For any parent wanting to take up athletics, they only have to look at the achievements of Dubai-based athlete Emma Jordan.
The 38-year-old Brit stole the show in the latest round of the Ultimate Athletics on Thursday clocking a current season record time of 1.09.63 in the Masters 400 metres.
Not bad, considering the Devon native only took up athletics again earlier this month after an absence of nearly 20 years from the track.
The mother of three, who has been living in the UAE for the past five years, is a personal trainer and runs with the New Balance Run Club every Monday.
“This was my first official race. I’ve been training for the last five weeks and said to myself, ‘I want to try to see how I’d be at it’,” said Jordan.
“Running has always been a passion of mine. I used to run the 800m and do the high jump back in school. Now, at my age, it’s nice to be able to compete with people my age who also enjoy it.
“I’m going to try get a better time in the next edition. I’m only training properly two weeks.
“I want to get a time that I feel good with. As long as I enjoy it, that’s the main thing.”
At 38, she is showing that age is no barrier when it comes to competing in sport. In fact, competing isn’t the only thing on her mind.
Inspiring the younger generation, especially her kids, is the most important thing for her.
“It’s really important. It’s good for the kids to teach them and show them. Even going down to kids’ school sports day and getting involved,” she said.
“All the women I train are mainly mums. It’s good for them.
“They bring their kids along. It’s great to get everyone into fitness and to try to find something we all enjoy.”
Another athlete who sparkled under the bright lights at Sports City was London native Dima Godfrey.
The 39-year-old, who works as a sales manager in Dubai, claimed both the Masters 100m and 200m in emphatic style, clocking respective times of 11.61 and 24.08 seconds.
The towering Englishman is no stranger to life on the track having previously ran a personal best of 10.8 seconds for the 100m many years ago.
Now, living in the Emirates since 2013, Godfrey has been balancing his life between a busy job, two kids and testing his mettle at sprints and endurance sports. He has ran eight marathons and competed at the Ironman 70.3 Dubai twice.
A serious effort for a man who turns 40 later this year and still looks as sharp as somebody in their late 20s.
“I just want to beat my time every time I run, which I’ve been doing so far,” he said. “I just want to get quicker and quicker each time. I want to enjoy it.”
Godfrey has lowered his times at each attempt this season – reducing his 60m time from 7.74 to 7.41 seconds and lowering his 100m from 11.7 to 11.4 seconds. With two races remaining, he aims to go as close to 11 seconds as possible while also inspiring others to get involved.
“I want to show people, that you can have the full-time job, have kids and still have time to train and keep in shape. My three-year-old daughter likes to come to watch me too, so I want to inspire my two kids and keep them going,” he said.
“This event is like the Diamond League. You train for four weeks and then you have a race night. I’ve told Lisa (Campbell, Ultimate Athletics’ founder) the more people you tell, the more will come. It’s grown a lot. The next time there will be more too. It’s fantastic what they are doing.”
Elsewhere, Rafael Roots clinched victory in the Masters 60m with a time of 7.31 seconds. The Cameroonian is the fastest qualifier so far with a personal best of 7.30.
In the 800m, Irishman Conor O’Donovan continues to set the bar for middle distance running in the UAE. The 17-year-old JESS student glided around the track to record a third-successive win this season in 2 minutes 02 seconds.
Round 4 of Ultimate Athletics Racenight takes place on Thursday, February 28.
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