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Barrett wins big as Newbury AC athletes impress at European Masters Championships

Six Newbury Athletic Club athletes swapped the misty autumn West Berkshire mornings for the sunnier climes of Pescara, Italy, to represent Great Britain at the European Masters Athletics Championships last week.

The star of the show was club president and sprint coach Simon Barrett, who made the most of moving up an age group to the M70 category.

Having never before won an individual global outdoor medal, Barrett broke his duck the first time he took to the Italian track, earning the bronze medal after a photo finish in the 100m.

Simon Barrett crosses the line for gold
Simon Barrett crosses the line for gold

Barrett then went one better in the 200m, winning silver, before marking a memorable couple of days the following afternoon when he romped home to scoop the 400m gold.

As if that wasn’t enough, he teamed up with fellow GB sprinters to win another two golds, in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

The club’s other medal came courtesy of Jess Franklin, who finished fifth in the V40 cross country following a determined run. When her finish was combined with her two fastest compatriots, GB’s overall score was enough to take home a silver medal in the team competition.

Some of the Newbury AC team in Pescara
Some of the Newbury AC team in Pescara

Craig Beecham and Jenny O’Connor had both looked like missing out on the event through injuries, but recovered enough for Beecham to finish sixth in the M50 long jump and O’Connor to come home seventh in the M35 3000m steeplechase, setting a new season’s best time in the process.

International debutant Mike Robbins, in his first year competing in masters athletics, was a creditable seventh in the M35 3000m steeplechase, while club chair Bob Broadbridge exceeded expectations to finish 12th in the M60 weight throw and ninth in the pentathlon.

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