Masters and Veterans Racing by Mick Wall

Many would argue that people only get started running once they reach 35 years old. But if you’ve already reached that milestone did you know that you now qualify to run in masters (or veterans) only races?

Ladies, V35 also means veteran status for yourselves as well as the men.

So sorry, 35 years old means you are a Veteran (old), or “Masters” as the newfangled politically correct term puts it.

The British Masters Athletic Federation is the organisation that oversees these competitions.

We are a Federation of geographically located clubs covering the whole of Britain & N. Ireland with over 5,000 active athletes from aged 35 upwards. Our remit is to encourage, organise and regulate athletics in 5-year age groups for Masters/Veteran athletes.

Whatever your current level of fitness or age, there is a place for you in the true Corinthian spirit. Whether you would like to try the long jump, throwing events like the javelin or discus, or run any distance from the 60m indoor right up to the marathon, cross country, race walking or relays, you will be competing against athletes in your own age category and older, right across the whole spectrum of the sport.

For more information, please visit the British Masters Athletics Federation website. And especially take a look at the plethora of events organised throughout the year on their fixture page.

To be able to fully take part in all the BMAF races you need to join one of the geographically located clubs as mentioned above. For us, our local club is the Northern Masters Athletics Club which is also known as the Northern Vets. As Striders members we already have UK Athletics affiliation so we only need to join the Northern Masters on a second claim basis. Note: this does not affect your Striders membership in any way.

If you look at the BMAF fixtures you will notice that many of them are located down south. Thankfully, the Northern Masters fixture list comes our rescue with events up our way.

The final piece of the “vets” jigsaw is the Yorkshire Veteran’s Athletic Association. There is no membership required for YVAA as Striders already pay a small yearly fee to be affiliated. So as long as you are old enough you are eligible to run in any event.

So if you fancy trying the long jump, the 100m dash, cross country or a 1 mile race against other V35+ racers, with no whipper-snappers to get in the way, then there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year.

In the majority of events, particularly track and field the entrants will be split into the 5 year age groups of V35, V40, V45, V50 etc. But each event can work differently, so be sure to read the entry information and rules.

Many see the highlight of the year as the British Masters Road Relay Championships which takes place in Birmingham each May.

Teams compete in 10 year age groups as follows:

  • M35-M44 (teams of 6 runners)
  • M45-M54 (teams of 4)
  • M55-M64 (teams of 3)
  • M65-M74 (teams of 3)
  • M75+ (teams of 3)
  • W35-W44 (teams of 4 runners)
  • W45-W54 (teams of 3)
  • W55-W64 (teams of 3)
  • W65-W74 (teams of 3)
  • W75+ (teams of 3)

With each team member running a single 5k lap.

If you are older you can run with younger people in their team, but no younger members are allowed in older teams.

For example, a M35-M44 team could have a 4 x 40 year old, 1 x 47 year old and 1 x 56 year old.  But everyone in a M55-M64 team has to be at least 55 years old.

If you look at the results on the BMAF results page you can see it’s a very competitive event with some wonderfully talented runners in attendance across all age groups.