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World Masters Athletics Championships

Anne Dockery reports on the World Masters which were held in Tampere, Finland last month.

My main reason for this report is to give those of you who have never considered this event a little taste of the thrills involved and remind those of you who have been before - Caroline, Jill, Sian, Dave, Sarah, Claire… to mention just a few, of the fun of it all.

Yes, it is scary running in such a huge stadium, but then you have the joy of hearing Brits calling your name and cheering you on, it certainly helps towards hitting some good times. You are representing GB - wow! It really does not get any better than this.

And anyone can go. There are no qualifying races. You do not have to reach any particular standard. You will be racing with the best in the world in your age group so, realistically, most people do not medal. They go for the challenge of getting through the heats to a final, which is an amazing achievement in itself. They go to push themselves as hard as they can and get a PB or simply to test their metal on the big stage.

For Pete Mountain the aim was to be in the 800m and 1500m finals. He was first in his 800m heat with a time of 2:34.27, which he bettered in the final achieving 2:30.96 which ranks him third in the UK. In the 1500m final he hit 5:19.83 and his competition included Paul Forbes! You can see the joy in his face. Success!

Charlotte Taylor-Green was amazing, and she raced to two gold medals. One in W35 800m, taking the win in 2:12.76, and the second in the W35 1500m, winning in 4:36.35. Utterly awesome running. She was also in the relays, and it was just breath-taking watching her overtake so many runners in that last leg. Mike Wilsmore claimed a precious bronze medal with a strong, powerful run in the M35 1500m, clocking 3:53.31.

As I am at top of my age group, I went without expectations but was fortunate enough to be part of the winning V70 cross-country team, and I was thrilled to get a PB in the 5000m and grab fifth place. And if you are worried about participating, one lady in my 1500m walked all but the last 100 metres and she was cheered all the way to the end - there's no excuses!

Best of all you make lots of new friends from all over the world and have a blast!

See you in Gothenburg in 2024???

Anne Dockery

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