Report from Liam Dunne:
I took part in the World Masters Mountain Running Champs for the first time this year.
After turning 40 last year I have recently thought about entering more of these type of events and as the world masters was being held in the UK this year I thought I’d give it a go.
This was held in Betws-Y-Coed, Wales and was the start of a week long festival incorporating not just the masters but also the World mountain Running Champs for Junior and senior athletes next weekend.The course for those aged 35-55 consisted of a 10.6km forest track with 500m of ascent, whilst the course for the over 55’s was slightly shorter at 8.7km with 400m of ascent.
At registration on Friday evening I met several of the Irish contingent, one of which was from my club back in Ireland and probably Ireland’s best chance of a medal.
The event start/finish area was really well set up and although the majority of each race was made up of British and other European runners, there was still some athletes From as far away as New Zealand.
I noticed that Yorkshire and the North of England was well represented at this event with medals going to local clubs such as Ilkley (Geoffrey Howard- Gold medal M70) and Harrogate Harriers (Ben Grant-Gold M65) and even Dave Woodhead was there at the finish to take the snaps.
My fellow Irish club man Martin McDonald improved on last years bronze to take silver in the M55 race. Most categories tends to favour the home and surrounding nations but those at the front of the races were definitely highly competitive athletes.
I was running in the M40 category with 33 other runners. having looked at the race programme I noticed there was four teams listed in the starting line-up with three team medals up for grabs, with the British and Italians having very strong teams it was going to be a battle between Ireland and Norway for the bronze. Our first man home Anthony Glover who finished in tenth position and I came in next in 17th with Alex Brennan just behind in 18th.
As it happens Norway didn’t put out a full team but we were delighted to take home the bronze team medal. I had a fantastic weekend making friends and having a bit of craic with fellow runners. The atmosphere and camaraderie at the presentation was really good and it was great be in the company of so many people who see age as no obstacle but just another challenge. I’d encourage all above the age of 35 to give this a go at some point as I’ll definitely be off to Italy next year….are you with me Antonio?!