MASTERS ATHLETICS IS A-L-I-V-E AND WELL !!!
Middle distance magic – some of SA’s best masters middle distance athletes on show at the World Masters Athletics Championships !
An athlete who really stands out amongst many masters middle distance athletes, is Len Claassen. His first love was always soccer, but in his late thirties he put his mind (and hidden talents) to work. He was Chairperson of Western Province Masters Athletics for many years where he was one of the stalwarts on and off the track.
Besides displaying his organising skills during the S.A. Masters Championships held in 1991 at Green Point, Cape Town, he found time during his busy 2-day schedule to produce one of the most exciting 800m races in the Mens 40 – 44 age group ever witnessed at a meeting when he beat the wellknown and famous 800m athlete Danie Malan, who graciously accepted defeat. Len, being such a versatile athlete in the sprints, 400 and 800m, showed Danie a clean pair of heels in the 800 m on that day, when he outsprinted him over the last 150m.
Thereafter W.P. Masters’ loss was Gauteng North Masters’ gain when Len transferred to Pretoria. He has made a huge contribution to the administration of Gauteng North and S.A. Masters Athletics, where he served as Chairman and Vice President respectively. He has also continued to make his mark on the international masters scene over the past 20 years and has re-written the record books on more than one occasion in the 800m.
He holds the Mens 50 age group 800m S.A. record with a time of 2.01,86 and the Mens 60 age group record of 2.16,49. He has represented South Africa at 10 World Masters Championships. He still coaches middle distance athletes at the University of Pretoria and has managed several Gauteng North provincial teams to S.A. Junior, University and Senior South African Championships.
Len always gives 100% in everything he does and can be viewed running in the Men 55 World Championships 800m Final in Italy in 2007, finishing in a time of 2.11,62. He also ran a very fast time of 56,06 in the Mens 400m Final. Len and his wife, Stephanie, who has also competed in numerous world championships and won titles in the 400m and 300m hurdles, also find time to participate in cross country, road running, the Argus cycle tours and compete in the iron man competitions !