An unbelievable number of 200 metre qualifiers, another world record from Virginia Mitchell, and much more besides – it’s all contained in the following 1800 words or so!
200m – Women
With the 200 metres the most hotly contested event at these championships, a gargantuan number of British athletes have qualified into either tomorrow’s semi-finals, or finals.
Caroline Powell goes into the W65 final second-fastest after a 31.97 clocking to win her heat, just behind the W70 world record-setting Karla del Grande’s 31.65.
In the W55s, Juliet Sidney (29.20) and Fiona Steele (30.08) both qualified automatically for the semi-finals, with second-placed finishes in their heats.
Three Brits will face the W45 semis after Karen Burles (26.38Q), Susie McLoughlin (26.60Q), and Yvette Henry (27.67Q) all progressed, Burles doing so as the fastest athlete overall.
The three fastest W40 athletes came from the same heat, meaning Lisa Boland was a non-automatic qualifier in 25.84, just six-hundredths off the fastest heat time, and final British woman into the next round.
200m – Men
On the men’s side, an M70 trio cavorted into the semi-final, as Simon Barrett (27.92Q), Adrian Essex (29.10Q), and Walwyn Franklyn (29.13q) all progressed, Tennyson James (27.07Q) the only Brit in the semi-finals an age group below for the M65s.
The M60s, however, will see six men contest Friday’s second round, as Pat Logan (25.95q) led home 400 metre medal winners John Wright (26.00Q) and Michael Vassiliou (26.01Q), as well as Peter Ilo (26.75q), Stuart Lynn (26.79q), and Paul Guest (26.88Q).
In the M50s, the Brits qualified in style, with Darren Scott (23.98), Michael Coogan (23.99), and Giuseppe Minetti (24.31) all winning their heats to progress automatically, but their escapades were nothing when compared with those up to five years younger.
Much like the M60s, the British M40s also qualified a sextet of athletes, which incredibly included the fastest four qualifiers overall.
Dominic Bradley (22.92), Gavin Stephens (23.09), Ian Horsburgh (23.12), and TJ Ossai (23.39) were heat winners, and will be accompanied into tomorrow’s semi-finals by Ciaran Harvey (24.52) and Darren Towart (24.59).
Rick Beardsell was sole M40 qualifier in British colours, after a 23.23 heat win, but there was a final set of six to qualify in the M35 category.
Craig Cox (22.99Q), Michael Dickens (23.32q), Michael Louise (23.82q), Ian Horlock (24.12q) and Dave Awde and Steven Callister (both 24.17q) all will contest one of the three semi-finals for the youngest men tomorrow.
800m – Women
The opening race of the women’s 800 metres saw the return of Betty Stracey, already a multiple medallist at these championships, as she came home in 5:11.90 to take W80 bronze. Just up the road, however, Iris Hornsey’s 4:22.62 was the class of the field as she won gold by over 14 seconds.
From wide winning margins to the tightest of finishes in the W65 final, Alison Bourgeois the sole Brit in action.
The British record holder over four laps indoors was swarmed by Swedes, a pair of them in third and fourth, but it was the one in front that denied her a gold medal by three-hundredths of a second, her 2:51.16 beaten in a dip finish.
The W60 final was the first with a full complement of nine athletes, making for a busy track, and four of those racing were Brits.
Sharyn Ramage’s 2:57.18 placed her seventh, with Christine Anthony (2:45.72) and Elke Hausler (2:49.71) adjacent in fourth and fifth respectively, but it was Virginia Mitchell who was the star of the show, breaking her own world record by almost three seconds in 2:29.96.
Anna Critchlow was ninth-placer in the W55s, clocking 2:39.96, before a brief respite from British track action during the W50 and W45 categories.
The W40s saw Zoe Doyle pick up the baton with aplomb, a rapid 2:17.11 seeing her into the silver medal position, before Laura Haggarty (2:20.62) and Emily Bonnett (2:20.89) rounded off the women’s action with fifth and seventh respectively in the conclusion of the W35 contest.
800m – Men
Welsh Masters athlete Barrie Roberts was the first British man out on track for the 800 metre finals, crossing the line in 4:19.19 for ninth in a hotly contested M80 age group.
Peter Mountain occupied the same position in the M65s, racing to 2:31.86, but it was world record holder Paul Forbes who galloped to victory at the other end of the final, 2:22.84 for a comfortable win.
In the M60s, Jed Turner (2:23.43) and Sean Price (2:23.79) placed fifth and sixth respectively, David Clarke ahead of them taking a bronze medal in 2:20.45.
World record breakers Adrian Haines and Rob McHarg stayed close together in the M55 category, Haines finishing sixth in 2:08.23 with McHarg a place behind in 2:11.56, with Steven Baldock recording 2:07.23 the race after to place sixth M50.
David Locker was ninth in a bumper M45 final covered by less than five seconds across the line, 2:04.56 his time, but it was Keith Hutchison who won the final British medal in the day’s penultimate race, 1:59.82 seeing him just dip under the two-minute barrier and take home a bronze.
Another six pentathletes tackled five events today, as the men’s pentathlons concluded. In the M50s, Gary Smith and Ian Firla both strung together a strong series, as Smith finished sixth with 3650 points, and Firla 26th with 2517.
Primarily a hurdler, Smith hit the jackpot in the opening event, 8.66 over barriers giving him 1005 points, before adding on 5.47 and 1.66 in the long and high jumps to receive over 700 points in those events.
Firla scored consistently in his opening four events, a 4.53 long jump his best scorer, before he unleashed a monster 3:06.29 in the 1000 metres to score 808 points, third-most of any of the 29 finishers.
Three was the magic number for the M40s, as three contested the combined event, and British leader Clint Nicholls placed third, his 3260 getting him onto the podium by a comfortable margin.
Jonathan Rutter’s 2438 saw him into 11th, just ahead of Matthew Dalton in 12th, 2352 his score.
Nicholls was strongest in the high jump, a 1.78 clearance the second highest among the pentathletes, but it was the hurdles in which he scored highest, 755 points for a 9.23 clocking.
The same was true for Dalton, who gained 656 points with a time of 9.71, whilst Rutter scored best over the final, longer event, 3:20.65 giving him 541 to add to his total.
Finally, it was the turn of British record holder Maxim Hall, who burst onto the masters scene in 2022 at the British pentathlon championships, setting his record in the process.
The 3387 points the Peterborough athlete gathered across his five events placed him third, just 30 points away from his British record mark.
Hall’s points tally was boosted by a stellar run of 3:00.61 in the 1000 metres, significantly faster than any of his recent showings, also being helped into the medals by the 827 points earnt via his 8.64 clocking in the 60 metre hurdles.
There was no shortage of women’s British triple jumpers on display in Toruń, and there was success in almost every age group.
At the top end, W80 Iris Holder and W75 Patricia Oakes took a pair of bronze medals exactly a metre apart.
Holder’s 5.56 in the final round saw her hold off the Finnish fourth-placer by four centimetres, while Oakes delivered a hop, step, and jump of 4.56 in the third round to take home third place.
An age group below, Lyn Ahmet placed fifth in the W70 contest, jumping 6.53 in the third round, before W60 duo Melanie Garland and Janice Pryce took on a field with a distinctly European feel.
Pryce now has season’s bests of 8.83 in every year since 2020, the distance placing her fifth, but it was Garland, a winner in the long jump on Tuesday, claimed a bronze medal with an opening effort of 9.46, which is also a new British record.
Jo Willoughby was a silver medallist in the W55s with 10.06, the British record holder placing second off of two valid jumps, Jan Timberlake (8.43, 9th) narrowly missing the cut behind.
In the final competition of the day, Fiona Davidson delivered three jumps over 10 metres to place third in the W50 age group, 10.09 in the final round securing her medal.
There was a duo of British trios in the pole vault today, as three men each contested the M55s and M60s.
In the younger of the two age groups, it was Andy Ashurst and Glyn Price left to contest the medals after the early retirement of David Gordon, and contest they did.
Welsh Masters athlete Price’s flying visit saw him clear 3.75 at the second time of asking, in only his third attempt, and it was that height that saw him take third place, only missing out on the silver medal on countback.
Top of the standings by some way, however, was Ashurst, the Sale Harrier. Notably a 5.45 vaulter at his best, his opening effort of 3.75 secured a medal, with a clean card to 4.05 doing the rest as he brought home British gold.
An age group up in the M60s, Ron Todd was unfortunate to record a no mark after proving himself to be in 3.30 form earlier this year, and so it was Wayne Martin and Ian Crawley the remaining British hopes.
Martin’s first time clearance at 2.35 saw him place 13th, with Crawley also entering the competition at that height. The pentathlon medal winner went on to clear a further four heights to finish with a height of 3.10, in seventh, just one height away from a second bronze in two days.
Just two men took part in the shot put today, with competitions for those aged 65 and above, and in that youngest M65 category was John Birkett, whose season’s best 8.68 in the first round saw him finish 18th.
In the M80s, James Sloan threw 8.96 not once but twice to finish 11th, also scoring a season’s best.
Fresh from an M40 gold (and British record) in the weight throw yesterday, James Taylor was back at it again in the discus throw.
After leaving his best until last yesterday, the Northern Master had no such delay this time round, his first effort of 45.46 securing a second gold of the championships.
In the M60 category, John Moreland added to the British throws medals with a final round throw of 48.80 to take third place.
Allan Leiper was slightly further down the field in 12th, 38.48 in the second round his sole valid throw.
The women’s hammer competitions opened up today with the youngest age groups, and who else but W35 Dash Newington would be the sole British competitor?
A 28.54 season’s best saw the Gateshead athlete finish eighth, as she strung together a series featuring three other throws over the 27 metre mark.
Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the championships, with two rounds of the 200 metres in many age groups, as well as the opening round of the 1500 metres and all of the men’s hurdles.
Race walkers are heading to the tarmac, after testing themselves indoors earlier in the week, while all the women’s pentathlons will be done and dusted by the time tomorrow is over.
As always, if you are in Torun and have photos of British athletes that you’re happy to share, feel free to send them in to email@example.com.