ATHLETE Darren Towart has earned a bronze medal while representing Great Britain at the World Indoor Championships in Poland.

The Tynedale Harrier was the second leg runner of the M35 (over 35) team which finished behind winners America, and second placed Australia, in the 4x200m relay.

The medal was made all the sweeter for the 41-year-old, from Heddon-on-the-Wall, who was originally first reserve for the relay team.

He explained: “I was at the championships for 200m flat, and the 60m hurdles, and I was pleased with how I did in those events.

“After they were over, I could have had a drink and enjoyed myself, but I knew there was a chance I could be involved with the relay. When the call came, I was ready, and it was a great experience.”

The British team could easily have missed out on their medals. They were promoted to third place after the Polish team were disqualified for a line breach.

Towart, a former rugby player, ran a good race, even though he was involved in a collision with an Australian opponent.

“We joked about it afterwards,” said Towart. “I told him ‘that’s what you get when you collide with a former rugby player,’ but he was fine.”

The bronze medal came just weeks after Towart set a new world indoor hurdling record, at the English Institute of Sport Northern Championship, in Sheffield, in February.

Towart’s journey home from Poland was almost as dramatic as his exploits on the track.

He explained: “There was an after party on Saturday night for the athletes, and there was no mobile phone signal inside the venue.

“I forgot about the clocks going forward at the weekend, and my phone didn’t update. I had to run 1.5km to catch my lift to the airport, and myself and other medal winning athlete had to run to catch our connection flight at the next airport.

“I’ve come home a very happy man, however. I broke a world record in February, and now to win bronze at the World Indoors is a great feeling.”

Towart praised the input of his coach Peter Venus, and said he was focused on county championships in May, and a European event later in the year.