Congratulations athletes! There were many exceptional accomplishments making our selections difficult. My gratitude to the WMA Regions for your support in nominations and selections. Also, thank you to the WMA Members and WMA Regions who helped create this announcement. It is my great honor to present the 2019 WMA Best Athletes. I look forward to seeing you excel in Toronto!

Margit Jungmann, WMA President

Thank you to Rob Jerome, Graeme Dahl, Alex Rotas, Doug Smith, Alfred Hermes, Tom Phillips, Gualtiero Marastoni, Raul Gracia, Dan Slovitt and Floris/FIDALSardegna for the fabulous photos and all you do for our sport.

The 2019 WMA Best Athletes:

Click on the athlete’s name to read about them.

Neringa Jakstiene (W56), USA Winner Earl Fee (M90), CAN
Karla Del Grande (W66), CAN Runner-up Ian Richards (M71), GBR
Karla Del Grande (W66), CAN Winner Charles Allie (M72), USA
Riet Jonkers-Slegers (W76), NED Runner-up Donald Brown (M56), GBR
  Middle Distance  
Anne Gilshinan (W55), IRL Winner Sergey Polikarpov (M61), KAZ
Clare Elms (W56), GBR Runner-up Joe Gough (M67), IRL
  Long Distance  
Mariko Yugeta (W61), JPN Winner Said Boudalia (M51), ITA
Christine Adamson (W63), NZL
Clare Elms (W56), GBR
Runner-up Sergey Polikarpov (M61), KAZ
Petra Bajeat (W53), FRA Winner Antonio Palacios (M53), USA
Neringa Jakstiene (W56), USA Runner-up Wolfgang Ritte (M67), GER
Evaun Williams (W82), GBR Winner Carmelo Rado (M86), ITA
Myrle Mensey (W70), USA Runner-up Doug Torbert (M68), USA
  Combined Events  
Maria Rosa Escribano Checa (W61), ESP Winner Dr. Rolf Geese (M75), GER
Neringa Jakstiene (W56), USA Runner-up William Jankovich (M86), USA
  Race Walks  
Heather Carr (W70), AUS Winner Ian Richards (M71), GBR
Kris Kozell (W67), CAN Runner-up José Luis López Camarena (M70), MEX

Earl Fee (M90), CAN – Men’s #1 Overall

What would winning the award mean to me? To be honoured as winner of this prestigious award would help in a big way to be a good example and inspiration for other master athletes and particularly older seniors, to lead a healthy active life. This is a goal I have aspired to and worked on.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? MY main goal was to work diligently towards my best fitness and preparation in 2019  to be fit as a result for the special WMA championship in Toronto in 2020. Also, since I was in an new age group 90-94 after my birthday on March 22, 2019—I aimed to break the indoor and outdoor 400m and 800m world records and was successful. Then in the Fall of 2019 I planned to develop a strong aerobic base. I was able to unofficially run well within the world indoor mile record in my training.

My main goal always is to age slower than my rivals. I know it is working as my age graded percentage is increasing every year. In 2019 my age graded percentage during my outdoor 400m world record was  111%.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? My goals were to train to break the following world records in the 90-94 age groups— indoor 200m, indoor 1500m or mile, outdoor 200m hurdles, and possibly my existing 800m indoor and outdoor records.

What else happened for you in 2019 to share? In 2019 three Sheridan college students produced a long video documentary about Earl Fee. I published my autobiography book: “Earl Fee Is Running”.  I sent my manuscript to my publisher for my 2nd poetry book titled “Living With Spirit”—it has 64 coloured professional photos.

My Health Fortunately, I have just one major problem: Tachycardia, where my heart speeds up occasionally, and I am unable to train until it comes back to normal. I have learned to adapt. I have three other reoccurring lower-body problems, but which I can usually still train with with the help of rest, my physiotherapist and chiropractor.     

Other than Masters Athletics what else for recreation?  Writing 6 books: 2 on running, 1 on antiaging, 1 an autobiography, and 2 on poetry. I enjoy Karaoke quite frequently, and it is good for the moral, stress, the lungs and voice.  I also sometimes take dancing lessons.

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Neringa Jakstiene (W56), USA – Women’s #1 Overall, #2 Jumps and #2 Combined Events

What does winning the award mean to you? It means the world to me. It was a dream in my teen and young adult years to compete in a world-level competition, and finally being able to, and further, winning this award makes me the happiest I’ve ever been.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? My goals in 2019 consisted of trying to make some personal and meet records, however, I ended up breaking a world record in every meet I attended. At the end of the season, I broke a total of 12 American records and 6 of them were world records. It is amazing how much hard work, a healthy diet, and a focused mindset pay off.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? I want to continue my training schedule training and maintain my current times. Being in a new age group opens up more opportunities for records, so I will set goals to motivate me so I may be able to break them. Avoiding injuries is always a priority.

What else happened for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I am very happy and proud for my 2 sons. Nedas has successfully graduated collage with a masters degree in electrical engineering and he is now working. He loves his job. Lukas is a freshmen at UT Knoxville and doing excellent academically. Also in 2019 I became a citizen of USA.

How has your health been in recent years? It has been perfect. I am always feeling good,and it’s almost like I’m twenty again. I have discovered how to stay healthy naturally and how to  increase my athletic abilities to set the world records. I am coaching myself with an amazing success.

Tell us about recovering or competing through an injury. You need to always be cautious.Whether that be through massages,creams,physical therapy,or special stretches/exercises,you need to treat your injury.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I love to dance! I took ballroom classes 19 years ago and fell in love.There are great people,lots of fun, and keeps me happy.Almost every weekend I go to a dance studio and salsa, tango,cha-cha,and more.It’s  truly one of my biggest passions.

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Karla Del Grande (W66), CAN – Women’s #1 Sprints and # 2 Overall

Karla had another tremendous year. She set Age Group World Records in 200m indoors (29.73), 400m indoors (1:08.39) and 400m outdoors (1:08.08). At the 2019 WMA Championships, held in Toruń, Poland, she and Caroline Powell, GBR, battled in the 200m and 400m. Each had bettered the record in 400m preliminaries (Caroline: 1:09.77; Karla 1:09.98) setting up an exciting finals. The arena was electric as the women gave an incredible show where Karla prevailed. Karla also captured 200m gold in Toruń.

What does winning the award mean to you? Winning the award is indeed an honour and a huge thrill to be recognized along with Charles in the Sprint category, and with Earl and Neringa for the Overall award. All of us doing this sport do the same as I do — balance the rest of our lives, and put forth a great effort to train and compete while keeping it fun. But it’s nice to be recognized for the results and hard work of getting the best out of me, that my coach Jamal Miller and I put in, after Málaga, through to Toruń, and during the summer.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? My goals are always to be the best that I can be, and to have fun. When that results in lowering records and winning medals, that’s a bonus.
What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? My goals will be the same, to continue to work hard, and compete at my best in my home city of Toronto at WMATO2020. I’ll be sharing my city with my fellow competitors and friends from around the world. I enjoy the travelling with my husband that goes along with my competing, so this will be different.

What else happened for / to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I was very pleased to complete achieving 3 world Outdoor records in my events (100, 200 and 400) in the same age category, and 2 Indoor records (200 and 400).

How has your health been in recent years? If you do not mind sharing, please tell about recovery or competing through injury. In Málaga, I was dealing with an Achilles injury, and in Turin, a sciatica issue. I did a lot of visualization beforehand, and carefully designed workouts from Jamal that managed both conditions but brought me to a peak of confidence and to my best when it was needed.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I love spending time and travelling with my daughter. I enjoy weight training, pool running, Pilates, and biking and hiking with a friend, all of which also support my track training. My husband and I have a new grandson born in 2019 that we’ve been enjoying.

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Charles Allie (M72), USA – Men’s #1 Sprints

What does winning the award mean to you? Being nominated for the WMA Sprints Athlete of the Year, is a real surprise to me, I just wasn’t expecting this kind of recognition at this time. So, I am extremely honored being nominated for a second consecutive year.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goals are usually the same year after year. That is to get the most out of my training, compete in as many meets as possible, and try to maintain by staying healthy and avoiding injuries. In 2019, I was at the bottom of my age group and that offered me a great opportunity to perform at a high level and set some records in my running events.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? I am looking forward for 2020 to be an exciting and eventful year. I will be competing in both the USA Masters indoor and outdoor Championships. The WMA Championships in Toronto will be the meet everyone will want to compete in, and I can drive to Toronto from Pittsburgh. So, I am already excited about this year.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? 2019 was a fantastic year for me, personally. At the 2019 WMA Championships, held in Toruń, Poland, I competed at a high level, winning all of my sprinting events; 60m, 400m, and 200m (world record 26.11) and I also ran a leg on the 4×400 relay in the m65 age group and setting a world record. This was such a great experience to be a part of great competition and being among such wonderful fellow teammates and athletes.

How has your health in recent years? Over the years, I have been rather fortunate when it comes to any major injuries that could prevent me from competing. Injuries can occur to any athlete at any given time. In July 2019, the New York Times article mentioned that I have an opportunity to set a world record in the 100m and be one of a few to have world records in all the sprinting events in the same year. During the outdoor season, I attempted to focus on the 100m record by changing my routine training style. This resulted in an Achilles injury, which prevented me from competing and dropping out from some sprinting events. I am more of a long sprinter athlete (200m, 400m) and my training is focus on these two events. However, I believe I have recovered, and I will be making another attempt to go for the m70 100m record (12.77).

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I do try to squeeze in time for some fun things in my life. That is, when I’m not out training, traveling to compete, or coaching youth track & field.

I own 2 corvettes and I am a 42 years member of me local corvette club. When time permits, I will go to the race track to fulfill my need for some speed. I also have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and will be planning a cross country road trip. During my leisure time I attend urban ballroom dancing class and attend dancing events.

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Sergey Polikarpov (M61), KAZ – Men’s #1 Middle Distance and #2 Long Distance

In 2019, I participated in the Asian Athletics Championship among veterans. I set a new Asian record at distances of 1500 and 5000.

My main future goal for is to participate in World Championship among veterans, which will be held in Japan in 2021.

My victories are the result of self-improvement, and daily training.

My hobbies are table tennis, skiing and swimming.

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Anne Gilshinan (W55), IRL – Women’s #1 Middle Distance

What does winning the award mean to you? Firstly, it’s an absolute shock to receive such a prestigious award. I never even contemplated that I would be the recipient of this award. I feel elated and overjoyed. The standard of competition is exceptionally high in the Masters category.

It’s fantastic to get such public recognition for my running. It makes all the hard training worth it. I am also thrilled that Master Athletes are being recognised as we balance family life, work commitments, and continue to train hard.

I am also delighted for all the people that have helped me to get to this level of fitness, and have enabled me with the opportunity to perform at the highest level. In particular, I have to give credit to my good friend Rich Burns (U.S.A.) who devises my training schedules, Star Geoghan (Realta Clinic Carlow) for his physical therapy sessions, Kevin Cogley for speed sessions, and Brian Kirwan for Strength and Conditioning, and my athletic club Slaney Olympic, Enniscorthy.

What were your goals in Master Athletics for 2019? My goal for 2019 was to make an attempt at World Records in my age group for track and field in the middle distance. In addition, I also wanted to compete for one last time in my age category at W50 level. Those goals dictated my training and choice of races for the season.

In March 2019, I competed and got a silver medal in Toruń, Poland. A week later I turned 55 and set about targeting the World Records.

I ran six races for the season and I was successful in getting three World Records (W55) in the 800m (2:19.63), 1500m (4.41.46), and the 1mile event (5:08.47)

What are your goals in Master Athletics for 2020? My primary goal this year is Championship running. I intend to compete at the European Indoor Master Championships, Braga, Portugal in March. In addition, I also hope to compete at the World Master Track and Field Championship Toronto, Canada in July.

I will also attempt some Indoor World Records (W55) as part of my training schedule for Braga, Portugal, but, my objective is to be in the best shape possible for the actual Championships in March and July.

How has your health been in recent years? Similar to most master athletes I have to cope with managing injuries. In the last five years there have been two times where I have been unable to compete for a long period of time as a result of injury.

In 2015, I was unable to take part in any races and as a consequence I worked solely on my strength and conditioning and did mostly gym work for the year. The year in the gym acted as my catalyst to engage in track running and get involved in Master athletics. Prior to that injury I had ran mostly 10k road races at local level. I made my debut in international masters in Ancona, Italy, in 2016 and got a silver medal in 1500m. Unfortunately, from November 2016 to April 2017 I was injured again and I was unable to compete in running. I got back training in May and was able to compete in Aarhus, Denmark, that year for one race, the 800m, where I got a silver medal.

I have chronic issues with my hips, hamstring, and Achilles tendon. I am lucky to have found a way of managing with the help of my friend Rich Burns with his schedules and Star Geoghan and his physical therapy. As a result of my injuries, I tend to choose my races very carefully, as my body will not allow me to consistently race. I have managed by targeting particular races or events and train to peak for those races.

It can be quite amusing meeting my fellow master athletes as we compare our latest injury and how we are managing them.

Other than Master Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I enjoy walking in the countryside, or anywhere that has nice scenery. I like forest and mountain scenery. I also like a good movie. My favourite movies tend to be comedies. I also like to bake for friends and family.

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Mariko Yugeta (W61), JPN – Women’s #1 Long Distance

What does winning the award mean to you? I started athletics at the age of 13 in the first year of junior high school, and for 48 years until I turned 61, I ran desperately without a break, whether it was rainy days, intense heat, or severe cold. The award is proof.

What were your goals in Master Athletics for 2019? Achieve to run in less than 3 hours in a full marathon in a category of W60 or higher, which nobody has achieved yet in the world. Achieved.
What are your goals in Master Athletics for 2020? Achieve a new world record in a 10k race and half marathon in the W60 age class.

What else happened for you in 2019 to share? I ran in 38 minutes and 30 seconds on 10km race. This was a new world record for W60. I also ran in 1:24:41 on the half marathon, which was another world record for W60.

How has your health been in recent years? I was sick of my legs in 2018, but this year I’m in good shape. At this time, my muscles were stiff, so I focused on massage. My husband rubbed me and bought a massages. I also apply massage gel. I also had acute hepatitis in March 2019 and couldn’t run. However, from June, my condition improved, and I increased the distance I run. I increased my chances to run on mountains and other places with ups and downs and achieved this new record. My husband took me to a high altitude where the air was thin, and I ran. My husband makes me miso soup that is good for liver. I drink every day. This world record was achieved with a lot of support from my husband.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I like sports because I’m a physical education teacher. I especially like dancing, table tennis and skiing.

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Said Boudalia (M51), ITA – Men’s #1 Long Distance

Said’s 2019 accomplishments included winning 5000m and 10km at European Masters Athletics Championships. Said also competed in Palermo International Half Marathon where he ran 1:09:39 – not far from the WMA Championship Half Marathon best.

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Antonio Palacios (M53), USA – Men’s #1 Jumps

What does winning the award mean to you? Well I believe competing at the highest level in Masters Athletics on a world stage, is so much more than about you or necessarily the country you represent; instead you become more of an ambassador for the sport itself. Personally, as a great lover of humanity, I honorably and humbly embrace this symbolic perspective as I would this prestigious award.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? For me every year and every Master’s age group I kind of think of myself as an explorer like in Star Trek “To boldly go where no one has gone before”. This approach keeps me motivated, challenged and inspired. It’s like in 2019 when I set the USA outdoor long jump record; I think it’s crazy cool that I jumped farther at age 53 than I did when I was 50 (even if it was just by a tiny bit 6.48m to 6.49m). So my approach to 2020 season is no different, to explore the ageless unlimited possibilities of the human spirit or should I just say “Engage!”

What else happened for / to you in 2019 that you would like to share? My father Teodoro Palacios passed away this summer and he was a Track/sports icon for his country, Guatemala. Needless to say he was a big part of my introduction to athletics and one of my earliest memories of my dad was watching him compete in the high jump in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games on this little black and white TV back in Chicago (my hometown). In his later years he became even much more of an inspiration for me with his ambassadorship for youth sports in Guatemala and his work as a public speaker. Rest in Peace Pops.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? Motivational speaking: My dream, my passion, my joy, is to inspire others to achieve great things in life for “A Better You – A Better World – A call to Action!”

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Petra Bajeat (W53), FRA – Women’s #1 Jumps

What does winning the award mean to you? It is a great honor to be nominated among each of the Masters Athletics, every group of age mixed together. It is an incredible reward for all the efforts and work that we do every single day since a few years.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? Enjoying myself, staying fit, sharing great moments with athletic friends and creating new friendships with international athletes, are my main goals and motivation when I practice athletics. I also do it to challenge myself and improve my performances. My goals in 2019 were the same as I said above, but with the willpower to succeed at the national and international championships. I was particularly aiming for the indoor World Record of Pentathlon. I am overwhelmed I managed to win it during the World Championship in Toruń, with the World Record of high and long jumps as a bonus. 2019 has been such an awarding year concerning my performances.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? My goals in 2020 are of course to continue and enjoy myself in the disciplines I prefer such as the combined events, high and long jumps. Maybe not as intense in 2020 because 2018 and 2019 were very busy. I will probably have more precise goals in 2021, when I will change categories. In 2020, I am planning to participate in several national championships and also the European Championships in Braga. It is always a pleasure to share some moments with my French and international Master friends. And why not Toronto?

What else happened for / to you in 2019 that you would like to share? According to the friendly conversations with athletes, volunteers and also physiotherapists, International championships are very strong moments I keep in mind. And a funny experience for me in 2019: I have also learned that I always have to bring a second pair of glasses at any competition. In Venice, I broke my glasses during the warm-up and I then had to participate to the long jumps… It was very blurry and the result wasn’t very conclusive.

How has your health in recent years? In 2014, I injured my cruciate ligaments and since then I have learned to listen to my body. I am more attentive to it and when I should do a break. There are always some very important signs I can’t ignore. We have to learn to recognize them before a big injury occurs. I try to see regularly an osteopath, a physiotherapist and a chiropodist. A good care team is what makes a good

preparation 😉! Nevertheless, I have had some little muscular injuries and tendinitis that stopped me from being a 100% at Málaga (problem at the quadriceps). In Málaga, I had to withdraw from the heptathlon and continue with the high and long jumps in good conditions. It was a hard decision on the moment, but it was for my best! For the moment, my health is good, there is nothing to worry about. I stay vigilant because we can’t predict everything. Maybe it also is a question of chance that everything goes alright when competing.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? Athletics take up a big space of my free time. Whether it is for trainings, supervising other athletes of the club or by participating to the promotion of the Masters Athletics at the regional league for example. For the rest, I love to travel and thanks to athletics I have been able to discover several towns and country I adored (California, Andalusia, Scandinavia, Toruń and so many others!) I also like to make sculptures but I don’t have much time at the moment. I also like spending time with my friends, read a nice book and listen to music.

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Evaun Williams (W82), GBR – Women’s #1 Throws

Evaun repeats as WMA Women’s Best Athlete in Throws. The Age Group World Records she holds, including indoor Weight Throw (12.75m) and Javelin (27.51m) set in 2019, span decades! Evaun set the 2019 records at the 2019 WMA Championships, held in Toruń, Poland where she also earned a gold medal in Hammer. At the European Masters Athletics Championships in Italy, Evaun won every event she entered, excelling in the Throws Pentathlon, Shot Put, Discus, Hammer and Javelin.

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Carmelo Rado (M86), ITA – Men’s #1 Throws

Carmelo has been setting Age Group World Records for a long time so it is no surprise he was nominated for this award. Carmelo set two of these records, Discus (35.92m) and Throws Pentathlon (5193) in 2019 at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Italy. He also earned a gold medal in the Hammer at these championships.

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Dr. Rolf Geese (M75), GER – Men’s #1 Combined Events

What does winning the award mean to you? To win a prize in sports means to me to receive respect for the achievement and work connected to this success.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goal was to achieve the best possible performance and to keep the biologically caused loss of performance as small as possible.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? To improve some of my results. This is not unrealistic for the decathlon as well as the pentathlon and the hurdles.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I could have significantly improved the world record in the pentathlon, but the tail wind during long-jump was unfortunately a little bit too strong.

How has your health in recent years? If you do not mind sharing, please tell about recovery or competing through injury. My state of health is relatively stable. This is due to an extensive training of flexibility and coordination as well as a realistic assessment of my strength and capacity. Besides this, it is important to have a training schedule which offers enough time to regenerate.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I travel a lot (especially within Europe) and enjoy to go hiking, on bike tours and skiing with my wife and friends. Besides, I have got two grandchildren with whom we like to spend time.

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Maria Rosa Escribano Checa (W61), ESP – Women’s #1 Combined Events

What does winning the award mean to you? The recognition of the results obtained. For me has been my BEST season.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My idea was to try to go for the Pentathlon indoor Word Récord in my new category, the others came to the root of the state adquired, despite my injury in March.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? Before starting the season, I had in mind that the indoor récord could be improved and that could be my goal, but health problems and a little accidental fall jumping hurdles are driving me away. My priority now is to recover from both.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? In the World Championship in Toruń, I managed to match the Word Récord in long jump (4.58) and to obtain the three golds medals.

How has your health in recent years? This year I had the injury in March, a partial break of the semitendinosus (hamstring) and semi vender of the left leg, I had three sessions a week in the phisyo until juliol.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I like dancing, reading, going to the cinema and cooking, these are my other passions.

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Heather Carr (W70), AUS – Women’s #1 Race Walks

What does winning the award mean to you? Nomination for this award has been quite overwhelming for me.

As part of the racewalking community I feel exceptionally privileged to be recognised for my contribution to the sport since beginning my involvement in athletics over 33 years ago. My interest began prior to the World Veterans Athletic Championships held in Melbourne, Australia 1987.

Athletics have played an integral part in my life, particularly having the amazing opportunity to belong to the Victorian Race Walking Club [VRWC] and Athletics Victoria [AV]. Both organizations provide wonderful support and assistance for me in pursuing my passion for athletics – predominantly racewalking. Walkers enjoy regular competitions throughout the year – so plenty of opportunities exist to improve speed, technique and endurance under race conditions. I believe Victorian racewalkers are extremely fortunate in belonging to the best club in the world!

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goals during 2019 were primarily to recover from an achilles injury which sidelined me during the World Championships in Málaga, Spain in 2018. Being unable to compete was absolutely distressing for me so I was resolute in my determination to devote time for recuperating and recovering from the achilles as well as from hip replacement surgery [June 2017]. With the help from an amazing Physiotherapist, I was able to build up and maintain fitness once more.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? My goals for 2020 are to continue racewalking, and hopefully continue to enjoy good health and good company with fellow athletes. Coffee time is always paramount following a training session or competition! So, competing, keeping fit and having a fun time are very important to me!

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I really enjoy and value any physical activity; attending weekly Masters local venues including Glen Eira, Frankston and Southern Peninsula. I also participate in Parkrun and compete in Triathlons. To balance this physical activity, I love reading, going to movies and spending time with family.

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Ian Richards (M71), GBR – Men’s #1 Race Walks and #2 Overall

What does winning the award mean to you? My first racewalking career came to an end in 1982 having achieved most things I believed I was capable of as an amateur while working fulltime, bringing up a young family and building a career in the finance and investment industry. I finished 11th in the Moscow Olympics 50k walk, competed in 2 Lugano walking championships (the fore runner to the world championships), European championships and represented GB on many occasions. I took a 25 year break and started again at age 60 purely to keep fit and have fun. However, the Olympian within me soon came to the fore and I saw the potential of masters and all that it offers. I was hooked and wanted to see how far I could get. Little by little I have got better and winning this award is beyond what I expected and a major highlight of my career, on a par of becoming an Olympian. It will also help give me extra credibility in my goals to help others become more active and live fuller lives.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My main goals were to win the World Indoor Championships in Toruń and the European Track and Field championships in Venice. Like many walkers, I race all distances from 3000m to 30km and beyond. I knew to be certain of winning, however, that I would have to be in world record breaking form for all distance over a season lasting from March to September.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? Very much the same as 2019, European Indoor Championships, European Non-Stadia Championships and World Championships. It is going to be a much bigger challenge being 1 year on in my age group with some very good “youngsters” coming up. My mindset is that once again I will need to be in world record breaking form and am training accordingly.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? A particularly proud moment was being selected for the England marathon team in a Celtic nations international marathon. I had qualified in an open marathon running race despite the fact that I had race walked the distance. I race walked the international and just broke 4 hours.

Racewalking is a very tough event because of the technical requirements, particularly the need to straighten the leg from the point of contact to the upright position. Not only do we slow as we age but it gets more and more difficult to comply with the rules. When you are trying to push yourself to the limit it is easy to transgress and get disqualified. I am pleased that I have learnt how to manage that pressure and overcome major disappointments. At the British Indoor Championships over 3000m, I won the race and set a new world record only to be disqualified after I had finished for a bent knee. To go on a few weeks later and win the World Championships in Toruń and set a new world record was very satisfying. Unfortunately disappoint soon followed as in the 5000m a few days later, I set out to win and break the record. Again it was not to be. I won easily but was disqualified after the finish, again for a bent knee!

I was determined to get it right in the European Championships. In the 10km which I had targeted for a supreme effort I won easily and it looked as though I had smashed the world record. When I saw my time I said to myself that was impossible and quickly realized the course had to be short and pointed it out to the organisers. I had to argue the point but there was no way I could claim a world record which they eventually agreed. I was so far in front of the record that had it been the right distance I would have still beaten it by a large margin. Set backs are part of racewalking and you just have to accept it when you get it wrong, its your fault not that of judges who are doing their best. Sometimes organisers will get it wrong, not intentionally but no one is perfect. It doesn’t impact on the enjoyment I am getting from being one of the best masters in the world – I am having the time of my life! I understand that I have been awarded the Torsten Carlius Fair Play Award by European Masters (this needs to be checked) for the way that I have accepted these disappointments.

How has your health in recent years? One of the reasons that I restarted racewalking was for the good of my health with the hope that it would help me both live longer and continue to be active. So far so good! All my training is outdoors in all weathers taking no more than a couple of weeks break at the end of the summer. I am convinced that getting regularly soaked and half frozen is good for the immune system. What I have found, however, is that injury prevention has become more and more critical and get niggles sorted as soon as I spot them. I train 6 days a week putting in as much time as when I was training for the Olympics. However, I now have to use some of that time conditioning my whole body with extensive stretching. I foam roller regularly, have deep tissue massage once a week and see a very good sports Chiropractor every couple of months to check me over and sort out any realignments that might be needed. It’s working although I do get the occasional injury but I am very good at managing those and getting back quite quickly. Some injuries need to be tackled by rest but I always whenever possible do other things that will help maintain my fitness and have found ways that work for me to get me back to full fitness very quickly once I am able to get back into training.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? Any time that I have outside of training and competing I try to use to give something back to others. I have been enormously blessed in my life and as an Olympian feel duty bound to use my time living and promoting the Olympic values. It is enormous fun and rewarding serving others. I am the current Vice Chairman and also Race Walking Secretary of the British Masters Athletic Federation and I regularly take on the role as one of the Team Managers of the British Masters Team at championships. I also serve on a number of other committees in various positions within the sport. I am a member of the Salvation Army and am committed to helping those less fortunate than myself. I have spent many years working with children and youth but find myself increasingly working with the elderly community where I have found that my involvement in masters sport can be used both to motivate and show them how they can become more active and live their lives more fully. I regularly give talks for those coming up to or recently retired and to other groups of elderly people. I am currently enrolling to do a Sports Science Degree starting in September as I feel the knowledge this will give me will be of benefit both to myself and help me give better guidance to others. Oh I also have a wife and 5 grandchildren!

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Donald Brown (M56), GBR – Men’s #2 Sprints

What does winning the award mean to you? It is an incredible accolade to be honoured with and one that would significantly enrich my legacy.

  1. It would increase the momentum of my ongoing worldwide vision and mission to promote health and wellness to all people.
  2. It would enable me to better represent and promote Masters Athletics worldwide.
  3. It would elevate my Inspirational Speaking to my audiences wherein I use sport and art to promote positive principles for life such as respect, discipline, patience, humility and forgiveness.

Part of my mission as a Masters Athlete is to make a statement that will provide residual benefits that can lead to success for present and future generations. My Masters Mantra is:
“Making A Statement That Ensures Residual Success” This Mantra means that as a Masters Athlete I hope to make a statement by proving it is never too late to pursue your dreams. Receiving an award of this magnitude would further reaffirm that success can be achieved at any age. My Mantra is also my pledge to be a positive role model to inspire and empower present and future generations and therein lies the residual benefits that can lead to success.

Receiving this award would further define my Mantra and endorse one of my principles in life and that is to never give up. If we do, we prohibit our potentials and forego the future blessings that life has to offer and therein we create our own finishing lines. By implementing this principle throughout our lives we will continue “Making A Statement That Ensures Residual Success”.
Note that the first letter of each word in the Mantra spells: M.A.S.T.E.R.S. This is key because the first letter also represents the importance of taking the first step necessary for anyone to achieve their goals and dreams. Before we can even expect to cross any finishing line in life we must take the first step in order to become MASTERS of our own destiny.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? To remain as injury free as possible. Having endured multiple injuries during 2017 and 2018, I feared my sub 12 second days for 100m were history. Through strategic training, I rounded into form for my best year of Masters competitions to date. For 2019 I wanted to:

  1. Become an individual World Champion for the first time. I achieved that in Toruń winning the 60m hurdles.
  2. Break the British record of 39.68 for the 300m. I ran 39.17.
  3. Break the British record of 14.93 for the 100m hurdles. I ran 14.83 and then 14.62.
  4. Break the 12 second barrier for 100m. I ran a PB of 11.73.
  5. Go sub 7.80 for the 60m. I ran a PB of 7.60.
  6. Be ranked number 1 in the world in an event. I’m ranked number 1 in four events.
  7. Medal in all of the national and international championships. I achieved 13 medals in total.
  8. To always respectfully acknowledge the officials, executives, volunteers and spectators who make it possible for our competitions to be successful

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020?

  1. To become an individual outdoor World Champion for the first time
  2. Break my British record of 39.17 for the 300m
  3. PB in the 60m
  4. PB in the 100m
  5. PB in the 200m
  6. Medal in all of the national and international championships
  7. To be ranked number one in the world in an event
  8. Beat the French in the relays. GREAT friends and wonderful rivals
  9. Secure a £1,000,000 sponsorship deal. Well I can always hope can’t I?
  10. To continue acknowledging the officials, executives, volunteers and spectators who make it possible for our competitions to be successful

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I was thrilled to be featured in Athletics Weekly Magazine four times. As a professional sculptor and Inspirational Speaker, I am granted many opportunities to address audiences around the world ranging from business and educational establishments to the United Nations. During 2019 I was honoured to wear my Masters Athlete’s hat when presenting one of my sculptures to Cotwall End Primary School to inspire their students. I believe Masters Athletics needs as much exposure as possible. Promoting Masters Athletics to audiences from all walks of life is part of my personal mandate and one that I readily embrace.

How has your health in recent years? As an asthmatic, my health has and continues to fluctuate. With that said, Athletics has proven to be a great way for me to strengthen my lungs and thereby improve my breathing. I have learned to accept injuries as an opportunity to focus on training other areas of my body. For example, if I have an hamstring injury I will rest my legs and train my core and upper body. The temptation to compete through injury is always strong. That is the competitive nature of many athletes. However, as I grow less younger I employ more patience and wisdom. In the past I would be inclined to compete too soon after an injury. Sometimes there will be no repercussions and other times it would prove to be an unwise decision resulting in aggravating the injury.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? My life is very rewarding, providing me with ongoing fun and enjoyment. In addition to this, I do enjoy a spot of ten pin bowling although that is a rarity these days. Why? Because I’m having so much fun, training for athletics, speaking to audiences and creating works of art. I truly believe we are all blessed with talents. Sadly, in many cases they remain hidden. I hope that through my achievements I can inspire others to use their talents wisely.
“ Don’t take your talents to the grave, they were given to you for a reason.” Donald Brown

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Riet Jonkers-Slegers (W76), NED – Women’s #2 Sprints

What does winning the award mean to you? What does winning the award mean to you?
I was very much surprised and glad.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? My goals in 2019 were: try to fetch and/or make better so much national records (indoor and outdoor) as possible.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? Just have fun in athletics.

What else happened for / to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I was very glad that I set some European and World records.

How has your health in recent years? My health goes with ups and downs and the recovery takes a longer time. With injuries I don’t compete. Experience has learned, that you can better wait till it is over and than start the recovery slowly. Otherwise you have a much longer time problems.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I play Jeu des Boules (petanque) and do (Nordic)walking. In the past I was trainer for Nordic walking. Furtheron I read a lot of books and solve very much puzzles.

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Clare Elms (W56), GBR – Women’s #2 Middle Distance and #2 Long Distance (tie)

What does winning the award mean to you? It would be a dream come true to win when there are so many great masters competing. It would be a lovely reward for a season where I am very proud to have set 14 world records or bests and also a further eight British or English bests as well as winning 10 international Championship gold medals.

As a late starter I never competed at the highest level as a junior or senior, so Masters Athletics has given me the opportunity to race the best in the world and to make friends and meet athletes from so many different countries. I would be humbled, honoured and very lucky to win the award doing what I love most!

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My main goals in 2019 having turned W55, were to compete in Poland at the World Indoors and the Outdoors EMA in Venice. I also targeted some indoor and outdoor records, as well as the road world and British marks. I enjoy competing in all distances from 800m upwards, therefore I entered multiple races at both championships to win the W55 titles, racing rather than running for times. One of my goals was to win the WMA, EMA and British and Ireland International Cross country Championships which I succeeded in doing.
Prior to Poland, I ran seven indoor meets and set seven world records from 800m to 3000m.
Outdoors I set multiple world 1500m and mile marks and British records at 3000m and 5000m.
I was really pleased with my road world bests, the Mile 5:09, 5km 17:39 and 5 miles in 29:05.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? I hope to race slightly less, target races more, and really work on my speed in 2020. I would like to run in the European Indoors in Braga and the World Championships in Toronto, if my family and I can afford it!

I hope to build on the training I have done in 2019 and by being more focused with my preparation I know I could run faster over all distances! But I also haven’t ruled out towards the end of 2020 a winter marathon, to use my speed and strength and I feel I have unfinished business with the distance and would hope to improve on my 2:53 pb.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I’ve had such an incredible year and have been lucky to stay fit and injury free! This is my list of my medal or record races in 2019 that was compiled by Athletics Weekly magazine for a feature they did, sorry it’s a bit of a long list but shows what a busy year, in total I did over 80 races.

Middle distance (800m/1500m)
Jan 30 Indoor Mile Lee Valley 5:15.44 World record
Feb 10 Indoor 1500m Lee Valley 4:53.87 World record
Feb 16 Indoor 800m Lee Valley 2:25.89 World record
Feb 20 Indoor 800m Lee Valley 2:25.66 World record
Feb 24 Indoor 1500m Lee Valley 4:50.75 World record
Mar 16 Indoor 800m Lee Valley 2:22.40 World record
Mar 28 Indoor 800m World Masters 2:23.10 Silver medal
Mar 30 Indoor 1500m World Masters 4:54.97 Gold medal
Apr 22 1500m Tonbridge 4:48.65 World record
May 12 1500m Ashford, Kent Champs 4:46.64 World record
May 26 Road Mile, the Mall, London, BMAF Champs 5:09 World best

Jun 21 Mile Finsbury Park 5:12.64 World record
Jun 29 800m Tooting 2:22.39 UK record
Aug 2 Mile Olympic Park 5:10.35 World record
Sep 7 1500m European Masters 5:03.71 Gold medal
Sep 13 800m European Masters 2:28.10 Silver medal

Endurance (3000m upwards)
Feb 22 Road 5km Hyde Park 17:39 World best
Mar 10 Indoor 3000m British Masters 10:13.40 World record
Mar 24 Indoor 3000m World Masters 10:31.40 Gold medal
Mar 25 8km World Masters (cross-country) 32:51 Gold medal & team gold
Jun 11 Road 5M Battersea 29:05 World best
Jun 26 3000m Wimbledon 10:11.24 UK record
Jul 17 5000m Eltham 17:50.0 UK record
Jul 27 5000m Milton Keynes 17:42.99 UK record
Sep 1 10,000m Ladywell 37:39.60 English best
Sep 8 4km European Masters (cross-country) 14:33 Gold medal & team gold
Sep 9 10,000m European Masters 39:19.51 Gold medal
Sep 13 5000m European Masters 19:00.30 Gold medal
Sep 15 10km road European Masters 37:56 Gold medal
Oct 27 10km road Leeds 36:38 English best but later measured 23m short
Nov 16 6km XC British Masters International 22:31 Gold medal & team gold
Nov 28 5000m Ladywell 17:36.4 UK record
Dec 8 10km Telford 36:54 English best due to Leeds short.

One of the highlights of my year was being voted Masters Athlete of the year by the readers of Athletics Weekly Magazine! It meant a lot to know that I was popular and my achievements hadn’t gone unnoticed by fellow athletes. I was also delighted to be named British Masters Athlete of the year and also to win the European long distance Athlete award of 2019.

But also my daughter Lucy was selected to run for England at 5km in an U20 Road in Italy and I went to support her. I was a very proud mum!

How has your health in recent years? If you do not mind sharing, please tell about recovery or competing through injury.

I always have various niggles and regularly see a chiropractor and have sport massages but apart from a few longer term injuries, I have been generally lucky (or obstinate in carrying on regardless) and I have done 900 races in the last 12 years since taking up competitive athletics seriously from 800m to Marathons as well as winning the W50 World Sprint Triathlon when it came to Hyde Park London in 2013.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I am fortunate enough to travel to LA to visit my sister and her family, the weather is beautiful in Santa Monica, when wet and cold in London. I also have my husband’s family in Kenya where I have had so many memorable runs among the animals.

At home I enjoy the two long daily walks with my Collie dog, which loosens me up for running.

I have triplets, who are studying at three different Universities, but I look forward to spending time with them during the Holidays! It is also great to have Lucy to run with when she is home as she is an ideal pace to train with.

I still enjoy non masters competitions. I have great fun competing in the track and field league for my track club and run multiple events from 400m to 3000m and relays to earn vital points.

I also enjoy cross-country leagues for my club – the Surrey Ladies League has over 500 women in each fixture of all ages and I am still able to be competitive against runners half my age.

I like to swim and do cycling wattbike sessions on days that I don’t run to rest my feet, but they are really hard work but amazing fun!

A big thank you again for my nomination and also for all the hard work the WMA does to provide World Masters competitions giving goals for all us Masters athletes in the world!

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Joe Gough (M67), IRL – Men’s #2 Middle Distance

What does winning the award mean to you? Of course I am delighted and honoured to receive the award from WMA . It is an endorsement for all the hard work which goes into competing at international level.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goals were to win double gold in the world and European Championships in the 800 and 1500m

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? To repeat the double double.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I try and stay injury free by taking care of the things I am in control of such as strength and conditioning , pilates , sleep and appropriate rest

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I balance my athletic life by my other passion in horticulture , garden design and stone building.

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Christine Adamson (W63), NZL – Women’s #2 Long Distance (tie)

What does winning the award mean to you? Winning this Award is a huge honour for me. It would also be a massive surprise. I only started competitive athletics three years ago – on my 60th Birthday! I began at club level, and just kept stepping up to the challenges right through to the World Masters Athletics Championships in Málaga and Toruń. It is an honour to represent New Zealand and the Oceania region at this world level. It would also be an opportunity to inspire others that it is never too late to start using their unique talents.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? In 2019 my goal was to win a world championship in the 10km Road Race – having finished with the Silver Medal the previous year. I achieved this is Toruń, Poland in March 2019. My other goal was to gain a Top 10 finish in an international 10 km Road Race in the Open (All Ages) category. I achieved this in Dubai in January 2019.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? In 2020 I will be competing at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Toronto. My focus is the 5000m and 10km Road Race, and I hope I can perform at a high level there.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? Another highlight in 2019 was travelling to Iten in Kenya. I had the opportunity to train at the High Altitude Training Centre owned by Lornah Kiplagat. This was a wonderful experience combining learning about the Kenyan way of running, as well as cultural immersion in this small rural Kenyan town. It was also an opportunity to introduce Masters Athletics to them as runners 50 years or older are seldom seen there.

How has your health in recent years? Before I started competitive athletics three years ago I led a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Now, with a high level of fitness and strength, my health has improved dramatically. I have lost over 10kg excess weight, and I would say that every aspect of my health has improved. Also, running and training in beautiful locations is always uplifting.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? When I’m not training I love going to the surf beach and body surf in the waves. I am also a social tennis player; and for restful activities I enjoy writing, music and meditation. However, best of all is spending time with my two adult daughters who live nearby.

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Wolfgang Ritte (M67), GER – Men’s #2 Jumps

What does winning the award mean to you? I am very happy about the nomination for the World Masters Athletics ’Jumps Athlete of the Year. The nomination is a great honor for me. Thank you for your congratulations. My special thanks go to the officials at the WMA and the EMA, who have nominated me for this award for the second time in a row after 2018. Thanks a lot!

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? In 2018 the WMA and the EMA gave me this title because I became European Champion in Madrid and became world champion three times in Málaga and was able to improve the world record six times. I was aware that it would be difficult for me to be similarly successful in 2019, especially since I had seriously injured myself at the World Indoor Championships in Toruń. Despite the injury, I managed to become world champion in there. Although I had to pause for a long time, I was back in shape at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Italy in good time and was able to win the pole vault and the hurdle race. In your World Masters Rankings, I am leading the world best list 2019 in pole vault indoor and outdoor by a large margin.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? I hope that I will stay healthy this year, that I can take part in many events with my family, and that I will perhaps be at the top of your list again in the pole vault of my age group at the end of this year. At the moment I am concentrating entirely on the national indoor championships and in particular on the European Masters Championships indoor in Braga / Portugal. Here I would like to defend my title in the pole vault of Madrid / Spain 2018, where I became European champion with a new world record of 3.96 m.

What else would you like to share? I have been doing athletics since I was 5 years old. My grandfather, who himself was a good pole vaulter over 100 years ago, gave me the love of pole vaulting and also gave me the first fiber pole that helped me to become a German champion for the first time in 1971 as a teenager. Since that time I have been able to win 96 German and 47 international titles and set 76 German records, 64 European records and 47 world records.

All of this was only possible because my wife and children share the passion for pole vaulting with me. My family is my top priority. Athletics is part of our life, that applies to my wife Ute, our children, their partners and friends and now also to our grandchildren. It is important for us to do athletics together and to support each other. This also ensures that at no time is anyone on their own, which is particularly important for the technically complex and not entirely risk-free pole vault discipline.

I hope that I will stay healthy for a long time and that I can live this passion together with my family.

I wish you all the best, especially health, in the new year.

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Doug Torbert (M68), USA – Men’s #2 Throws

What does winning the award mean to you? When I look at the list of the fellow nominees from around the world and think about the athletes I have the privilege to compete and bond with year after year, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for the acknowledgment.

What were your goals in Masters Athletics for 2019? My primary goal was to do well in at the WMA Indoor Championships in Toruń, Poland and then just be consistent throughout the rest of the year with as many 15+ meter marks as possible even hoping to maybe luck out and get a 16 meter throw (didn’t happen).

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? Peaking goal for 2020 is the WMA World Championships in Toronto. As of right now I’m healthy so I’d like to get one or two 16 meter marks in as I approach July.

What else happened for/to you in 2019 that you’d like to share? I actually traveled abroad without throwing the shot once I got there! I visited New Zealand with my wife and son – White water rafting, luge rides, jet-boating and a visit to Hobbiton – fun!

How has your health been in recent years? I always train in that range where I’m trying to make maximum gains and the risk of minor injury is higher. That being said, I’m constantly adjusting for being older – increasing rest days, sticking with safer lifts, more throw specific weight training. Right now I’m totally healthy and injury free but I’m sure something will come up as the year progresses. I’ve not had an injury yet where I haven’t been able to compete. 2017 was an anomaly where I went the whole season injury free. I was able to get two world records that year so it’s nice when it happens.

Other than Masters Athletics, what else do you do for fun? I like to travel, backpack, and read. I also still do art and illustrations. I spend most of my time pretending I don’t see the prominently displayed “honey-do” list in the kitchen.

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Myrle Mensey (W70), USA – Women’s #2 Throws

What does winning the award mean to you? Winning this award means everything. In 2019 I competed in the memory of my mother who claimed her wings on Oct 3, 2018. She was always so supportive of me. I made the ultimate sacrifice of putting in the work to be the best I can be at the age of 70 and after 20 years of competing. I’m not stopping here. I will continue to train to get even better. I feel I have a lot more in the tank. I am setting an example for the girls and masters women I train and women of all ages, that age is just a number. I have managed to maintain less than 2% dropout in the past 5 years.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? In February 2019 I turned 70. My goal was to attempt to break as many records as I could without getting injured. I set 4 World records and 8 American records. I was happy. But something inside of me kept telling me I could do better.

In 2019 I competed in too many competitions and competed when I knew my foot/ankle/tendonities, bursitis, bruised bone were a problem. That lead to an injury of my right foot/ ankle which is the power/ plant. The result of this in early 2020 is a boot for 6 weeks and 6 week of physical therapy. As you age the tendons are not as flexible, so it requires a lot more stretching and rest.  Rest – what is that? I am fortunate to have Dr Connie Hayes – sport medicine chiropractor to help me get back close to 100 % as she has done in the past.

In 2019, my foundation, Throwing and Growing relocated to a new facility, 5x bigger. Music room, fitness center, craft room, educational center and our executive offices God is good. We also started an after school music program with trauma informed practices two days a week at a local high school. In January 2020 our music program became part of the schools curriculum. We are in the process of adding a health and wellness, home economics, and technical model car and airplane construction to the curriculum in the fall of 2020.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? The goal in masters athletics for 2020  is to stay healthy, injury free and only compete  in four major competitions and continue to set records.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? For fun, I throw, enjoy traveling and spending time with my husband, building my foundation Throwing and Growing. and being a positive role model for young women interested in attending college and perusing the throwing sport.

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William Jankovich (M86), USA – Men’s #2 Combined Events

What does winning the award mean to you? The award is not for me alone.  It is a tribute to my brothers as much as it is for me.  My brother Bob was born in 1929, Jack in 1931 and me in 1933.  We were the Janks and I was “little” Jank.

After receiving “the e-mail” I called Jack and he was very excited.  He alluded to the fact that both he and Bob assumed that whatever they did…I would do.  Bob was killed in an airplane crash about 40 years ago after retiring from the Air Force.  During one year of his service, he was the U.S. Air Force hand ball champion…every time that I pole vault, I think of him.  This award would be a tribute to him.

“A last note about the Combined Events”…in high school Coach Polk used me to earn points, entering me in as many events as allowable and possible.  As I do now…pole vault, long jump, high jump, hurdles, sprints, and a relay in one meet…today add some throws.  At the University of Alabama and in the Army, the coaches used me similarly (in the Army sometimes the coach was me)…thus, the thirst for the Decathlon.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goal in 2019 was the same as of the other years of competing.  Stay healthy, have fun competing, enter as many individual events as I can fit in BUT concentrate on the Combined Events…I would have liked to win the six national and international Combined Events that I was entered in, especially the WMA Indoor pentathlon…I did more than I could have expected.  Another goal that I reached in  2019 was qualifying for the Phidippides Award for the fourth year in a row.  I do this for the fun of it , sometimes the 5K is a fund raiser, and especially for off-season conditioning.

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? The 2020 goal is much the same as 2019 (and prior).  BUT 2020 is special…since 1955 I wanted to compete in a decathlon (my first decathlon was in 1957 while in the Army and stationed in Panama, the  Canal Zone).  That goal intensified over time…winning a National decathlon first and more recently winning the World decathlon.  The decathlon in Toronto is on top of the list for 2020.  If I don’t make it this year, I’ll keep 2024 on my horizon wherever that my take me.

And I have already finished my first 5K run on the route to qualify for the Phidippides Award…my fifth year in a row.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? 2019 was banner year for me; however, something went wrong in Poland.  It was something I ate on the flight or ate at the hotel the first night in Toruń.  I “emptied out” everything in my body.  I won the long jump but the Medical group approached me on several jumps because I was dizzy and having trouble getting out of the pit (almost falling backward).  During the pentathlon in the high jump and the long jump the same thing happened.  Finishing with the 1000M it took me more than a half of an hour to pull myself together to put on my sweats.  I had the 60m hurdles won going over the second to the last hurdle which I touched with the drag leg…I went into a spin…similarly with the pole vault and the triple jump. In the 200M I struggled to stay in my lane on the curves.  Looking at the meet results, it would appear that I was at 100%.

I have an ongoing back problem.  A few years ago while clearing up the fallen branches in our backyard after a major wind storm, my back went out on from bending up and down for hours.  From time to time during and after high school I would have back strains…but now they have become more often when I lift too much weight, stand in one place too long, or bend for a long time.  I use my chiropractor to help keep me stable and I have become more careful with my lifting and bending as I age.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun?  I don’t have fun other than competing…My wife (Nancy) and I were both widowed and we combined our two families…we have about 25 direct family members…children, step children, sons and daughter-in laws, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and an “adopted” son (result of trip to the Durban WMA meet) from Zimbabwe now with a wife and two children.  I get little respect from any of them.  The only reason I put up with them at all is that when they visit (which is frequent) Nancy bakes cookies for them…I have fun eating cookies???

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José Luis López Camarena (M70), MEX – Men’s #2 Race Walks

What does winning the award mean to you? An honor and pride as a Mexican Race Walker! receive this recognition  from (WMA) Our highest sports authority worldwide.

Is a crowned effort of many years of perseverance and discipline.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goal was first to win my national track and field master athletics championship at Guadalajara, Jalisco. Mex.

1: Place 3,000 meters.
1: Place 5,000 Mts.
1: 10,000 Mts Place
20 years being national and undefeated champion
And after that win my regional Championship at Toronto, Canada
1: Place 5,000m (new regional Record).
1: Place 10 km. (new regional Record).

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020?

The most important thing for me is to Continue getting results and win another World Championship title (WMA) for this coming World Master Athletics Championship in Toronto, Canada 2020.

What else happen for/to you in 2019 that you would like to share? I’ve been world champion 25 times , 8 times world runner-up, and 2 times third place and a world record in 3,000 meters under cover in 2017 in Daegu, South Korea

2019 European Masters Athletics Championships in Venice, Italy as guest.

1: Place 5,000 m.
1: Place 20 km.

2019 National Masters Race Walk Championship at Atonilco el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico.

1: Place 5 km.
1: Place 10 km.
1: Place 20 km.

How has your health in recent years?  Well, I have 40 years  in Athletics !!! And thank God I almost never had injuries because of the discipline that I have, although I have many years in sports mostly athletics, I used to play Soccer but now and I dedicate myself completely to athletics. I train daily without stopping, without resting for a single day. Discipline is the basis of everything for athletics to be high performance. I had two Hernias as a result of the effort to win in the world championships 2018. On January 11, 2019 I had a surgery to remove them. I recovered quickly and started training little by little, until my comeback to competition and winning streak on June 2019.

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? I do enjoy having time with my family and friends, like to listen to music and enjoy nature.

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Kris Kozell (W67), CAN – Women’s #2 Race Walks

What does winning the award mean to you? Winning the WMA Athlete of the Year Women’s Race Walk award is beyond my comprehension! Just seeing my name listed with the legendary Heather Carr is an honour and very humbling.

What were your goals in Masters Athletes for 2019? My goals for 2019 were to try to defy the aging process!….meaning to continue to work as hard as possible to improve my technical difficulties and at least try to maintain, if not improve my times from the year before. I think this is a typical ‘Masters athlete’s goal’. We tweak here and reset there – it’s all part of the beauty of being a competing athlete at this stage of life while supporting each other – and I just love it!

What are your goals in Masters Athletics for 2020? For 2020 I hope to represent Canada and my race walking club with the best I’ve got to give while being a part of the wonderful camaraderie that the Worlds engender among us all. I hope all the athletes who come to Toronto will really enjoy their experience.  . I think that those in the race walking community are especially supportive of each other.

How has your health in recent years? Health is such a big issue. I hit the gym twice a week with my trainer, go to my physiotherapist/chiropractor weekly and have a massage every three weeks or so as proactive measures to minimize the stress of training and get onto injuries fast when they happen.

I owe my coach and assistant coach so much – we are trained hard but so well. Without them and the talented professionals who support me none of this would have been possible.

I might add that through much heartbreak over DQ’s comes the resilience and determination to keep trying… never give up. It gives the saying ‘no pain no gain’ real meaning!

Other than Masters Athletes, what else do you do for fun? For fun, besides race walking I love caring for my two cats (real clowns!), visiting my family down in the Niagara area, and going daily for my latte at my favourite coffee shop where I’ve made many friends over the years.

As a retired high school teacher I’ve stepped out of the classroom and found myself on a world stage. It doesn’t get any more thrilling then that. This one’s for my Mom – my biggest fan…

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