With just one day remaining, it would be false to say things are winding up slowly, as the championships continued apace today.
The track saw 200 metre finals for all and the men’s sprint hurdles, as well as 1500 metre preliminaries, though the throws have now concluded for this year.
A quick glance at the medal table sees the British team in fourth, thanks to 32 golds, 34 silvers, and 46 bronzes, ranked behind only the host nation, Germany, and the USA.
200m – Women
In the oldest age group contesting the women’s 200 metres, Dorothy Fraser presumably claimed the vacant British W85 record in 57.14, as she led home compatriot Elizabeth Finlay’s 91.91 for a British silver and bronze.
The Dutch athlete beaten by Kathleen Stewart over 400 metres took her revenge in the W80 final at half that distance, as the British record holder placed second in clocking 40.60.
In the W70s, Anne Nelson was just 0.3 seconds from silver as she completed the lap of the track in 35.69, whilst the margins were even tighter for the W65s, Caroline Powell placing second by just two-hundredths in 31.20.
Susie McLoughlin was an unfortunate DNF in the W45 final, pulling up on the back straight after qualifying third-fastest, while an age group below the consistent Lisa Boland was just one-hundredth from the season’s best she recorded in the heats, 25.85 placing her third (and not too far from McLoughlin’s W40 record of 25.63.
In the final women’s race of the day, pentathlons notwithstanding, British W35 duo Stacey Downie (25.31) and Joanne Ryan (27.00) placed second and fourth respectively, Ryan doing so from the challenging inside lane.
200m – Men
British duo Allan Long and Anthony Treacher faced off in the M80 final over one lap, and it was the British record holder who prevailed, 32.51 seeing him run out victor as Treacher placed fourth in a time of 35.28.
In the M70s, whilst Walwyn Franklyn was an early DNF, Simon Barrett’s 27.79 securing a silver a for his second medal of these championships.
Moving down a decade, half of the M60 final was British as Michael Vassiliou (26.20) and Pat Logan (26.21) were separated by a hundredth in fourth and fifth.
Leading them home, however, was the imperious John Wright, who leaves these championships undefeated in six races.
More important, however, is the time. Whilst a world record eluded the Northern Masters athlete in his 400 metre final by just three-hundredths, 24.28 saw him go four-hundredths the other way to become the fastest M60 over one lap in history.
Michael Coogan raced to 23.94 in the M50 final for a bronze by a comfortable margin, Giuseppe Minetti unlucky not to join him after missing out on qualification from the semis by just three-hundredths.
A bumper crop of M45s tackled their final, as four Brits took to the track. Ian Horsburgh was another victim of the back straight, TJ Ossai finishing ahead in fifth thanks to a 23.85 clocking.
It was Dominic Bradley (23.16) and Gavin Stephens (23.36), however, who made it onto the podium, silver and bronze behind a rather pacey Swede.
Final competitor on the circular track for Britain was Craig Cox, 23.51 in his M35 final placing him sixth.
No women’s age groups were deemed to need two rounds, and so it was just the British men testing themselves in middle distance qualifying.
In the M65s final, two Scottish masters powerhouses will go head-to-head, as M65 800 metre world record holder Paul Forbes and M65 3000 metre world record holder Alastair Walker meet in the middle.
Both men qualified automatically from their respective heats, Walker winning his in a comfortable 5:22.43 while Forbes was two-hundredths from doing the same in 5:11.57.
Also qualifying were 800 metre finalist Peter Mountain (5:19.73q) and Brian Green (5:23.81), for a final which could very well see the M65 world record of 4:43.01 revised.
A bronze medallist yesterday, David Clarke won his heat in 4:50.11 to make the M60 final, John Thomson also making it through non-automatically in 4:51.49.
There promises to be great representation also in the M55 category, four British men qualifying automatically.
Stephen Allen (4:28.89Q) and Adrian Haines (4:28.93Q) are the fastest qualifiers of any nation, having topped the opening heat, with David Cowlishaw (4:30.51Q) a heat winner and Andrew Ridley a comfortable 4:36.30 automatic qualifier from heat three, Rob McHarg (4:37.42) just missing out a place behind him.
M50s Tony O’Brien (4:19.67Q) and Dean Richardson (4:20.45Q) both led home their heats, first- and third-fastest qualifiers overall, while Andrew Brown was unlucky to miss out in the M45s, 4:24.91 just a place outside the non-automatic qualifiers.
Gareth Price was a speedy 4:09.90 non-automatic qualifier from the first M40 heat, third-fastest overall, while Mike Cummings will do battle in the M35 final having qualified on time via his 4:12.29.
Blink and you’ll miss it, but the entirety of the men’s 60 metre hurdles event took place today.
Both Tennyson James and Brian Slaughter contested the M65 final, and while Slaughter was an unfortunate DNF after three hurdles, Eastern Masters athlete James took silver in 9.78, adding to his 400 metres bronze.
It took three attempts to get the M60 final off and running, perhaps as the generous Polish hosts wished to give the four Brits involved as much track time as possible.
Glen Reddington finished in 10.00 exactly to finish sixth, with Ian Crawley’s 10.67 seeing him place eighth, as Des Wilkinson (9.62) and Neil Tunstall (9.71) battled ahead for the bronze medal, the Eastern Master just edging out the South West Veteran.
In the M50s, whilst there were half the British competitors, there were double the medals, Joe Appiah and Gary Smith claiming the top two steps of the podium for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 8.39 and 8.64 respectively.
With three races remaining on Friday, Darren Towart placed seventh in the M45 final. His heat time of 9.69, as well as the 9.74 he delivered in the final, were the North East Vet’s fastest times since 2019, when he was an M40.
The M40 final saw Liam Collins (8.90) and Clint Nicholls (9.49) face off, as both improved on their heat times to finish third and seventh.
Michael Louise’s M35 sixth place came hand-in-hand with a late night, as he raced in the final race of the day. The gun sounded for his final at 10:14, and the Southern Counties Vets athlete crossed the line 8.50 seconds later for his fastest ever time as a masters athlete.
10K Road Walk
There’s nothing better than a good wander, but today the streets of Toruń saw anything but, as all age groups tackled the 10K walk.
Carolyn Derbyshire and Dash Newington tackled the younger women’s race, 63:18 and 65:10 respectively seeing them finish just minutes apart.
The time placed Derbyshire ninth in a highly competitive W45 category, as Newington’s efforts saw her stroll into the W35 bronze, improving by one position on her result from Tuesday’s track walk.
Ian Richards was an unfortunate disqualification in the M70 walk that followed, picking up three red paddles for a bent knee, a fate also suffered by M65 Paul Hawkins in the M55-65 race.
David Annetts and Ian Torode made it to the finish, however, the latter placing 12th in the M65s with a time of 68:22.
Vets AC athlete Annetts was exactly 20 minutes ahead, however, as the podium from the indoor 3000 metre walk repeated itself, the British champion’s 48:22 placing him second behind the quadruply named Miguel Angel Carvajal Ortega of Spain.
With every women’s age group in action during a busy day of pentathlons, there was British interest in four categories, as six athletes took to the track (and field).
In the W70s, Caroline Marler bettered her own British record of 3361 by some 60 points, her 3421 seeing her take home a silver medal.
The Northern Master bettered the marks from her 2022 record in all events but the high jump, dipping below 13 seconds in the 60 metre hurdles for the first time as a W70 to score 783 points, and also recording a 3.17 long jump along the way, her best since October 2021.
There was dual British interest a category below, as Jeanette Ashton and Nicola Buckwell contested the W65 category.
Buckwell improved on her score from this year’s British Championships to score 2699 in sixth place, thanks in part to improved jumps of 3.17 (long) and 1.11 (high), as well as a sub-3:40 800 metres.
Ashton also saw an improvement by the slim margin of 15 points from her Lee Valley performance, scoring 2984. The result saw her win a bronze medal, sitting just 40 points shy of silver, as incredible consistency saw her rank third in all but the 60 metre hurdles, where 13.92 saw her rank fifth.
The next British involvement was all the way down in the W40 category, where former senior international Jodie Albrow delivered something of a combined eventing masterclass.
A 9.26 clocking in the opening 60 metre hurdles saw her come within touching distance of the magical 1000 point mark, 993 placing her second ahead of the high jump.
A 1.45 clearance saw her secure the lead by a solitary point, and from that point the Belgrave Harrier never relinquished it, a 9.10 shot put and category-leading 5.11 long jump capped off by a 2:32.59 800 metres to secure the world title with 3675 points.
In the W35s, Nia Rutter was a comfortable second, as she added over 300 points to her W35 best, scoring 3261.
A 1.56 high jump, her best for some six years, was accompanied by strong showings in the hurdles (9.70) and shot (10.70) before the Blackpool, Wyre, and Fylde athlete rounded things off with a season’s best 800 metres, crossing the line in 2:36.98.
Grant Stirling had an early 8:00 start as he contested the M45 triple jump, and a consistent series saw him reprise his sixth place from the World Outdoors last year.
His five valid jumps could have been covered by a single size five shoe, as he produced a ‘worst’ jump of 12.28, just 24 centimetres shy of his 12.52 best.
John Bowden was another consistent performer in the M40s at the opposite end of the day, his 8:00 start coming in the evening, and his three valid jumps of 10.31, 10.38, and 10.48 saw him place seventh.
The best triple jump result came in the M35s, however, as Antony Daffurn saved his best until last.
While the British record for the age group is held by a certain J Edwards, this year’s British indoor champion leapt to 14.75 in the final round to catapult himself into the gold medal position, winning a lively contest by 11 centimetres.
Sole British competitor in the pole vault, as the men finished up their vaulting for the championships, was Brian Slaughter.
The M65 cleared 2.65 at the third time of asking to place sixth overall, before being defeated by the next height of 2.80. The Eastbourne athlete’s clearance was just five centimetres short of his 2.70 best all-time in this age group.
In the M60 shot put, it was perennial rivals Michael Hausler and Allan Leiper facing off with both each other and a field with a distinctly international feel, only two continents unrepresented.
In a highly competitive contest that saw just 43 centimetres between third and seventh, either Brit could have medalled, but it was unfortunately not to be.
Leiper’s final effort of 13.64 saw him finish sixth, with Hausler just ahead after a 13.80 put. That result, in the penultimate round of throwing, saw Hausler finish just six centimetres from a medal, in fourth place.
The final discus competition of these championships was rounded off in style, as Laurensa Britane and Dash Newington took on the W35s.
Newington approached her season’s best with a throw of 27.09 in the fourth round, placing her sixth, but it was Britane who came away with silverware (or rather goldware), as her third attempt of 34.42 saw her top the standings by nearly three metres.
In an incredibly consistent series that had four throws over 16.80, British record holder Anne Martin took bronze in the W85 category, her fifth round throw of 17.05 sealing the deal.
Ten years below, Rosemary Hutton was barely a foot away from a W75 medal, 27.65 in the final round placing her fourth.
If there were few British athletes in the older age groups, the W60 final more than made up for it, as the Union Jack was represented on the chests of no less than seven different athletes.
Christine Ivory (23.21, 14th), Wendy Dunsford (22.20, 15th), Shannon Evans (18.15, 16th), and Brenda Russell (17.67, 17th) all finished alongside each other, with Kim Weir’s 29.59 and Gaye Clarke’s 26.33 placing them either side of the cut, eighth and ninth respectively.
However, leading the group home was Karen Jones, sneaking into the silver medal spot by 15 centimetres, her best throw a 33.98 in the final round.
Lorna Foster rounded out British participation in the long throws at this championships in the W55 competition, a second round effort of 29.25 seeing her place 10th.
Tomorrow will see the 1500 metres finals, as well as the women’s 60 metre hurdles, with much of the day devoted to 4×200 metre relays.
Out on the road, there’s a half marathon for the long distance athletes, with triple jump and pole vault the final field events to wrap up.
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.