British Masters Athletic Federation Indoor Track Championship

 I know to the vast majority of Arena members the idea of running a race on a track is a complete anathema. However a few of us do “enjoy” track racing. I had the dubious pleasure of competing in the 1500 metres at the indoor stadium at Lee Valley, North London on 7th March. Being in an indoor stadium is very different to running on an outdoor track; the first thing that strikes you on entering is the noise. The sound of the starting pistol is deafening, and the sound of the crowd is much louder. These sounds make for an interesting atmosphere; the long jump and high jump pits are in the middle of the track so there is always something going on. The track is only 200 metres so the bends are much tighter than on a 400 metre and they are banked so there is a technique to get the best out of them. (Which I have yet to master!) The track surface is also very different to a 400 metre; it’s like a carpet. Most athletes choose to wear spikes. (very short spikes!) The set up is very professional; there is a call room all track runners have to attend before racing. The timing of this is so we have time to warm up either on the outside 400 metre track or on the indoor warm up track track, in a separate area from the main arena. The waiting in the call room is the most nerve-racking of any race I have entered. I was aware the other athletes are the best in the UK and have travelled from all over the UK to compete. There is very little conversation at this stage, people eyeing each other surreptitiously, although some of the athletes have competed against each other for many years; I haven’t as I am relatively new to track running. 
 Next we are called to the start line like a bunch of schoolboys and given lanes. The gun goes BANG!!!! and we’re off. Knowing there’s a big field of athletes (10) for a small track I try to avoid bumping and barging. After the first lap I find myself in 5th place……and there I stay. I didn’t win a medal this time, but I did a respectable time of 5 min 5 secs. I’m not sure if running indoors is quicker than outdoors; there’s no wind resistance, which is great but you tend to overheat, and the bends are tight so you have to chop your stride pattern.
 Any way, it’s all a great experience, you should all try it! (When you’re over 35)
 Paul Gasson