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Northern Vets To participate in NVAC championships, you need to join as a second claim member (£10 for first claim members of Ilkley Harriers). Also you need to be a member of NVAC if you want to participate in International Masters races. Again, NVAC have a wide range of championship races on road, track and cross country. The standard is generally higher than the Yorkshire Vets equivalent, as runners are participating from a wider area.

British Masters BMAF events are effectively national championships for veteran runners. In recent years, the BMAF 5K championships have been held annually in June in Horwich (near Bolton). This year Sally Morley and Geoff Howard were medal winners in their respective age categories. Other championships are held around the UK, for example, I took part in the BMAF track championships in Cardiff in July, which was a really good experience. In 2011, I would like to see us send more teams to the BMAF road relays in Birmingham in May. We should be competitive in some of the age groups (in 2010, we had a Ladies team in the F35 race). I’m sure that we have several runners capable of winning medals at British Masters Championships.


At international level, the one race which requires selection is the International Cross Country. In recent years, Alison Bennett, Sarah Jarvis and Eddie Irving have all represented England. For 2010, I’ve been selected as a reserve for the England team. Selection is based mainly on results in BMAF championship races (cross country, 5K and 10K road and 5,000m track). So if you want to run for England, you need to run in these races (and be a member of NVAC).

To participate in European and World Championship Masters Road and Track events, you don’t actually need to be selected to represent Great Britain, you just need to be a member of NVAC and be prepared to pay for your own travel and accommodation (and buy your own GB vest!). Entries have to be sent to BMAF. In 2011 there are the following championships: European Indoor (Belgium), European Road (France), World Outdoor Track & Field (USA). Looking at results from previous years we have several members of Ilkley Harriers capable of achieving at least a top 10 finish at European level (if not medal contenders). For mountain running, there is the

World Masters Mountain Running Championships held annually. In 2011 the race will be held in Italy. Again you don’t need to be selected to run in this World Championship, it’s open to all runners over 35. Entries for this event should be sent directly to the organiser, not to BMAF. A number of Ilkley Harriers have participated in these races in recent years, including Geoff Howard, Norman Bush and Alison Eagle who have all had outstanding results winning medals. Every two years there is the European Masters Mountain Running Championships. In 2010 this was held in Spain. It would be good to have more Ilkley Harriers competing in vets championship races. Whether it be the local Yorkshire 5K or the World Championships, we have runners capable of doing well at all levels. Even if you don’t think that you’ve a chance of winning anything, it’s a great experience to compete in these events. Remember for the vast majority of national and international championship races you don’t need to qualify or to be selected, you just need to pay your own way to get there and your entry fee. Henry Heavisides, with thanks to Geoff Howard for his help in preparing this article.


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