2024 Photo by BoliviaInteligente on Unsplash2024 Photo by BoliviaInteligente on Unsplash

A pastiche, some age graded calculations, and my peers

As the year winds down, it’s a fitting time to take stock of the impressive accomplishments by our athletes at the British Masters Athletics Federation. This blog post includes a pastiche nonsense poem, some age graded calculations provided by Fanis Xouryas, and some scarily good sprinting.

Let’s start with the nonsense

With apologies to Lewis Carroll and thanks to ChatGPT

You are old Master Athlete," the young one said,
"And your once brawny limbs are quite frayed.
Yet your spirit's not withered, your will's not decayed,
Pray, how do you manage to stay unafraid?"

"In my youth," said the master, his eyes all agleam,
"I ran like the wind, through each valley and stream.
I leapt, I competed, in the sun's golden beam,
And the thrill of the chase was my greatest dream."

"You are old, Master Athlete, your callow days gone,
Your sprint has slowed down, and your jumps not as strong.
Yet you train with a passion, determined and long,
Tell me, how do you still keep your vigor so strong?"

"In my prime," said the master, his voice filled with cheer,
"I hurdled through hurdles, with nary a fear.
I vaulted and threw, with a thunderous cheer,
Still the joy of the game, oh, it lingers near."

"You are old, Master Athlete, your records surpassed,
Your victories etched in the athletic vast.
Yet you stand here today, unfazed by the past,
Pray, how does the flame of your passion still last?"

"In my heyday," said the master, his gaze far away,
"I competed with heart, in each race, in each play.
I soared and I conquered, in sun and in gray,
And the love for the sport, in my heart, it does stay."

"Now I stride in the stadia, in age grade's embrace,
In the arena of masters, I find my place.
With camaraderie sweet, and a smile on my face,
I relish the joy, and the triumph I chase."

"You are old, Master Athlete, but age is just lore,
For the fire in your soul burns as bright as before.
In the realm of masters, where memories adore,
You're a champion still, and forevermore."

Age Graded Calculations

Most of us are probably familiar with these, they are a way of making the metres shorter, and the seconds longer so that the more mature athletes can compare our performances with Katarina Johnson-Thompson or whoever.

The Parkrun includes an age graded score as a matter of course. Look at the latest results from your local parkrun, choose the detailed view and sort by age grade and you’ll probably find a range from about 30% up to 90%.

The Power of 10 also does a calculation – select the view by age graded drop down to see this. I’d recommend not comparing your scores with , for example, Zharnel Hughes

And while the BMAF Brand emphasises very clearly the inclusivity of Masters Athletics we should take the opportunity to enjoy some of the excellent performances. In October Xanis did some calculations on performances in Pescara and published them on Facebook. He has given permission to use the material, so thanks for that. I haven’t personally checked the results.

It is heartening to see how many British performances make his “>95%” table.

M70 Sprinting – strength in depth – my perspective

Following up on “How I got into Masters’ Athletics” here is a small review of one aspect of where things stand now. If you’d like to have your “How I got into . . . ” story published or follow up on one that has been, please get in touch with me aessex@bmaf.org.uk.

My ambition when I wrote the original “How I got into . . .” piece was to become the BMAF M80 100m champion in 2031. Looking at my peer group, that is looking increasingly unlikely. Set aside the arthritis, and the continuing weakness for almond croissants, see just how competitive this group is.

The European Championships in Pescara have been a success for the British. The new arrangements for team managers appear to have paid dividends and judging by the success of the relay teams, the selection guidance also seems to have worked

But I have been particularly struck by the successes of the M70 sprinters. I might have been one of them but wasn’t able to go to Pescara, though I was part of the squad in Torun.

It has been a good year.

M70 Sprinting -Torun World Indoors Championships

Torun brought some individual medals :

  • Simon Barrett
    • bronze in the 60m
    • silver in the 200m
    • and unlucky to miss a medal in the 400m following a rather muscular overtaking manoeuvre.
  • Wally Franklyn made the 200m final
  • I made the 400m final.
Four brits in the call room for 200m heat in Torun

In the 200m there were 4 of us in a single heat, with three qualifying

And there was Gold in the 4 x 200m relay in a stunning time just 9/100ths outside the world record. Frustrating when  a bit of work on the handovers might have brought a 9/10ths improvement.

As a team the four never eased up on the Americans, leaving Simon to really make the pressure tell on the final leg

M70 Sprinting – Pescara European Outdoor Championships

Pescara saw a group of 7 British M70 sprinters contesting the three distances.

The 100m saw all 5 British entrants reaching the finals, making a clean sweep of the podium as well as 6th and 7th.

Steve Peters set a new European Record (12.96s) in winning the 100m. It is his first year as M70 and he is continuing his practice of having the number 1 against his performances in the UK rankings on the right hand side of his Power of 10 page (https://thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=35078)

In the 200m the 6 British entrants resulted in four finalists, taking 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th places, with Steve Peters again the winner.

In the 400m the 5 British entrants resulted in 4 Finalists, finishing there in 1st, 2nd , 5th and 6th places, Simon Barrett taking the gold.

With such a dominant group it is hardly surprising that there were also wins in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.

 WORLD Indoors TorunEuropean Pescara
Steve Peters    1st1st   
Simon Barrett3rd2nd4th1st3rd2nd1st1st1st
Chris Monk    2nd4th 1st 
Wally Franklyn11th6th 1st6th5th5th1st1s
David Hinds14th11th8th1st7th9th6th1st1st
Paul Wignall      2nd 1st
Geoffrey Beattie     19th   
Adrian Essex17th9th6th1st