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Falkirk Victoria Harriers, Caroline Lawless and Alex Bryce competed with

distinction in the 20th World Masters Athletics Championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Having endured the long flight the Vics lined up with over 4,000 other master athletes aged 35 to almost 100 in the 12 day extravaganza of track and field athletics, race walking, marathon and cross country running. The pair competed in 800m, 1500m and 4x400m.

After finishing well, fifth of a fast heat of the W50’s 800m in a time of two minutes 54.29 seconds, Lawless ran a similar time in the final and was ninth overall.

Bryce got over a summer of niggling injuries to finish 4th with a time of 2.13:18 and was 10th quickest overall in the M50’s.but in the final he found himself with a wall of athletes in front of him at the half way mark as the field bunched and despite his efforts to move up the field he finished 11th in 2.14:13.

After a day’s rest on perhaps the warmest day of the championships the Vics were back in action in the 1500m semi finals, or so Caroline Lawless thought. After warming up and enduring the nerve racking procedures and protocols of the call room the officials discovered that several athletes who had declared to run had not turned up and no race was required to narrow competitors down to the field of 16 required for the final.

Instead, she took in Alex’s race where a controlled run ensuring he ran just enough to make the final finishing fourth with a time of 4.42:08. The 1500m finals were met with atrocious thunder and lightning on a flooded windy track, weather more often associated with Cross Country in Scotland. Again the Vics ran well adapting to the conditions and difficulties posed. Alex was first in action and after a cagey opening 600m with the field bunched, he decidedto make the field work, recording a time of 4.43:68 in 12th. Conditions improved slightly for the ladies races, although it was still very wet and windy. Caroline ran a strong race picking a few competitors off in the final laps to finish an excellent 10th with a time of 
5 .57:11 secs.

The championships were far from over for the Vics as they were drafted into the 4x 400m relay teams on the final day. In better conditions Bryce dropped down to join to the M45 age group to make up the British Team which included Andy Ronald. He had also run the 1500m completing only his second of the year in the heats before enduring the monsoon of the final where he finished ninth with a time of four minutes 30.77secs. Both Ronald (58.9 secs) and Bryce (59.3 secs) broke 60 seconds for their respective second and third legs as they help the British Team to finish fifth.

Caroline also had the long second leg for her 4 x 400m team running well to position the team in bronze medal position which they held until the end.

The difficulties endured throughout the championship were forgotten as the large contingent of Scots enjoyed the now customary “Scottish Dinner” to bring the championships to a close.