NE Grand Prix Race Report

philI’ve always wanted to do track events, so when the club found me the North eastern open grand prix to do I was over the moon. I must admit I did have a few moments that I thought I couldn’t do it for one reason or another but after a few conversations with some fellow hoops I decided that I would do it. So I went out and bought my sprinting spikes ready for the series.
On the day of my first track event I was a nervous wreck, more than I normaly am before an event. When I arrived at Monkton stadium in Jarrow I seen a few people I know from other clubs, so after a few good lucks of them my nerves began to calm down. I made my way to register for the 150m sprint where I bumped into Scott Garrett and his son who was also doing a couple of events that evening.
After I registered I went and put my number on the front and back of my Saltwell vest. Then I sat with Scott and he pointed out a few of the sprinters I might be up against.  Then a few fellow hoops turned up to support me. (You have to love the support you get from the hoops). There was big Bill Wilson who came on his bike. Phil and Sam turned up with their future hoops. Then eventualy Claire Lloyd turned up. So for my first event I had a canny cheer squad.
After a few conversations with the hoops it was time for me to go and put my spikes on and warm up next to all the other sprinters. I didn’t know what warm ups sprinters did, so I just copied of the others and tried to look like I know what I’m doing. I felt so out of place next to all these young athletic looking sprinters. So I decided I would go and hide at the back out of the way with my Saltwell hoodie and hood up and my Saltwell buff over my mouth and nose. I got a fair few funny looks of people and one of the starters said I looked like a “radgie”.
Then it got serious when we got told what number race we were in and what lane we were going to be in. This gave me a chance to check out who I was up against and this is when I thought to myself this is going to be a hard race, I need to give it my all to be in with a chance to keep up with them. After the first few races went off it was the turn of my race.
Then I heard the starter say “stand behind your blocks” I had to prented to do this as I didn’t have any. I psyched myself up for the race. Then the starter shouts “On your marks”  I get down on my hands and knees ( Not the first time I’ve done this in a race). Then the starter shouts “set” and i’m ready to go legs and arms twitching with nerves.
Then “BANG” we are off I found it hard to build my speed op on the bend, then before I knew it I was on the final straight and I could hear the hoops cheering me on and then I realised that I was coming last, so I tried to speed up even more to catch the two just in front of me. I started to catch them and I’m thinking I can do this, I’m going to catch them, then suddenly they speeded up 10m from the end and I had nothing left in the tank to catch them.
I crossed the finish line in a bad mood and disappointed in how bad I done. Then one of the sprinters in my race came over and shook my hand and said I done a great race for a beginner. Then I started to realise I wasn’t that bad of a sprinter, then after all the hugs and handshakes and congratulations of the hoops I started to feel good about myself and that I’ve done my first track event and can’t wait for two weeks time for the next one. I think it would be great for some more hoops to try the track events with me.
Phil Askew
Click here for a link to the race – check out the slow motion on the bend!