British Masters athletes away to a great start in Poland

With a teamof 393 travelling over to Torun, designated the 2019 European City of Sport, and up against over 4,300 competitors from 87 other countries, our athletes may be feeling apprehensive, but any tension was quickly dissipated when Richard Pitcairn-Knowles, figurehead of a four generation of a highly successful athletic family from Kent, had bagged himself a silver medal in the M85-plus 3,000m final that started at the unearthly hour of 08.30 to put the British Masters on the medal table. It took him just 18.57.99sec.

The other races following immediately as the Officials knew they had to cope with a mind-boggling 63 events, with up to 5 heats in some races, to meet the scheduled 19.10 close.

14 runners aged 75-plus fought it out for medals in the next race where Lincolnshire man, Victor Shirley, was to get another silver in 12,28.07sec, Phil Brennan MMAC finished  6th and Welshman Barrie Roberts 10th in a race won by the sprightly Spaniard Juan Lopez Garcia. In the third race of the morning,  there was a 6th place in the M70 Group for Ken Bowman, with Lyn Atterbury and  Alan Newman managed 16th .  Londoners Steve Smythe and Colin Oxland should feel well pleased with their 2nd and 4th placing in the M60 race.

Guy Bracken, NEMAA, was the favourite to take the World M55 title and he delivered emphatically in 9.15.25s in the second of the graded races. Ben Reynolds came in 4th, Other British Masters Tony Tuohy 7th, Geoff Lowry 10th, Anthony Roper 12th, Chris Upson 18th, Stephen Doxey 24th, Andrew Stewart 26th and Karl Hick 27th in the 32-strong field. SCVAC member, Paul Gaylor was the first of the Brits in the M50 race, in 7th, Graham Moffatt and Mark Champion 10th and 11th. Ian Fraser 17th and coming in 20th and 21st were Saul Gallagher and Alan Roberts.  Our two entries in the M45 race, Simon Coombs finished 5th and 21st for Darren Bradley. Christopher Roberts ran 10.52.52 for 18th in the M40 race won by the Spaniard Manuel Angel Penas Blanco in 8.55.41sec.  

When the women took the floor it was Gold and World titles for W70 Angela Copson and the VAC Hon. Secretary, W65 Ros Tabor, Karen Bowler was 7th. Averil  Riddell, 6th, was our only representative in the W60 race.

World Record holder, Clare Elms, won the W55 race by a clear 20seconds from Pedrosa of Spain, Elke Hausler finished  8th just ahead of Caroline Wood.  Susan McDonald and Sue Ridley ran Season’s Bests for 4th and 7th in the W50 as Lynne Champion finished 10th.

After her 1500/3000m double at the BMAF Indoor and 73rd in the English Senior Cross-Country in February, Zoe Doyle is now the World Masters W40 title holder in 10.26.40sec, slower than her Lee Valley time of 10.19.42, in a tactical race. Jacqueline Etherington , 5th , in a season’s best, other placing; Jennifer Duffy 10th and Diane Chklar 14th.  

The arena was now a hive of activity. 21 men had now completed the M60 long jump where Terence Timms, MMAC, finished 12th (4.29m) with his only attempt. Rasphal Singh and Steven Harger were 10th and 16th in the M65 final, won by Adrian Neagu from Romania (5.34m), who still holds the M60 record. SWVAC member Paul Guest was 5th in the M55 final.

There was a gripping contest in the M45 jump where Joe Appiah held the 1996 Atlanta Olympian, Matthias Sunneborn, to within a centimetre with the Swede winning 6.27m, Joe 6.26m and the Italian Stefano Tari 6.24m for the bronze medal.

Wendy Laing, NMAC, added the World W55 high jump title to the European she won in Madrid last year, clearing 1.52m as Worcester’s Melanie Garland got 6th place. Sue Lawrence got 6th in the W45 shot.

 Bridget Cushen