By Major Serge Faucher, D Air Prog –
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sent three serving members to the latest edition of the World Master Athletics Championship (WMAC) held in Malaga, Spain from 4 – 16 September 2018. More than 8100 athletes attended these very competitive games where Canada sent 162 athletes to compete.
Among those athletes was Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Boland (from 3 Canadian Division Headquarters in Edmonton) who was competing in the M35 category. Joe started with the 800m, posting a fast 2:01.14 min in the Qualification round, and easily moved to the Semis. From there, he turned up the heat with a 1:57.92 min race, which qualified him to advance to the Finals. He finished 9th overall in the Finals in 2:01.69 min. He also competed in the 1500m where he ran the Semis in 4:10.59 min, easily advancing to the Finals, where he finished a strong 5th overall in 4:06.79 min; an excellent performance considering he is at the top end of his age group. He will surely be a force when he turns 40 as the youngest in the new category! Joe closed the games with the M35 4 X 400m relay, which was the last even of the games. They finished 5th in a time of 3:44.57 min.
Chief Warrant Officer Claude Faucher who is currently the Deputy Judge Advocate (DJA) CWO in Borden, Ontario ran a 2:13.74 min in the M50 800m Qualification round. His next event was the 400m, which he completed in 59.94 sec. A few days later, he ran the 1500m Semis in a solid 4:47.64 min. Overall, Claude ran quite well considering that he had been hampered by a nagging Achilles tendon injury that prevented him from training properly over the last few months. He relied heavily on cross training on the Concept II rower to maintain his fitness throughout the season.
Along with the serving members present in Spain, Master Corporal (retired) Natacha Dupuis also competed in her first WMA Championships. She currently is the OSISS Peer Support Coordinator (Gatineau region) attached to JPSU, and has competed in the Invictus Games. Natacha participated in the W35 100m, 200m, and 400m race where she earned a Personal Best (PB) of 64.82 sec. On the final day, she ran in the 4 x 100m, and 4 x 400m relays. Her 4 x 100m team won a silver medal (her first ever at this level), and established a new Canadian record with a time of 50.41 sec. Heavily involved with the Invictus Games, she plans to attend the next one as a Veterans Affairs correspondent.
As for myself, things were not so good initially! I suffered two Grade 1 hamstring strains in the last two weeks before flying out to Spain. Once in Europe, I had to make the difficult decision to “scratch” the 100m and the 200m in order to buy some time to heal until my main event (400m), which took place 9 days later. I was fortunate to have access to an excellent physiotherapist on staff for Team Canada. On 11 September, 2018 I crossed my fingers, and ran a strong 400m in the Qualification round with a time of 56.14 sec. (9th/88); easily moving me to the next round as they took the top 24 runners. I unfortunately tweaked something in my ankle as a result of that race, which side lined me for a few more days. That meant back to physio before going into the relays on the last day of competition. From then on, things finally improved as we earned the bronze medal running an excellent M50 4 X 100m relay in a new Canadian record of 46.67 sec. Three hours later, I teamed up with other Canadian athletes for the start of the M50 4 X 400m, which we also completed in a Canadian record of 3:44.79 min; good enough for fifth overall. This record had stood since 1993!
It is now time to relax for a few days, as the heavy training will soon resume in October as I plan to attend the next WMAiC (Indoor Championship) that will be held in Torun, Poland from 24-30 March 2019.
Photo: Doug “Shaggy” Smith
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