World indoors in Budapest


An account of Bruce Hendrie's gold medal winning week at the world masters.

World Master’s Athletics Championships Indoors

On Monday 24th March I travelled to Budapest to take part in the championships. My first task on arrival was to register and collect my race numbers. I was not competing until Wednesday so on Tuesday I got acclimatised, checked out where everything was and made sure I knew the procedures and timings for the call room. I then had a fairly restful day watching some cross country races in the park and the 60m qualifying in the indoor arena.

On Wednesday I was up early so that I could have something to eat but still be OK to race 800m at 10:35. All the heats were being run as time trials with only the fastest nine to qualify. After a good warm up the next 30 minutes or so was spent getting through the call room and out to the track to race. A hard qualifying heat with the European record holder, the British record holder, the German who would go on to win the final and two very good Australians but I managed to stay close enough to them to register a season’s best time of 2:35.37 and just qualify for the final.

Thursday was another early breakfast ready to race 200m at 9:40. Went through the usual routine of warm up and getting through the call room. Ran reasonably well to record a season’s best of 29.56 behind the American World record holder and a very good runner from Trinidad and Tobago. My time was not good enough to progress to the next round.

I was very nervous on Friday because I had had very severe cramp in my right calf during the night and I was not sure if I could manage another good 800m race. After a few pain killers I was ready to race at the scheduled time of 15:36. Another race where I was hanging on near the back but I was pleased to be in a World Championship final and ran a new season’s best of 2:34.47 in eighth position.

Because my calf was very sore I decided not to run the 400m on Saturday so Marcia and I had a mornings sightseeing by the river and then spectated at the arena.

The last day of the championships are always very exciting because it is the day of the relays. I was selected to run in the GB M65 4 x 200m relay. The races are run in heats as time trials and we were in the last heat with Canada, France and Italy who were the favourites to win the gold medal.  We were able to watch the previous heat from the centre of the track and it was a very close battle between Germany and Finland. Finland just managed to hold on to win by less than .3 seconds. In our race Tony Wells ran the first leg and we were lying third as I took over. We were still third as I handed on to Vic Novell who pulled us up to second place and handed on to Paul Anthony in second place behind the French. A very exciting final lap saw Paul pass the Frenchman and hold off a very fast Italian to secure the gold medal for GB by .05 seconds. Our time was a new British record of 1:52.94.

A very enjoyable and successful week in Budapest where the British team finished second in the medal table behind a very strong and large German team.

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