A Hastings Athletic Club talent won two medals at the European Masters Indoor Championships.
Steve Baldock scooped bronze medals in the over-45 400m and 800m in the Italian city of Ancona - his first European indoor medals.
The 400m I never expected to make the final so to actually come away with a bronze medal is a big shock and surprise.Steve Baldock
He said: “I had a really good time. I was capable of any position in the 800m final - if I made the final. I knew if I got it right I could get in the medals, but if I didn’t get it right, I could come last.
“The 400m I never expected to make the final so to actually come away with a bronze medal is a big shock and surprise. I only went there to try and run a fast time in the first round so that’s what made it really pleasurable.”
Baldock came second in his 800m heat (the first two qualified) in a time of 2:05.08 before going on to clock 2:03.58 in the final.
The final was quite a physical race and, as can often happen indoors, there was contact on the last bend. Although Baldock himself had his progress impeded, an Irish competitor caught the back of Baldock and fell.
“I walked away from that thinking I gained a place,” the 46-year-old continued. “The top two ran away and I was struggling to the line.”
In the 400m, Baldock won his first round heat in 53.5 - which turned out to be the fastest time set by anyone in the whole event - and semi-final in 53.7 before clocking 54.04 in the final.
Although these were his first European indoor medals, he has tasted continental success outdoors in the past. Baldock won 800m gold and 4x400m relay bronze in the 40-45 age group six years ago, and a few years prior to that won 800m bronze in the 35-40 category.
Baldock puts his success down to training hard and being part of good training groups, but modestly adds that an element of luck has also come into it.
Hastings-based Baldock, who works as a builder, started running in the early 1980s and apart from a couple of years at Belgrave Hariers with his brother Sean - the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic 400m athlete - has spent the last 35 years or so at Hastings AC.
He travelled to Italy with another long-standing Hastings AC member Wayne Martin, who cleared 2.60m in the over-55 men’s pole vault but failed his three attempts at 2.80m. Baldock wished to say a big thank you to Martin, who did all of the organisation of the trip.
Hastings AC, meanwhile, will be taking a coachload of competitors to the Sussex Road Relays at Christ’s Hospital, near Horsham, this weekend.
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