop in fitness due to injury, was to maintain a very steady pace, saving energy for safe barrier clearance late on in the race. I was anticipating the big loss of momentum through the water jump landing, but overall delighted to get round without any mishap”.

Jim placed 7th overall, in a time of 11-30.48, won the M50 gold medal, lowered the championship record by 50 seconds, and set a new Scottish age group best performance by 27 seconds (from a time set in 1999). Jim acknowledges the invaluable advice of coach David Hood and fellow DRC runner Nicola Hood, ensuring a solid understanding of what is required.

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