European Masters Athletics have named the winners of the European Best Masters awards for the year of 2022, with three British individuals and one relay team taking home top prize.

Mensah Elliott took the men’s sprints award, whilst there was a lockout in the long distance category as Alastair Walker and Angela Copson secured both the men’s and women’s prizes.

The final prize came in the men’s relay category, where M60 team of Ronnie Hunter, John Wright, Peter Ilo, and Michael Vassiliou were selected as the best Europe had to offer in 2022.

One-fifth of this year’s awards were won by Brits, a big improvement on the combined 2020-2021 prize which saw Tony Bowman as sole British award-winner.

The winners will be presented with their awards at the European Outdoor Championships in Pescara, Italy, in September.

European Best Men’s Sprints — Mensah Elliott

It was a short season for Southern Counties Vets’ Elliot, but the M45 athlete made the most of it.

Winning the 60 metre hurdles at European Indoors in 8.20, as well as taking home a silver in the flat 60, Elliott went significantly faster over barriers two weeks later, racing to 7.91 for a world indoor record.

The only outdoor performances from the Brit in 2022 came at the World Championships in Tampere, but two displays of top tier hurdling saw Elliott take home the 110 metre hurdles world title in 14.64, breaking the European record in the process.

European Best Women’s Long Distance — Angela Copson

Copson was incredibly well-raced in 2022, recording 54 performances on the Power of 10.

Having moved into the W75 age group last year, the Midland Master added another three world outdoor records to a collection that now totals nine.

Copson returned home from the World Outdoor Championships with four gold medals in the 800, 1500, and 5000 metres on track, as well as 10K on the road.

3:07.19 and 22:53.55 in Tampere saw her set world marks in the 800 and 5000 respectively, with a 6:20.93 win at the British Championships over 1500 giving her a third record.

Copson at this year’s England Masters Inter-Area Challenge | Photo: James Davis

European Best Men’s Long Distance — Alastair Walker

Joining Copson as a long distance great was Scot Alastair Walker, also well raced in 2022.

16:36.59 for 5000 metres at the Irish Championships late in the season saw the Scottish Veteran Harrier secure a European record, but his best performances were reserved for the road.

16:36, 28:16, and 34:36 were new British M65 bests over 5K, 5 miles, and 10K respectively (European and world records are not recorded at these distances), whilst a 55:19 chip time for ten miles on the record ineligible Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler would surely have seen Walker break the 60:11 British record on a legal course.

European Best Men’s Relays — British M60 Squad

The relay squad of Hunter, Wright, Ilo, and Vassiliou tore apart their competition in Finland at last year’s World Outdoor Championships, their 48.53 agonisingly close to the British record of 48.45, and almost three seconds faster than their nearest challengers.

More recently, Wright, Ilo, and Vassiliou were gold medal winners in the 4×200 relay at the World Indoor Championships, with Wright and Vassiliou also winning individual medals across the championships as the former took home the world indoor M60 200 metres record.

Vassiliou and Wright post-race in Torun | Photo: Adrian Essex

By James Davis

James is Track & Field Communications lead for BMAF, as well as an athletics official, event organiser, and sports journalist.