ATHLETE Darren Towart has successfully defended his Scottish Masters title in the 400m hurdles.

The Tynedale Harrier ran a time of 61.8s at Grangemouth Stadium to win his second successive gold medal in the event.

Towart, from Heddon-on-the-Wall, also won gold at the recent Northern Masters in Hull.

The 41-year-old is in good form as he prepares to travel for the European Masters in Venice, in September.

Masters events are for athletes over the age of 35.

Towart said: “I’m enjoying it. It was nice to defend my Scottish title, although it was in unusual circumstances.

“My two challengers didn’t attend, but I still had to run the race and I still had to complete it. It was a strange feeling to see one set of hurdles on the track.

“But I ran a good time and I’d like to think I would have won even if the others had been there.”

Towart was part of the team which represented Tynedale Harriers in a senior league fixture at Middlesbrough, last weekend.

Competing against younger opponents, he won his 400m hurdles race with a time of 61.4s.

And Towart was part of the four-man relay team which won both the 4x100m hurdles and the 4x400m hurdles in Middlesbrough, alongside Lea Stephenson, Tom Joyce, and Andy Green.

The day also saw teenager Katie Smith enjoy success in her 400m hurdles event.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Towart, who set a new indoor hurdling record at Sheffield back in February, and is currently ranked number one in the UK in his age category.

“We have a great club at Tynedale Harriers and it’s great to compete with the club vest on.

“We have a lot of members and I’m keen to encourage more of them to get involved with competitive athletics because it’s such a great challenge, and it’s a good way to improve.”