Great Britain finished third on the medals table at the recent European Masters Indoor Championships in Ancona with 152 behind Germany (260) and hosts Italy (238). The British haul was 67 gold, 39 silver and 46 bronze by a party of 285 seasoned athletes aged 35 years and well beyond.
There were 2,350 athletes competing from 43 countries and the events included winter outdoor throws, cross-country and race walking. The longest track event was 3000m and the British winners were over-50 Ben Reynolds (Thames Hare and Hounds, 9:13.90), W35 Rachael Burns (Liverpool Harriers, 10:00.27), W65 Ros Tabor (Dulwich Runners, 12:49.18) and W70 Pat Gallagher (Welsh Masters, 15:04.74).
The cross country team event was held on a narrow, serpentine circuit wedged between the indoor and outdoor stadium. The four laps added up to 5k but it was certainly no parkrun. British harrier traditions and great team spirit led to more hardware for athletes in the W65 (gold), W45 and M55 (silver) and W35, W40, W50, M60 and M65 categories (bronze).
The atmosphere in the noisy Palaindoor stadium was electric and there were many world and European age-group records set but for the partisan home crowd the performances of the games belonged to Giuseppe Ottaviani.
The former tailor, 100-years-old on May 20, holds the world M95 record for 60m indoors (14.28) and drives himself 25 kilometres to training! In Ancona he was beaten over 60m by Britain’s equally remarkable 96-year-old Charles Eugster (14.56 to 17.00) but returned to take unopposed gold at 200m (1:56.32) as Eugster opted for gold at 400m (2:21.46).
Full results are available at the championship website.