I started this Blog in May 2007, trying to dump my coaching & athlete experience in the “book I never wrote“. 2007 was also my 1st year running Internationally (for Canada) at the WMA (as M40) in Ricionne, Italy. Those stories & videos are here on this blog.
Honestly, I didn’t expect a hiatus of 16 years before my next International meet. I would be in a new age group (M60) and running for a new country (UK). The primary reason for not racing was INJURIES, primarily Achilles tendonitis…. Since 1998! And it did blow up in 2016, 7 years ago!
I didn’t think I would race again after my full Achilles rupture. Doctors did say I would have a full recovery, but they also said repeatedly “the affected Achilles would never be as strong again” due to atrophy.
So this is obviously going to be a multi-part article! I’ll break it up into this logical sequence:
- The Journey & Realistic Goal setting
- The 10 changes I needed to do to avoid injury as in the past
- Race Report, part 1 (including the superspikes)
- EMAC in Pescara (part 2)
- Some changes for 2024 to prep for WMA in Gothenburg
The Journey & Goal setting
I did attempt to race in 2018 for WMA in Malaga (for Canada), but my GOOD (or non-affected) Achilles got injured 2 months before. Same for 2022, my International travels to Belgrade & Montreal left me sick for 2 weeks afterwards. I’m grateful they were not covid related sicknesses, just the Flu.
I had a late start to my 2022-2023 season, as I only started training in March due to travel & work commitments.
I became a British citizen in 2020, which meant I could qualify for UK (BMAF) Nationals, as well as European Masters Championships in Pescara. I also turned 60 in July, meaning it’s always best to race as close to the age group. There is a huge difference to running at 64 than at 60, unless you’re Bill Collins, Charles Allie, Stephen Peters or John Wright :)
The scheduling of Pescara was insane for anyone attempting the 200-400 double.
- Sat 200m Heats
- Sun 200m SF & F separated by 3.5 hours (which ended up being 5 hours due to rain delays)
- Mon 400m Heats
- Tues 400m SF & F separated by 5 hours
That’s up to 6 races in 4 days!
I looked at the last EMACS in 2019 in Jesolo (2021 was cancelled due to Covid), to see what it takes to make to the next round. If I’m going to travel all the way to Pescara, the least I want to do is make it out of the Heats, or run twice. If not, Pescara is a nice vacation town if you like sunshine, beaches and Italian food! (SPOILER ALERT – the 2023 edition was much more competitive)
- 200m SF & F same day
- 28.08 slowest q to SF (16)
- 26.74 slowest q to F
- 26.53 bronze
- 400m Heats & SF same day
- 66.74 slowest q to SF (16)
- 61.69 slowest q to F
- 59.48 bronze
The next step was looking realistically at Age Grade tables and past performances. Below is a chart:
I think those are good goals, ASSUMING I would train as dedicated or consistently as in the past. (Spoiler alert – this wasn’t the case, and it showed!)
At age 28, I was literally a full time athlete. At age 40, I was working in Silicon Valley from 7am to 6pm taking long lunches trying to train.
I made quick YouTube video here:
My 2023 Goals (based on 7 months training remaining)
That being said, my goals for 2023 (on a limited 7 month training block) were:
- (sub) 28 & 60 for 200m and 400m respectively
- medal at UK (BMAF) Nationals
- get out of the Heats, and qualify for the Semi-Finals at EMACs (I didn’t pay €90 to run once). A Top 8 finalist would not be possible looking at the Age Grade tables.
Crazy? Maybe. But if you have to dream, dream big, or stay home.
NEXT: Training Tips