Wyke runner triumphs in Turkey veteran championships

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A triumphant Wyke runner won two gold medals at the European Veterans Athletics Championships in Turkey.

Keith McGhie mounted the podium twice after finishing first in the 800m sprint and as part of Great Britain’s 4x400m relay team in the M55 age bracket.

A member of the Spenborough and District Athletics Club for more than 22 years, the Izmir games was his first major championships.

Keith, 55, said: “The moment you cross the finish line it’s a sense of relief. It was relief that I finally nailed one and elation because I tend to get nervous.

“I didn’t want to go and not do myself justice. I was quietly confident without telling anybody else.

“I was inundated with comments on the internet and Facebook when I won.”

After reaching veteran age Keith, who works as a freelance journalist, has competed in the British Championships, twice scooping 800m silver medals – and once missing out on the top spot by seven-hundredths of a second.

During the 800m final in Turkey, Keith beat Italians Alfredo Bonetti and Franco Maffei in 2 minutes, 11.27 seconds – the quickest time by a British athlete in his age category this year.

He attributes much of the relay success to team members John Wright, Jeff Battista and John Mayor, who left him in front of the advancing Germans on the last stretch in the Ataturk Stadium.

“The relay was a lot easier because I was not as nervous. I wasn’t expecting to win but I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t get a medal,” he said.

“I didn’t look behind me, I just closed my eyes and ran as fast as I could.”

A keen cyclist, Keith is not sure how long he will continue to run competitively for, but still knows what keeps him going.

“In recent years I’ve got a kick out of there being people who are young enough to be my children and grandchildren and still being able to beat them.

“I still enjoy the exhiliration of running fast.

“I come home from work in the evening and go out for a run, and it will relax me for the rest of the evening.”

He thanked Spenborough and District AC stalwart Sheila Bolland and member Michael Dransfield, who havepushed him more than anyone else during training.

The club will stage the Yorkshire Veterans Championships in October.