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Masters rule own destiny!

Any suggestion that track and field is for the elite goes out the window at the annual jamboree for the young at heart known as the National Masters.

Athletes line up for events such as the hammer or long jump, happily admitting that they haven't put in a moment's practice since the previous year's competition. On the sidelines, the chat and conversation ends only when an athletes name is called by one of the easy-going officials.

With a bewildering number of races and age categories, keeping to the timetable has always been a problem, but a strict registration policy meant everything went off on time last Sunday.

Conditions could not have been better, although the heat did cause some suffering in the longer distance races. First of these was an absorbing women's 3000m, with early leader Liz Cuskelly of Tullamore caught by Lucy Darcy from Sportsworld with two laps to go.

Later in the day, the men lined out for the 5000m, with Gerry Ryan of Craughwell, back racing after his recent injury. leading them home in 15:13.94.

After his excellent time of 2:12.2 at the Cork Graded League, there was no surprise when West Waterford's Joe Gogh won both the over-55 800m and 1500m.

In all, four 800m men's races were held, with American guest Winston Laing an impressive winner of the M65 race in 2:39.39.

Another doubles winner was Pat Timmons from Raheny who took both over-60 800m and 1500m titles.

In a thrilling W50 800m, the ageless Mary Sheehan from St Finbarr's only caught Cushla Murphy Hehir from Bilboa in the last few metres. Winning the W60 medal was Mary Walsh of Tullamore, another of the ageless greats.

Off the track, former multi-events international Dannea Herron set a W50 javelin record of 25.94, while Sheila Champion of Sportsworld, despite suffering a stroke earlier this year, made it a W70 shot and javelin double.

Showing effortless style was Maureen Glanton from Skibbereen, winner of the W45 discus with a throw of 32.44.

Making quite an impact was the large group of women from Waterford AC, all of them graduates of the Meet and Train system, who have discovered that there is more to athletics than long-distance running.

A message there for us all in athletics!