A New Forum Star is Born!
World Masters Athletics Championships Riccione, Italy, Sept 4th—15th.My experience: -It was essential to enter these Championships within a week of running London Marathon. So the pressure was on straightaway. I was a complete debutante. I was unaware of what to expect. I didn’t know about registration and declaration, except it had to be done. About 2 weeks before the event I found that declaration for my first race was to be done after our flight arrived in Rimmini!!! I, therefore, had to book another flight out and my husband joined me later.I met up with a few other competitors at Luton airport and so the enthusiasm started to grow. On arriving at Rimmini, I decided to save a bit of money and take the airport but and train to Cattolica, where I was staying. This did indeed turn out to be the much cheaper option. However, I didn’t know that Italian train platforms are very low and there are huge steps up to the train door. I had help with my case up the steps but when it came to getting off the train then it was another matter. So I decided to just chuck my case down and hope for the best. I arrived safely at my hotel, which was incredible cheap; it was a hotel for Italian families. Not much English was spoken but I got by! I went for an easy 2-mile run to get rid of all that sitting that had taken place on the plane etc. I found that there were about 2k of boardwalk along the promenade. That surface was new to me for running on.
The next day, I went into Riccione by bus and got my Registration out of the way and was able to do my Declaration at the same time. Lots of tents and marquees and stalls, rather like Expo for FLM. But there was no queuing. I also managed to get a massage by the British Medical Team, which was very welcome after all the case carrying and chucking that had gone on the day before. Then later in the evening was the Opening Ceremony. A lovely young German athlete, with whom I had met up with earlier in the day and myself made our way to the meeting point and stood for rather a looooong time waiting for proceedings to commence. There was lots of photo’s being taken, particularly by all the Japanese. Next we marched from a very expensive area in Riccione to Roma Piazza where there was a dancing display with fireworks following on afterwards.
There were 3 different stadiums where the races were to be held and they were not particularly near each other, there were shuttle buses running regularly between them all. But with 9000 competitors the buses soon filled up and were quickly packed like sardines.
The first day of the Championships were cancelled due to a Tornado. This was mainly the Cross-country events. Then the following morning I was out training early in the morning, it had been thundering and lightening all night when a heavy hailstorm descended on me when I was trying to do my strides, not an experience I would recommend, it looked like winter snow on the ground for about half an hour.
The next couple of days I kept my head down did what training that was needed and rested and the day before my 5000 m’s I walked for about 1 hour+. Stewart arrived in the evening and I had to change hotels. I was feeling extremely nervous and apprehensive by this time.
I slept a little but not much, woke up feeling sick and had indigestion. Ate my breakfast, we caught the buses in plenty of time for the race. Ran out into the countryside for my warm-up, it was very quiet and peaceful and pretty too. Then it was time to report to the Call Room where you are identified, checked on and where one stays for about 20 mins or so. Everybody seemed to know each other and was chatting away. I just sat quietly eyeing up the opposition. Then it was time for us to be escorted across the track to the start line. Nerves disappearing now. I was on my stage!!! The gun goes and we are off. I quickly settle into 3rd spot (thinking to myself, I could win a bronze medal here, I was ranked 6th on paper and had not expected a medal at all) and purposely stay in this position until the 9 th lap or thereabouts, the Portuguese lady lying 2nd then moves into 1st place, I quickly have to make a decision, do I go with her, I decide at that moment not to. But I do move into 2nd spot over the next lap and make my mark to stay in front of the Finnish runner. I am tempted to go and try to catch the leader but am worried about losing silver medal position; I know she is not far behind. Eventually the end of the race is here and I cross the line in Silver Medal position with the Bronze Medallist only 9 secs behind me. It is a track pb by a couple of seconds, but not the fastest that I have run 5k. 22.52. I am full of euphoria. We have to wait an hour or so for the medal presentation. This takes place on a podium and I felt so proud and very emotional standing on the silver spot. The Portuguese winner, is so much smaller than me, I felt like a giant. But she had attitude to make up for her lack of height. She somehow got both myself and the Bronze medallist to hold each corner of her flag for the Podium photo. I was rather resistant to holding another countries flag, but did it out of politeness, and dropped it as soon as I could!!! I felt really good after the race, and can honestly say that it was a very comfortable race, with a sprint put in at the end. My recovery was very quick.
We went to see various events over the next few days, lots of shouting, cheering and clapping was carried out.
The day arrived for my 10,000 m’s. I didn’t sleep at all the night before and had to get up at 5.30 for a quick snack and then get ready for the taxi arriving at 6.45. I did not trust the buses on this occasion. Too early. I soon settled down when we arrived at the Stadium. Call room again, this time I was chatting too!! We were again escorted to the start line, this time there were other older age groups as well as my LV65. I had never run 10k on track before, so this was going to be very different. We had chips this time for the race, to help the lap counters and there would be lots of lapping going on. Off we went. I had been told to definitely not take on the 10,000 as 25 laps in the lead is a very hard lonely place to be. So I took up 2nd place and was pulled around 15 laps at near 5k pace. Then the same Portuguese Lady who won the 5000 m’s took off. No way could I follow. Apparently, Stewart tells me that she surged for about 200 m’s then settled down into the pace that she had been running before. We had both had to lap many, many runners. I knew that I was in a fairly comfortable Silver Medal position as I had already lapped the Japanese lady who was lying 3rd. I was certainly very pleased when the race came to a conclusion and I again realized that I had another Silver Medal under my belt. I can vouch for the 25 laps being very different to running a 10k on road!!!!The Portuguese Gold Medallist was a very strong runner and I noticed in the 10k how relaxed she was when racing, in particular her hands. Another, rather long waits for the presentation of medals. I knew what to do this time; the Silver Medallist is the one who leads the procession to the podium. Again, we had to hold the Portuguese flags! Again, I was the tallest by far. Stewart tells me that I would have made 2 of the lovely Japanese Bronze medallist.
Off now to Riccione Stadium, which was a bit of a trek, being the furthest stadium away from where I had just ran. Feeling rather tired this time both mentally and physically and not happy about having to stand up on the bus for the next 15 mins, having just stood to wait for the bus too. But the purpose of the visit was to get the medal engraved and to eat lunch. Job done, time to come home, which we did the next day.If I had known better I would have stayed for the relays. I certainly would have had a chance to run in the 4x 400 relays, as someone slower than me was in the team and they won a bronze medal. But next time I will know what to do!!
World Championship Silver Medallist
Just keep saying it
Thanks for the report ceal, great reading
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