An athlete’s career in sprinting usually shines brightly for several years before fading as age takes its toll. However, there are notable exceptions and one of those is our very own Joe Appiah, who having recently turned 50, is still performing at the top of his game.
Indeed, after a disrupted winter, little was probably expected more than an early season shakeout when the evergreen Joe turned up last weekend at the Worthing Open
. However, in the 100m hurdles Joe was able to blow off the cobwebs and smash both the previous UK (14.34) and European (14.09) M50 markers for the event, finishing in a superb 13.98.
We caught up with Joe to get his thoughts on the record run and goals for the rest of the season.
Firstly, did you expect to break the records going into your first race of the season, especially given how disrupted training and indoor racing has been?
Joe: Yes, but not at my first race in April. I trained in winter hoping indoor competitions would be allowed where I was aiming to break the WR for 60mH of 8.24s. I was using any track that was open, such as Barnes Elms, Paddington etc. in the cold.
Now those records are yours, what goals do you have for the rest of the season? Is the world record for the 100mH (13.57) in your sights?
Joe: My goals are to enjoy racing and to get close to the WR of 13.57. It’s a huge challenge to go from 13.98 to running almost half a second quicker in a sprint race. It’s going to be tough, but it gives me more motivation. I have only done a few weeks of hurdling and we have only been back on track since 29th March, so it gives me hope. I am excited to see how fast I can run once I sort out my starts because the hurdles are closer in distance, as well as getting hurdles fit. If you watch my race, you will be able to see the last few hurdles I was tired and lost technique.
Are the Masters records something that motivates you to carry on racing or is there another thing that drives you to carry on competing?
Joe: I have a stressful job. Athletics keeps me sane, it’s my release. I have an opportunity in Masters Athletics that I never did as a junior as I only started athletics properly in my mid-20s. I am also targeting the LJ record at some stage too, it’s within my capabilities and if I jump 6.10m for both indoors and outdoors, I will have them all!
Athletics is also a brilliant way to engage with people across the world, visiting places I wouldn’t otherwise consider and making great friendships.
You can watch Joe’s run from last weekend here: