M35 middle-distancer launches UK masters track site
Mike Toal, a world-class 800 man in Britain, has begun work on a masters track Web site focusing on UK masters news and issues. It’s a bit skimpy now, but he’s already posted a Forum, poll and a bunch of section pages. I wrote Mike, 36, to encourage him to challenge authority and cover issues not dealt with by the official BMAF Web site, and he replied: “As I’m a new boy on the block in terms of my involvement with Masters Athletics, I am relying on the more ‘forthright’ members of UK Masters to tell it how it is — and tell me how the website should be, but I’m sure that will come in bucketloads! Hopefully in the coming weeks and months I’ll be able to push it the right direction and get it to where everyone wants it to be.”
Mike also wrote me:
I’m certainly not touchy about any criticism that will inevitably come my way. I’m looking for the website to evolve and to be of use — to be whatever the athletes want.
An indication that he’s off on the right foot is this provocative post:
Will the future format of Masters Athletics be the Eurpoean Masters Games in Sweden or European Veterans Track & Field Championships in Slovenia both taking place next summer?
Which one will you be attending — let me know what you think using the Poll above or make your views known on the forum. My opinion is the bigger the event, coverage and atmosphere the better – so long as the organisation is up to it. My vote is for the Olympic format of EMG (website is http://www.emg2008.com)
Tom Phillips, responding on the Forum, replied:
The poll launched on this site is interesting, as it comes after a few comments I’ve heard myself expressing concern about the “conflict” between next year’s European Masters Champs in Slovenia and the staging of the first ever European Masters Games in Malmo, Sweden, three weeks or so later.
Personally, I see no conflict. Given that we have a calendar now that contains at least a World and a European championship each year for stadia events, including indoors, and usually a non-stadia championship too, anything else is inevitably going to need to fit in fairly close to something else. Three weeks apart is cutting it fine, I suppose, and EMG 2008 will also clash with the Olympics — a pain for those of us who might like to watch Beijing on tv. However, my view is that it is good to have another opportunity for good quality international competition, especially if it will definitely be in Europe and thus within easy travelling.
Perhaps a pity that it will give two European events within about a month. However, I’ve never heard anyone comment when the World Masters Games fall into the same year as the World Masters athletics (and they will do so in 2009).
Seems to me that anything we can do to raise the profile of Masters sport, and Masters Athletics in particular, is a good thing. If people don’t want to do both, they need to choose the one that best suits them. I don’t see the events in conflict, or as any sort of longer term alternatives myself.
Now that’s good substantive discussion. Keep it up, mates!