I was privileged to watch the Team Taylor element of the Club compete in the World Masters championships in Malaga. Taking over the baton of support from Charlotte on the Saturday and in time for the 1,500m heats and finals.
Racing in 30 plus degrees of heat was going to be tough, and especially considering the recent downturn in the British weather acclimatisation was out the question.
Qualification for the M55 was top two in each heat along with eight fastest loser spots. Tony (Roper) continued his recent good form which has seen PB’s in his last three outings, nudged his 5k time to 17:07.67 when finishing 12th for the 5k earlier in the week.
Tony’s was the first heat and was always in contention keeping a close eye on the leaders all the way until the final sprint for the line which he reached in 4:41.05 and in 4th place. There then followed a period of anxious nail biting as the following heats unfolded, but there was nothing to worry about as his time was 10th fastest on the day.
The Ladies turn and this time, top two and 10 fastest losers from 3 heats. Sarah Everitt went in the first heat and Clare Jolliffe in the third.
Sarah always looked like she knew what she was doing and stuck to her game plan. Never out of the top three positions and hugging the kerb, the leading group of five were reduced to four. Sarah looked her usual composed self and closed in a time very close to her PB in 5:04.46.
As the second heat concluded I found myself and Ian Humphries in the stand trying to work out what time Clare would have to run in order to progress to the final.
It was clear that Clare still not fully recovered for her exertions for the 5,000m (where she’d collapsed over the line), was still determined to get through the round and make the final. Clare’s approach was rightly more cautious than Sarah’s, as she sat in the middle of the field and gradually picked off several runners. With a time of 5:25.25 Clare was 7th in her heat and was delighted to see a little ‘q’ next to her name on the results.
Tony ran close to the back of the quality pack and was rewarded in the final with his 5th PB (masters) in consecutive races, when finishing in 4:40.46 which represented close to an 11 second improvement on his 2017 time.
Sarah Everitt had decided that if nothing else she was going to come home having done herself justice. Although going with the leading four would have been suicidal Sarah was clearly the best of the rest and gradually pulled clear of the middle pack of three. Clare on the other hand was struggling with both the heat and exhaustion.
Running in the first of six heats, Pete Mountain got his tactics spot on in the heats with only the first two guaranteed to go through automatically. Tracking the pace setter on the first lap and going into the lead early on the second lap, he made sure of qualification easing to the line in second spot.
Sarah had similar thoughts and decided to run from the front and that she did until the final straight where she was just pipped at the line.
Although Pete ran a seasons best in the semi final, he found the pace just a little too hot and would have needed to run a life time best to qualify for the final.
It would be hard for me to comment on how Sarah performed in the final of the 800m as I wasn’t there, the four who watched said it was her best race of the year!
As a Coach, I’m really proud of all four athletes, as I know some of the sacrifices made to get there. I hope they agree that the experience was well worth the hard work put in.