The Pole Vaulting Diaries

News just in… This week I was in Turkey for the European Masters Athletics Championships where I actually won – in the over 45’s category. I’ve never won anything significant before (with all due respect to the organisers of the Wyndsley Games Open, 1995).

It just goes to show that if at first you don’t succeed, wait a few decades until everyone else either can’t run anymore, or has lost interest, and you will eventually get somewhere. So, very excited to be the new European over 45 pole vault champion, with the above caveats, of course. I got a few silvers and bronzes over the years but never actually won anything.

A fellow British competitor in the Women’s over 55 Pole Vault was wearing BAM sports shorts to compete in. Was I was torn between reporting her to management for not wearing GB kit and being proud she chose BAM.  Now I wonder?

My Three tips to a long and healthy life:


The great unsung hero of fitness (health as well of course). If it’s a great platform for sprinting and pole vaulting, it’s a great platform for anything. 1-2 hours once or twice a week, striding out, perfect. Or 30 min’s/day. Whatever.


It loosens off tension in the whole body; it builds a platform of strength in all foot, leg, bum, abdominal and lower back muscles without threatening them at any one moment. Non impact on knees and hips, the two biggies. That platform allows you to do so much more of other stuff, rather than less of everything. It keeps you operating at a higher level across life in general. Added bonus is you put the world to rights and feel good. Proper shoes / trainers of course.


As you get older, everything starts to slacken off; muscles, tendons, etc. You slump and get stiff as opposed to being ‘taught and elastic’. Like a screw coming loose eventually rattles around and causes trouble.

Pilates tightens everything up a bit, in a non impact, non threatening way.


 Specifically for runners. We lose ballistic strength because that ‘tautness’ has gone. No springiness.

I see it everywhere in Masters athletics. That ‘bounce’ goes. Skipping – on mats to save the joints – is a non threatening, low level plyometric or ballistic strengthener.

It gives you that bounce back in your stride, just a bit. 10 min’s is a lot. 5 x 2 min’s. Or whatever you can do.

Forget pole vaulting, these three are a blueprint for a long and healthy life, in my humble view. I couldn’t help but share.

If you have any thoughts, additions or caveats, please share, I’ll add our combined wisdom to anyone interested when we launch the new collection.


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