Half a dozen Armidale athletes proved they are only getting better as they get older with a whopping 15 medals between them at the NSW Athletics Masters on the weekend.
Armidale Athletics club president Jay Stone, along with Nikki Miller, Andrew Kidd, Adam Bettison, Ruwan Cooper and Anna Dellow took on the track and field events on the weekend and, from a combined 14 races, broke 12 personal bests.
“It is just unheard of, especially for athletes at their age,” Stone said.
“When you're coaching kids, they are getting older, stronger, more mature, learning as they go but these are people who might have been people who were sitting on the couch doing nothing and they have got off their butts, made a positive change to their lives and gotten out there.
“To see that kind of improvement is just incredible. It is not easy to improve as your body is aging.”
Ruwan Cooper brought home the biggest medal haul with six.
He earned gold in the 35 to 39-year-old 100 metre and 60m sprints as well as silver in the long jump, 200m, triple jump and high jump.
“He did really well, everybody did really well but a year ago that was Ru's first meet back in athletics after 10 or 15 years off, he hadn't run since high school,” Stone said.
“A year ago he went to that meet, thrown in at the deep end and faced some pretty tough competition and was like 'right I have to work a lot harder to be competitive' and 12 months on it was really pleasing to see him get the rewards for all of his hard work.”
Nikki Miller had one of the busiest schedules at the championships and managed six personal bests in her 35 to 39-year-old age group as well as gold in the 2000m steeplechase.
Stone added two more golds to his collection with wins in the 35 to 39-year-old 200m and 400m events.
Anna Dellow picked up a set of medals with gold in the 800m, silver in the 200m and bronze in the 400m.
Andrew Kidd won gold in the 30 to 34-year-old 400m and a silver in the 800m while Adam Bettison claimed bronze in thet 40 to 44-year-old 400m.
It’s the biggest team Armidale has taken to the NSW Masters and Stone said he hopes he can encourage more athletes to keep running into the future.
“In previous years I have gone to this competition and it has just been me, then it was me and one other guy so to have half a dozen athletes down there was fantastic. We all had such a great trip and can't wait for next year with an even bigger team,” he said.