Masters Grand Prix Indoor at EIS Sheffield: A Triumph of Athleticism and Camaraderie
The Masters Grand Prix Indoor held at the EIS Sheffield on February 3, 2024, was nothing short of spectacular. Organized by the impeccable Event Manager, Tom Grantham, the event showcased the prowess of masters athletes across various track and field disciplines. With a fantastic turnout and perfect indoor conditions, the stage was set for an afternoon of thrilling competition and outstanding performances.
The event kicked off with the 3k race, where M35 athlete Mitchell Blundell from Cannock & Stafford set the pace with a season-best time of 10.15.14. Not to be outdone, Russell Parkin of the Midlands Masters delivered a commendable performance with a time of 10.44.04 in the M60 category.
The Masters 60m heats saw an exhilarating battle between M45 UK 100m record holder Dominic Bradley of Midland Masters and M40 sprinter Marvin Edwards from North East Masters. Bradley, known for his lightning-fast starts, set a new age record of 7.14 at the age of 47, while Edwards showcased his speed with times of 7.21 and 7.18 in rounds 1 and 2, respectively. The fastest open male sprinter of the day was BFT Academy athlete Sean Anyarogu, clocking an impressive 6.85 in the 60m.
In the female sprinting category, W45 Karen Burles of Reading AC delivered a standout performance with a season-best time of 8.21, securing the top spot in the UK rankings. However, the fastest female sprinter of the day was Hannah Longden of Cardiff AC, covering the 60m in an impressive 7.53.
The highlight of the track events was the Masters 200m heat 1, featuring a star-studded lineup including M45 TJ Ossai, M35 John Kirby, M45 Dominic Bradley, and M50 Mike Coogan. In a thrilling race, Kirby emerged victorious with a time of 22.75, followed closely by Ossai ( 23.02 ), Bradley ( 23.20 ), and Coogan ( 23.62 ), Ossai & Coogan setting  age records in their respective categories age 48 & 51
Another highlight was the gripping 200m race featuring Carol Holt of Northern Masters and Simon Barrett of Southern Counties Vets. Holt, competing in the W45 category, narrowly edged out Barrett, an M70 athlete, with a time of 28.13 compared to Barrett’s 28.17.
Notable performances in the 200m included Naana Adusei of Northern Masters clocking 27.29 in the W40 category and Paul Canning of Eastern Masters recording a time of 25.35 in the M55 category. In the open age category, Sagesse Nguie of Trafford AC set the track ablaze with a lightning-fast time of 21.09, while Hannah Longden of Cardiff showcased her speed with an impressive 23.94.
One of the standout events of the day was the fiercely contested 400m Hurdles, which never fails to deliver excitement. Jordan Mitchell from Sutton in Ashfield claimed victory with an impressive time of 57.14, closely followed by Darren Towart of North East Masters in 60.43. Despite his valiant effort, Towart, the M45 world record holder for the event, was unable to break the 60-second barrier on this occasion.
The 400m event was eagerly anticipated, particularly with the participation of Rick Beardsell of Northern Masters, who had just turned 45. However, it was M35 athlete John Kirby from Cannock & Stafford who clinched victory in 50.81, with Beardsell finishing a commendable second in 51.91. Katie Eckersely of Northern Masters dominated the female category with a time of 61.31.
David Elderfield, a multi-talented athlete holding numerous records, including the outdoor M45 British record (50.23 set in 2001 ) , demonstrated his enduring prowess by competing in the 400m event with a time of 63.70 in the M65 category.
Other standout performances included Ben Higgin from Sheffield clocking an impressive 400m time of 46.86,
Paul Bradley  ( M35 ) of Halesowen narrowly edging out Keith Hutchinson  ( M40 )of North East Vets in the 800m, 2.01.09 & 2.01.16  and Robert Shipley of City of York claiming victory in the open 800m with a swift time of 1.51.96.
In field events, Colin Hayton (M60 ) of Leeds City impressed with a pole-vault height of 3.00m, while George Heppinsall of Sheffield soared to new heights with a pole-vault personal best of 5.20m. Michael Bates of Doncaster and Amanda Cook of Welsh Masters excelled in the long jump, recording distances of 5.32m and 4.34m respectively. Julien Gittens ( M60 ) of Northern Masters showcased his prowess in the triple jump with a standout performance of 10.76m.
Jasyn Savage of Macclesfield stood out in the shot put event, launching the 7.26kg shot to a distance of 10.39m, while Allan Leiper, the M60 UK indoor record holder, impressed with a put of 13.57m. Hazel Barker of Northern Masters excelled in the shot put with a throw of 7.76m, achieving a season best.
Overall, the Masters Grand Prix Indoor at EIS Sheffield was a resounding success, thanks to the dedication of the officials, helpers, and the exceptional talent on display. The next Masters Grand Prix is scheduled to be held in Sheffield on July 13, 2024, promising another thrilling showcase of masters athletics at its finest.