I turned 47 today, and contemplating yet another Masters comeback. In my mid 30’s while still running open meets, I had great visions of performing well when I turned 40. The Canadian Masters record was tied at 50.10 and I had just run 50.44 at age 34 after a 4 year lay-off. All my non-running friends at work thought I was nuts to be actually looking forward to my 40th birthday. No need for mid life crisis… track is life.
Those dreams disappeared pretty fast, so I started a new set of goals after researching Masters Track more seriously. I was getting close to my “Theoretical Attrition Goals” a few months before turning 40 (23.54, 37.11, 52.63 for the 200-300-400), but I was hampered by a nagging Achilles injury time and time again.
Also adding more fuel to the disappointment was the 2003 WMA was moved back from Sept (Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia) to early July in Puerto Rico making me 39.9 years old and ineligible. Back then Masters was only M40. M35 need not apply.
No need for sympathy. Fellow Canadian David Lee Provo took center stage (though we would have had an awesome relay team). Not taking anything away from David, but my ex-McGill teammate Allan Tissenbaum would have been in the mix for the medals.
Salvaging a frustrating season, I ended up finishing 2nd to David at the Canadian Masters Championships in the 200 meters on a bad Achilles (23.73 wind –2.1) in August as my Masters debut. I knew I had one good race in me before I reinjured it again, in which I did.
Moral of the story: Records look soft at a distance. The records at the next age group always seem attainable, but attrition rate does not lie once you get there.
Fast Forward to M50
Fast forward 10 years and now I’m approaching 50. Once again, I am not depressed as I have something to look forward to. Also being in Italy, I have several top guys to chase down (as well as Dutch guys, too) (Enrico and Eric, are you reading this?)
The question is, what?
What goals can I expect?
I’ve always said for a 400 meter man, add 4 seconds to your open PR to get a M40 goal, then it’s 2 seconds every 5 years. For the 200m, add 2 seconds to your open PR to get a M40 goal, then one second every 5 years.
Below is a chart (left side). I am highlighting 22 & 48 which is very close to my 21.98 and 48.36 open PRs:
It’s pretty obvious that World class sprinters in the open category will always have an edge when they turn Masters. Names like Willie Gault or Bill Collins are familiar names in Masters circles.
So there you have it.
My goals will be 26 and 56 at M50 and in a perfect injury-free world, 25.53 and 55.06.
I won’t bother checking how these times rank at the WMA Championships because there is the additional element of surviving the rounds.
SIDENOTE: WMA 2013 is scheduled for early July and once again, I’ll be 49.9 years old. However, the World Masters Games (WMG) are in Torino starting August 2, 2013 AND it’s an easy train ride away. Check back in 3 years!