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Welsh Masters Athletes set some remarkable records and read about Dave Watson's surprise mile result

*Dave Watson (*pictured above) recording some great new PBs and records.

Welsh Masters Athletes set some remarkable new records, and read about Dave Watson’s incredible one-mile dash - and his investigative work to claim a new WMAL record!

Several Welsh Masters athletes have been setting some exciting new track & field, and road running records over recent months, with some already receiving commemorative certificates in acknowledgment of their superb achievements following official verification.

And read about WMAL official, and top veteran athlete Dave Watson’s innovative investigative work as he claims a new one-mile Welsh road record following a great performance in Edinburgh.

In addition, I pay tribute to star veteran athlete Melanie Garland, who is one of WMAL’s top female competitors, and she is most certainly enjoying an excellent season so far with two excellent new PBs and Welsh Masters records in the long jump and triple jump in particular.

*Pictured above - Melanie Garland in action (*and below), she is shown with her husband Roger at a track meeting.

The VW60 member from Worcester recorded a long jump record of 4.32 in a track meeting on home soil during a WMAL club meeting on 20th May, and she later added to her impressive sporting CV with a further record of 9.23 in the triple jump on the Nuneaton track on 18th June.

And it now appears that Melanie has not only set a new Welsh Masters record, but her performance in the triple jump also became a new British Masters record!

Her husband Roger Garland additionally confirmed that this energetic all-rounder has also set other VW60 PBs and records this season at several track meetings in a variety of different events, including the 60m indoor, 100m outdoor, 200m both indoor and outdoor, the discus, and the triple jump!

Her records have also been attracting the attention of Welsh Athletics officials, with Jozie Postles, the head of marketing and communications at WA, stating: “It’s great to hear all about Melanie Garland’s records, sounds like she is having a terrific year! Master athletes really are on top form!”

*Graham Holder (*above) is pictured on action.

Graham Holder and Tracey Smedley.

Fellow veteran Graham Holder from Bexley is another track star worthy of mention following his MV50 record with a hammer throw of 54m 92 achieved at a Bournemouth Open meeting on 26th March.

He has been a regular competitor for years and still competes regularly in the Southern Counties Veteran’s League, Division 2, England Masters, and at a host of other varied track meetings around the UK.

Graham is another athlete with an impressive sporting record, and like Melanie, he has also competed in many other events including the 100m, shot and discus, and between 1993 and 2023, he has been a senior hammer champion an incredible twenty-one times.

Tracey Smedley is yet another top female athlete who made the headlines in March this year when she recorded a new 400m record on the track at Lea Valley, and later received a commemorative certificate.

Chris Pruski, from Welsh Masters’ statistics and records section, confirmed: “On Behalf of Welsh Masters Athletics Limited, many congratulations to Tracey on setting a new WV55 400m record at Lea Valley on 26th March 2023. I have sent a certificate in recognition of her achievement. Very well done.”

Dave Watson's amazing recovery from a heart attack!

I gave mention of Tracey Smedley's outstanding success following official verification on my post and blog of 5/6/23, when I also reported on a further record breaker in WMAL board member Dave Watson, who has successfully recovered from a period of ill-health, including a devastating heart attack about two years ago, to record some very impressive times on both the track and road.

I confirmed that this exceptional MV65 middle distance athlete has somehow defied a host of major health problems over the past couple of seasons to finally enjoy medal glory in various 800m, 1,500m, 5k, road, and cross-country events.

Dave explained: “I had a heart attack 18 months ago, and before that a colostomy, and reversal, and then sepsis. The heart attack was the last in the series (I hope), but I managed to get back from there gradually walking, then jogging, before finally running!

“It didn't really stop there! I then ran for my club, and I started winning races for my age (MV65) joined WMAL, and qualified to run for Wales through my mother. And then eventually, a year after my heart attack, I was selected to run for Wales proper in the XC in Santry, Dublin, and have since run in the Inter-Areas for WMAL

“Add to that, I won BMAF medals over the past few months or so at 800, 1500, 5k and XC, and then to top it off, I also ran for GB in the Masters’ World Champs in Torun, Poland, where I somewhat and unbelievably managed to finish 6th!

Dave joined the board of Welsh Masters’ Athletics earlier this year and now has specific responsibility for helping to develop future endurance, road, and cross-country events.

Dave Watson’s justifiable claim for a new one-mile road running record at Edinburgh.

Report by Don Hale.

There seems to be no stopping Dave Watson again this year, and this prolific veteran athlete now seems fully justified in adding another great new PB and WMAL record to his CV following his amazing dash in the Edinburgh mile on 4th June this year.

As mentioned in my post and blog of 5/6/23, the MV65 veteran competed at the British Masters (BMAF) Scottish Mile in Edinburgh and was reported be the only Welsh Masters’ athlete competing. He enjoyed a great run in the sun and finished 2nd in his age cat with a fast PB time of just 5 minutes and 35 seconds, which beat the previous recorded time over this unusual distance by just 2-seconds!

Dave Watson is pictured (*above) on the track and competing in the red and white vest of Wales.

Dave said: “The interesting bit was that the race was advertised as “135-runners from all four Home Nations taking part, which was true, but the Wales contingent was just one runner, me!”

He added that his understanding of a previous one-mile road record holder became the inspiration for his challenge at Edinburgh, and led to a rather peculiar conundrum, and sparked his investigative analysis.

Investigative research to discover record query?

Dave confirmed: “In the middle of all the Welsh Championship work, I was browsing and reading about Martin Rees who was a top Welsh Masters road runner a few years ago until ankle injuries forced his retirement.

“He set records all over the place but one in particular interested me, which was for the one-mile event where he ran an amazing 5 minutes 00 seconds to claim the Welsh Masters Record as an MV65. Except of course he didn’t!

“Martin never ran as a MV65 athlete, and he retired before this. His record is a genuine record, but it was set as a much younger MV60, and the main website has him correctly down as a V60 record holder over a mile on the road.

“In truth for MV65, the record belonged to Elio Lepore with a very respectable 5.37, and so it was Elio's time that I targeted in the race in Edinburgh. This was a full BMAF British one-mile championship race, where I managed to run 5.35 (gun time of course)!

“So actually, and rather unbelievably, I am now claiming the Welsh Masters V65, One-Mile Road record. I don't know how claiming records works, but hey it doesn't happen very often, so I might as well claim it! You can see my run confirmed on Power of 10, and of course Martin Rees's record still stands - but needs to be changed to MV60 to bring it correctly in line. His record is currently awaiting final verification.

*The full details of previous record achievements and news of Dave Watson’s amazing track records can be found on my previous blogs listed below: -

*WMAL blog 3rd May 2023: Welsh Master Dave Watson remains on track following his amazing recovery from a debilitating heart attack: See - Don Hale Blog: Welsh Master Dave Watson remains on track for further success:

*WMAL blog 5th June 2023: Dave Watson is fighting fit and recording great new PBs etc: See - Don Hale Blog: Welsh Master Dave Watson is fighting fit and recor...


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