Angela Kikugawa tells us of her rather successful trip to the World Police & Fire Games.
The World Police and Fire Games are held every two years at different Cities throughout the world. Open to all law enforcement officers, the competition was originally dominated by American and Canadian participation. In recent years it has moved outside North America, being held in Belfast in 2013. This year it was in Asia for the first time, in the City of Chengdu, China.
I have been attending the Games for almost 15 years as a (now retired) member of HM Prison Service. Athletics is only a small part of the games which includes a full track and field programme, a half marathon and cross country races.
My best games were in 2007 but I was a very disappointed with my runs in 2015 and 2017. Like so many people moving into their fifties I seemed, for a variety of reasons, to be getting slower and slower.
I signed up with Full Potential in December 2018, hoping that in time for this year’s Games I might be able to arrest the decline! Working with Ben I have introduced cross training, strength and conditioning work and also interval work and tempo running; running up to four times a week.
It has really made a difference. The conditions in Chengdu were horrendous, with the cross country event run in temperatures of 40 degrees and the track 5k and 10k in a slightly cooler 35! The half marathon thankfully had cloud cover, but humidity hit 95%. Naturally everybody’s times were significantly slower than expected. Nonetheless having run for some 30 years I was able to judge how I was doing – and it was much better than I had hoped. The older 5 year age categories in the Games have very few competitors, sometimes only two or three and occasionally only one, but despite that I was pleased to win the Gold Medal in all four of the running events I entered; something I had never done before. But more than that I was able to run four races in close succession in awful conditions with not so much as a niggle. (I am grabbing the wood) After all, much as gold medals are nice to receive, there is not much better than feeling, at age 57, stronger and fitter than you have for years.