Four Whites make a gong!
Virtual racing is just the fillip for frustrated Masters athletes
British Masters have been out in force in age-graded virtual competition at home and 'abroad'. The past year has seen a succession of Masters championship events cancelled or postponed so the focus has moved to the virtual platform with a European Masters 5K and British Masters 10K completed recently.
The European 5K was almost a White-wash for four GB Masters with that surname, as they collected a sack full of virtual medals between them. The fastest men were M45 Matthew Hurford (Les Croupiers, 17:30), M35 Oliver White (Exmouth, 17:41) and M60 Ifan Lloyd (Swansea, 17:45). All three won their age-groups as GB Masters dominated the leading positions.
The top women were W50 Marta Gonzalez (Spain, 20:58), W35 Mirela-Luciana Albu (Romania, 21:29) and W65 Dot Kesterton (Steel City Striders, 22:41). Lloyd (90.71%) and Kesterton (90.55%) were the highest age-graded competitors overall, with Romania's M60 Stefan Ciochina (18:16, 88.14%) third.
In the team results, GB Masters won at M45; M50; M55; M65; M70 and W65 categories. Among the virtual gold medal team scorers were Des White (M65) and wife Alison White (W65) of Exmouth Harriers, plus the unrelated M65 Brian White (Fairlands Valley Spartans) to complete the White quartet.
Fortunately, negative Covid tests and quarantine periods were not required as 438 athletes aged 35-plus laced up for the British Masters Virtual 10K Challenge somewhere near their own homes, including a smattering of those who had just excelled 'in Europe'.
The top three men were M40s Andy Norman (Altrincham, 30:59), Kevin Quinn (South London Harriers, 31:29) and Buzz Shepherd (Dulwich, 32:46). Meanwhile, the women's race was close between W40s Cat Cummings (Norwich, 37:26), April James-Welsh (Vets AC, 37:32) and W55 Clare Elms (Vets AC, 37:52).
On age-grading, the best performers were Elms (98.71%) and W65 stars Sue Haslam (44:05, 95.97%) and Dot Kesterton (47:24, 91.95%). The leading men were M60 Ifan Lloyd (36:16, 91.29%) followed by the two fastest overall, Norman (89.45%) and Quinn (88.71%).
There was plenty of interest in the team results, calculated via age-grading, with Veterans AC leading the joint 10-to-score table. Welsh Masters was the top men's team and Northern Masters took the honours in the women's team race.
The British Masters Virtual 10K entries raised more than £500 for Teenage Cancer Trust.