Seven days, 156 British medals, and roughly 500 events later, the action is over in Toruń.
A busy final day of relays and 1500 metre finals, as well as field, road running, and hurdles saw multiple world, European, and British records wrap up the championships in style.
1500m – Women
With no heats for the women, the opening middle distance race of the day was for W75s and above. With a gold and a bronze so far this championships, Iris Hornsey completed the set, finishing in 8:58.03 to add a silver to her collection.
In the W70s, Rosalind Tabor had taken on road and cross country earlier this week, but it was the track on which she had the most success, as the Vets AC athlete clocked 7:08.72 to finish second.
After two silver medals in the opening two races, Alison Bourgeois planted the British flag a step higher on the W65 podium, 6:02.59 winning her the gold after an agonisingly close silver in the 800 metres two days earlier.
As the fields got larger and younger, there were three Brits in the W60 final, Christine Anthony (5:45.60) and Sharyn Ramage (6:06.85) finishing fifth and ninth, while Elke Hausler was just beaten to silver by an American athlete, 5:40.44 giving her the bronze medal.
Anna Critchlow was sole British representative in the W55 final, as she placed fifth in a time of 5:20.82, finishing just a tenth ahead of a chasing American.
The next action involving a Union Jack was the W40 race, as 800 metre silver medallist Zoe Doyle (4:49.34) and Hannah Waters (5:37.14) placed fourth and 11th, Doyle just under two seconds from a medal.
The final women’s race had a trio of Brits competing, Sara Ellen placing ninth in 5:30.10. Ahead of her, Laura Haggarty and Alexis Dodd were adjacent in third and fourth, Scottish Veteran Harriers athlete Haggarty’s 4:45.22 ahead of Dodd’s 4:49.08.
1500m – Men
Barrie Roberts was the sole representative in the older men’s age groups over seven and a half laps, as his 8:37.16 placed him ninth in a well contested M80 final.
The much anticipated face-off between Paul Forbes and Alastair Walker in the M65 category saw the pair lead the field home by over ten seconds, though only Forbes made it onto the podium, Walker disqualified due to a lane infringement.
While Cees Stolwijk’s world record of 4:43.01 for the age group lives to fight another day, Forbes did improve his British record to 4:43.43 as he led home two other teammates, Brian Green (5:03.62, 7th) and Peter Mountain (5:23.46, 10th).
There was also a world title an age group below, as David Clarke broke the M60 British record on his way to gold in 4:33.59. John Thomson was the other Brit in the final, finishing ninth in 4:49.50.
A quartet in red, white, and blue took on the M55 final, David Cowlishaw (4:27.20, 7th) and Andrew Ridley (4:27.48, 8th) separated by a position and a quarter of a second, with Adrian Haines 11th in 4:31.59.
Leading them home, however, was Stephen Allen, the Scot finishing in 4:24.55 to add world bronze to his Scottish title from last month.
In the M50s, Dean Richardson came home in a world record of 4:06.02 as one of two British men on the podium, closely followed by Tony O’Brien in third place, the Liverpool Pembroke Sefton athlete clocking 4:11.21 for his bronze.
The final two races saw Gareth Price and Mike Cummings just outside of the medals, the pair both finishing fourth.
In the older M40 category, Price delivered a 4:06.96, almost ten seconds faster than the time that won him the British title in mid-February, while M35 Cummings was almost exactly a second quicker in 4:05.97, less than half a second from second place.
Only Jan Timberlake was eliminated in the morning’s heats, the W55 category opening the day’s racing over barriers, 13.71 placing her eleventh-fastest in the age group.
In the afternoon, all British athletes contesting the finals finished in the medals, starting with the W70s.
Jean Fail and Caroline Marler secured silver and bronze medals just seven-hundredths apart, as the British W70 record holder finished in 12.89 to Marler’s 12.96.
An age group below, Jane Horder was just two-hundredths away from revising her British W65 record, 10.00 seeing her finish nearly two seconds ahead of her nearest challenger.
However, World Masters Athletics list a slightly slower world record mark of 10.29, also belonging to Horder, and so the Midland Master could have rewritten the record books nonetheless.
Gaye Clarke won W60 silver a race afterwards, crossing the line in 10.85, as Paula Williams, a double throws medallist from earlier in the week, showed her versatility in occupying the same spot on the W50 podium thanks to a 9.71 clocking.
The final medallist, in the final race, was Catriona Pennet. The Edinburgh AC athlete recorded 9.17 to place third in the world, adding to her European gold from last year.
The half marathon was well supported by the British team, 22 athletes finishing the 13.1 mile race.
Stephen Watmough was the first team member home, finishing in 80:56 to miss out on an M60 medal by just 18 seconds. The Northern Master was fourth in his age group and 72nd overall as the only Brit inside the top hundred.
Next across the line was Susan McDonald, 83:49 adding W55 half marathon gold to her medal of the same colour in the 10K earlier in the week. Also matching her 10K medal was Clare Elms, 84:40 for silver in the same age group.
Between the two was Sibel Recber Latchman, the W45 athlete’s 84:34 placing her third in her category for a bronze.
Losing out on a podium spot by an even finer margin than Watmough was Paul Hughes. The M65 finished in 85:38 for fourth in his age category, the bronze medal winning Dutchman just a second in front of him.
W50 Lisa Finlay placed second in her category shortly behind, her 85:49 roughly a minute behind the gold medal time, with next Brit home Gavin Bayne finishing in 87:57 for eighth M65.
The W50/M50 duo of Jeannie Brady (88:16) and Gary White (88:56) were fourth and 22nd in their categories respectively, as Steven Doxey (94:31) and Colin Oxlade (95:07) were 21st and 22nd in the M65s.
Jacob Armstrong Plieth (97:07, 26th M45), Susan Payne (1:40:59, 6th W60), and Darryl Coulter (1:42:19, 30th M50) continued the steady stream of British finishers, followed home by David Marr (1:44:05, 32nd M50), Paul Parkin (1:45:13, 19th M55), and Alan Roberts (1:50:49, 20th M55), while Geoff Newton’s 1:51:38 saw him just 40 seconds from a medal as fourth M75.
Three of the final British quartet to cross the line were Jane Georghiou (1:55:34, 6th W70), Andrew Murray (2:08:28, 17th M70), and Kenneth Black (2:10:52, 8th M75), with Philip Brennan the final medallist on the day as he clocked 2:01:00 to take M80 bronze.
4×200 – Men
The first men’s relay team also secured the first European record, as Walwyn Franklyn, David Hinds, Adrian Essex, and Simon Barrett won a confident gold off the back of some strong performances in the individual one lap event.
The quartet were just nine-hundredths from the world record in clocking their 1:54.14, cleaving over a second off the previous British and European mark.
Paul Forbes, Peter Mountain, Brian Slaughter, and Tennyson James made up a cosmopolitan M65 team to place fourth, finishing in 2:01.95.
A second European record went in quick succession in the M60 event, as newly minted world record holder John Wright was joined by Pat Logan, Michael Vassiliou, and Peter Ilo to record 1:43.66 for gold.
The British M55 team were just outside the medals in fourth, Wole Odele, Leeroy Golding, Ian Allen, and Russell Whiting taking 1:44.44 to complete a lap apiece, as the M50s went one better in their age group.
Giuseppe Minetti, Craig Beecham, Michele Beltramo and Michael Coogan were less than half a second from the silver medal-winning Swedes, as they won bronze in 1:39.74.
Less than a tenth from breaking the British record, and two-tenths from bettering the world mark, were the M45s.
Led by individual medallists Dominic Bradley and Gavin Stephens, the duo combined with Ciaran Harvey and TJ Ossai to win their age group by over a second in 1:34.06.
Liam Collins, Jonathan Rutter, Clint Nicholls, and Grant Stirling pooled their abilities in the M40 category to get the baton round in 1:42.11, placing fifth, before the M35s rounded off the men’s relays with a medal of the bronze variety, as Michael Dickens, Craig Cox, Ian Horlock, and Michael Louise completed their four laps in 1:32.92.
4×200 – Women
It’s no mean feat to gather together a W80 relay team, as is suggested by the currently vacant British record and the fact that the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team were the sole entrants into the event at these championships.
Kathleen Stewart, Iris Hornsey, Betty Stracey, and Dorothy Fraser, each individual medallists in the past week, came together to set a new European record of 3:36.96, W85 Fraser dropping down an age group to do so.
That continental best would have been some consolation to Fraser and Stracey two races later as they lost a British record they had held since 2012.
Emily McMahon, Lyn Ahmet, Anne Nelson, and Caroline Marler formed a W70 squad that ran 2:34.35 for silver, seeing them miss out on the global title by just 16 hundredths.
2:12.16 was also nearly a British record in the W65s, as Nicola Buckwell, Jeanette Ashton, Jane Horder, and Caroline Powell delivered a gold with a winning margin of nearly seven seconds.
The gap to second was even larger for the W60 team, made up of Virginia Mitchell, Angela Kelly, Sandra Mitusch, and Melanie Garland. 2:08.47 was a time that saw the Brits lead the Germans home by over 11 seconds.
W50 team Juliet Sidney, Fiona Steele, Wendy Andrews, and Paula Williams placed fifth overall in 1:57.33, a creditable performance with Sidney and Steele running down an age group.
Lisa Boland, Zoe Doyle, Jodie Albrow, and Claire Spurway interchanged the baton in the W40s for silver behind a strong American team, as sprint, middle-distance, and multi-event medallists combined for a finish of 1:49.94.
In the final single-sex relay heat of the day, Joanne Ryan, Laura Haggarty, Alexis Dodd, and Nia Rutter posted a 1:54.38 clocking to finish up with a bronze medal.
4×200 – Mixed
With incredible success in both sets of single-sex relays, it was no surprise to see more of the same as the men and women came together for the final events of the championships.
With no British records yet listed in this novel event, and no indication of European or world marks either, all times in Toruń will likely be the best ever recorded, and begin to fill the record books.
At the top of the age groups, Barry Ferguson, Iris Hornsey, Kathleen Stewart, and Allan Long competed in the X80 category to win a gold medal, 2:46.69 leading home a Finnish team by nearly a quarter of a minute.
In the X70s, David Hinds, Jean Fail, Susan James, and Adrian Essex strung together a fast four laps to finish in 2:34.38, fourth overall.
Brian Slaughter, Jane Horder, Caroline Powell, and Tennyson James were the first quartet to dip under the two-minute mark, as they brought home the X65 gold in 1:58.42.
In a slightly slower 2:00.62, Paul Guest, Christine Anthony, Janice Pryce, and Stuart Lynn posted a European-leading mark to place second X60 squad, as a US team took the win.
A hotly contested X55 category saw Juliet Sidney, Fiona Steele, Lance Croft, and Rob MacDonald place seventh in a time of 1:58.57, while X50s Wendy Andrews, Jan Timberlake, Stephen Terry-Short, and David Shortridge clocked 1:59.32 to place 12th in their age group.
Another finish of seventh belonged to Ciaran Harvey, Paula Williams, Lourdes Bradley, and Grant Stirling as their 1:47.84 was just seven-tenths from fourth place in a tight X45 field, with X40s Darren Towart, Claire Spurway, Lisa Boland, and Ashley Reid two places higher thanks to their 1:43.66.
The final act for the British team came in the final heat of the X35 relay by Steven Callister, Sara Ellen, Jennifer Temple, and Craig Cox, as they faced off against a diverse international field, coming home in 2:00.14 as the last act of a successful championships.
In the M80 category, Allan Long improved in almost every round to take home a silver medal, recording two jumps over eight metres with his final two attempts for a best of 8.06.
The only other British triple jumper on the day was Don Cumming, contesting the M65s. A best of 8.49 in the second round saw the Northern Master place 13th, improving by some way on the 8.08 that won him bronze at the British Indoors earlier this year.
The earliest starts came for all women’s pole vaulters aged 60 and above, and two Brits took the runway.
Now a W70, Sue Yeomans looks to have added a fourth British indoor pole vault record to her collection, with the record currently vacant, her best clearance 2.20 at the third time of asking for silver.
In the W60s, her Southern Counties Vets teammate Rosalind Zeffertt took a bronze, her highest vault of 2.10 also a third attempt success.
Irie Hill is another woman with four British indoor pole vault records, and she wrapped up the W50 competition in just two jumps, maxing out at 3.10.
Stacey Gonzalez Betancourt (who spoke to MAUK yesterday) was a solitary failure away from W45 gold medal, as both she and the Italian winner finished on 3.00. The title was decided on countback, and the Vets AC athlete only missed out on the title by virtue of having taken two attempts at 2.70.
Gillian Cooke placed fourth in a closely-fought W40 competition, a clean card up to 2.90 placing her fourth, as both bronze and silver ahead of her cleared 3.00.
Finally, in the youngest age group, Dash Newington rounded off the busiest of championships with 14 attempts in the W35 contest, an equal season’s best of 3.00 giving her a silver medal.
Thank you to all who have contributed photos to these reports over the past week – if you have more from the championships you would like to share, whether photographs, stories, or anything else that might appeal to a masters athletics audience, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full archive of reports from the championships can be found here.