Glenrothes veteran athlete John Thomson said he would be thrilled with “a medal of any colour” at the World Masters Indoors Championships in Poland this weekend, but admits he is happy just to be running again.
During an injury-ravaged 2016 and 2017, Thomson required keyhole surgery to both his left and right knee, and the 61-year-old, a regular on the Highland Games circuit, wondered if he would be ever able to run again after three knee procedures.
However, after months of rehabilitation, 2018 saw him return to the track determined to do his passion in life, and a double gold win in the M60 800m and 1500m at the British Masters last month has been a timely boost ahead of contesting the M60 1500m in Torun this weekend.
Thomson, who was due to fly out to Poland on Tuesday night, is relishing the challenge, but admits the battle has partly been won just by being able to line up on the start line next to his fellow competitors.
Thomson, Scottish Athletics Master Athlete of the Year in 2014, told the Gazette: “It’s been a long, hard struggle. I’m not at the level I used to be, but at one stage I didn’t know if I would ever get back running at all. Running is what I do and competing is what I love.
“I won silver at the world indoors five years ago in Budapest, so if I got anywhere near that I would be over the moon. I’m just happy to be back running. I front-ran the race five years ago. A Russian guy sat on my tail the whole way before winning, so maybe I’ll not go to the front this time around. I’m 61, now, so it’s tougher, I think you’ve got to be a bit wiser and decide how to run on the day, every race is different. There will be an electric atmosphere, there’s a good British contingent going and they always shout for their own guys.”
Despite being in his 60s, Thomson, who works for Glenrothes electronics company Raytheon, insisted he has no intention of hanging up his spikes.
He said: “As long I am fit and healthy and able to keep running I will. I’ve got no intention of stopping. Hopefully I can continue for as long as possible. There are people in their 80s and 90s who are extremely fit at these Masters, it is quite incredible. I love the social side and travelling. I’ve met a lot of lovely people from around the world. I’m already looking at the European Championships in Italy in September and the World Outdoors in Toronto in 2020.”