29 Mar

British Masters Impress In Madrid

Angela Copson W70

British Masters finished second on the medal table to the host nation Spain at the European Masters Indoor and Cross Country Championships in Madrid last week. The British haul of 79 golds included three world age-group records and many other amazing performances.

runABC South reporter Alan Newman was among the 4,000 competitors aged 35 to over 90 years from 38 European nations, although our correspondent did not add to the medal tally! 
Among many British successes were a W60 world record in the 4x200m (2:00.37) for Helen Godsell, Carole Filer, Jane Horder and Caroline Powell. The track relays brought the action to an exciting close in the magnificent Gallur Municipal Sports Centre indoor arena. 
Earlier in the week the indefatigable W70 Angela Copson (pictured) set world bests at 800m (3:00.67) and 3000m (12:49.26) before adding golds at 1500m (6:22.03) and 5KXC (23:36).
A middle-distance double was achieved by M45 Dean Richardson at 800m (2:02.87) and 1500m (4:06.51) and M55 Guy Bracken also doubled in the 1500m (4:25.22) and 3000m (9:26.74).  
M85 Richard Pitcairn-Knowles struck gold at 1500m (9:48.39), 3000m (19:46.69) and 5k XC (37:08) as well as contesting the 60m, 200m, 400m and 800m in six days in an example to all his younger rivals.
The cross country took place on a hilly circuit at Parque de la Cuna Verde and was held in near freezing conditions as much of Spain was in the grip of cold and windy conditions. As expected, Spain dominated proceedings but there were team golds for Phil Brennan, Barrie Roberts and Michael Johnson in the M75's; Anna Garnier, Alison Bourgeois and Phyllis Hands at W60 level and Angela Copson, Ros Tabor and Sue James competing as a combined W65 team. 
One of many wonderful memories from this friendly but highly competitive championships was the spontaneous and powerful singing of national anthems at the medal presentations when the sound system broke down – a sort of European anthem karaoke competition!
Spain has a busy year of masters athletics championship events with the European Non-Stadia at Alicante in May and the World Masters Championships in Malaga in September. 
Full results at European Masters Athletics here
Image courtesy Alex Rotas photography