This year I can celebrate and thank God for 25 years of goal setting in athletics. Since the age of 38 as I approached the age of entering masters or veteran athletics (it was 40 then and now 35) I began to train with various local, national and international competitions in mind. Training for it’s own sake or just to keep fit was never enough motivation for me-there has to be an end result, a test, a time to show what you can do and what all the training has led to.
1990 age 38 was the year of my only two marathons-first in Dublin 3hours 12 minutes and then around the Sea of Galilee 3 hours 24 minutes when I suffered from heat exhaustion or lack of fluid, felt faint and had to walk last three miles!
Local Glasgow open indoor events and Scottish championships in single and combined events were the scenes of my first successes although at this time, though an elder in a church, I had no bad conscience about competing on Sundays, unlike one of my athletic heroes, Eric Liddell (pictured). Also a rare pic of me doing the high jump at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.
When we moved south to Bournemouth in 1993 I joined Bournemouth A.C. and Southwest vets and also spent some time as a member of Poole A.C. Local 5 and 10K races were goals along with British combined event championships with several national pentathlon and decathlon wins. Picture of the decathletes lined up for the 1500m at Woodburn Stadium, Sheffield around 2003. I am the one with white headband).
Perhaps my athletic highlight thus far was competing in two world championships in 2005 (San Sebastian, 9th in decathlon, see pic.) and Clermont Ferrant, France (indoor pentathlon, again 9th). I love indoor competition-no wind and no rain! Picture of the new Athlone Arena below.
Since coming to Northern Ireland, I have become convinced that Sunday is the Lord’s day and a day to be kept unto God for worship and I would nowhere rather be than in church worshipping God and hearing his precious word. Competition took the form of hard hill races, flat road races and track and field.
Winner M55 Race over the Glens (2009) in Ballymena and Antrim A.C. colours.
A hip replacement in 2014 put me out of competitive action for a while but now I am back regularly running the Ecos 5K every Saturday and targeting the Northern Irish Masters Championships in June 2015. Rowing also has been a challenge with some success (3rd in Scottish M60 heavyweight class).
Above-indoor rowing (the only kind I do!), officiating at Ecos Parkrun, road race at Ballymena Academy in Ballymena Runners vest, pre-run briefing at Ecos and two sequences of discus and shot put at NIMAA champs 2014. With God’s enabling and providence I hope to continue to goal set for a good few more years-you are never too old! “I still feel that there’s more that I want to achieve from my event and from the sport, and that’s given me the motivation to come back and really see what I can do.” So said Jessica Ennis-Hill recently-well so do I!