A tiring weekend. Self and two club mates had agreed to pull on an NI vest at the Masters Inter Regional Athletics Championships at Lee Valley, London. We flew to Stansted on Saturday evening, spent the night at one of the hotel airports and then drove to the track on Sunday morning.
Usually masters' races are run on the basis of five year categories. Unfortunately that is not the case with this competition. Competitors are forced to run as a V35, a V50 a V 60 or a V70. That does mean that you could be competing against someone who is almost ten years younger than you or even fifteen years in the case of the youngest category. All three of us were at least five years into our designated category. Five years, thirteen years and eight years were our race handicaps. None of us were escatic with our performances but none the less they were competent. We have probably retained our UK rankings on the Power of 10 website.
As you move through the age categories one gets to know your fellow competitors fairly well. My first track race as a vet athlete, that was before the term, "master," was adopted and indeed before the age was reduced from 40 to 35, was at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in 1998. I did think that I was going to end up in second position in the 800m until the last three metres when one Kevin Archer clawed past me to snatch the silver medal at the Scottish Vets.
I have met Kevin on many occasions since then most recently this last weekend. He has has had somewhat more success than yours truly on the vet scene and has recently published a book chronicling his experiences and successes as a veteran athlete. Obviously this is a book that will only interest athletes and indeed those of a certain age. I am of that age and I did find it interesting. Like Kevin I have enjoyed a more successful career as a master athlete than as a senior athlete.