Vics Master Athletes Success in Brazil

 

Falkirk Victoria Harriers, Caroline Lawless and Alex Bryce competed with distinction in the 20th World Masters Athletics Championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Having endured the long flight the Vics lined up with over 4,000 other master athletes aged 35 to almost 100 in the 12 day extravaganza of track and field athletics, race walking, marathon and cross country running.

The 800m heats were held on the soft recently re-laid track in hot and humid conditions. Caroline was first in action running well in a fast heat of the W50's to finish 5th in a time of 2min 54.29 secs which qualified her for the final with the 9th quickest time. Alex showed a return to form following a summer of niggling injuries to finish 4th with a time of 2min 13.18secs in the 2nd of 3 heats each containing 9 athletes, and was 10th quickest overall in the M50's. A large field given the date and location of the championships.

In the finals, conditions were more akin to a warm Scottish summer’s day, a little overcast with a tricky wind in the home straight to slow tiring athletes at the end of their race. The Vics rose to the challenge performing well in the conditions. Caroline ran almost exactly the same time as her semi-final to finish 9th in 2 min 54.46 secs, again just outside her best time in 2013. Alex found himself with a wall of athletes in front of him at the half way mark as the field bunched and despite his efforts to move up the field he finished 11th with a time of 2 min 14.13secs. Both excellent performances at this level of competition.

After a day’s rest on perhaps the warmest day of the championships the Vics were back in action again in the 1500m semi finals, or so Caroline thought. After warming up and enduring the nerve racking procedures and protocols of the call room the officials discovered that several athletes who had declared to run had not turn up and no race was required to eliminate competitors down to the 16 required for the final. Frustrated at not being able to run and having to maintain fitness for the final in 2 days Caroline watched Alex run before heading off for a training session. Alex used all his experience of these major championships ensuring he knew exactly what time he had to run in the tough qualifying of only the first two athletes in each of the three semi-finals and ten fastest losers making the final. In the final heat Alex ran a controlled race ensuring he ran just hard enough to make the final finishing 4th with a time of 4 min 42.08secs.

The 1500m finals were run in atrocious thunder and lightning on a flooded windy track, weather more often associated with Cross Country in Scotland. The resulting difficulties for photo finish and starting officials caused delays with athletes having to endure these conditions whilst held at the start as problems were sorted as the infield flooded during this series of races. Again the Vics ran well adapting to the conditions and difficulties posed. Alex was first in action and after a cagey opening 600m with the field still tightly bunched Alex decided he was going to make the field work and try and retrieve a decent time for the conditions after the slow start. Pushing on Alex ran well in the conditions recording a time of 4 min 43.68 secs finishing 12th. Conditions improved slightly for the ladies races, although it was still very wet and windy. Caroline ran a strong race picking a few competitors off in the final laps to finish an excellent 10th with a time of 5 min 57.11 secs.

The championships were far from over for the Vics as they were drafted into the 4x 400m relay teams on the final day. In better conditions Alex dropped down to join to the M45 age group to make up the British Team which also included Andy Ronald who had enjoyed completing an 800m earlier in the championship, his first this year, after a season ravaged with persistent injury. Andy had also run the 1500m completing only his second of the year in the heats before enduring the monsoon of the final where he finished 9th with a time of 4min 30.77secs. Both Ronald (58.9 secs) and Bryce (59.3 secs) broke 60secs for their respective 2nd and 3rd legs as they help the British Team to finish 5th. Caroline also had the long second leg for her 4 x 400m team running well to position the team in bronze medal position which they held until the end. A marathon followed to obtain the hard earned medal for Caroline although this and difficulties endured throughout the championship were forgotten as the large contingent of Scots who had travelled to Porto Alegre enjoyed the now customary "Scottish Dinner" to bring the championships to a close.

 

Women

Event
Stage
Age Group
Athlete
Position
Performance
800m
Prelims
W50
Caroline Lawless
9
2:54.29
 
Final
W50
Caroline Lawless
9
2:54.46
1500m
Final
W50
Caroline Lawless
10
5:57.11

Men

Event
Stage
Age Group
Athlete
Position
Performance
800m
Prelims
M50
Alex Bryce
10
2:13.18
 
Final
M50
Alex Bryce
11
2:14.13
 
Prelims
M45
Andy Ronald
16
2:13.23
1500m
Prelims
M50
Alex Bryce
14
4:42.08
 
Prelims
M45
Andy Ronald
10
4:31.27
 
Final
M50
Alex Bryce
12
4:43.68
 
Final
M45
Andy Ronald
9
4:30.77