On your marks, get set, go…

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It doesn’t seem like 12 months since I wrote that the World Masters Games were just a year away.

I think I said that if anyone was every considering reliving their heyday in sport, or wanted to experience an Olympic type atmosphere without the need for qualifying scores and with much more of a social life, then this was that opportunity.

Touted as one of the biggest sporting events, up there with the football World Cup and the Olympic Games, it’s exceptionally cool that this massive event is here in New Zealand and most especially that the cycling and rowing are coming to Waikato.  

One would probably assume that being a Masters event with no qualifying standards, that athletes may not have trained very much. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Often due to being a little more flush with money and time, there are athletes who have been training as regularly as their non-master counterparts, with technical coaches, strength and conditioning programmes and the best gear, for more than 12 months.  

Add to that a handful of Olympic medallists who have put their racing uniforms back on and the competition will be fierce.

Biology would say that part of the natural aging process means muscles get weaker, reactions get slower and the heart gets less efficient at pumping around oxygen, and there is no denying that.

So bearing in mind this unavoidable biological clock, there is no time to waste doing anything but the most effective training. With time and money, often kids and also running a business factored in to the mix, the level of commitment becomes even sharper.

And of course there are always those wiry and wise athletes who admirably and successfully defy age-related decline.

However if there is one thing I have seen over all my years of training people, it’s that there is a base of muscle memory and skill that the body never forgets.

There is also nerve, tenacity and courage which is learned over years of high performance and tends to become part of one’s nature, and being competitive seems built in to the DNA. So there will be those who haven’t spent 12 months training, and who will still go home with a gong or two.  

I am looking forward to watching some of my best friends in action, reliving their heyday.

With muscle memory, their skill level and a fair bit of guts and determination thrown in alongside some very hastily crammed practice, I’m pretty sure they’re going to do okay. Because they were always good, and that’s why they won medals in their heyday.

Class is forever.

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