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Barnes aims to keep on running
6:26pm Monday 17th September 2012 in Sport
SALE Harrier Matthew Barnes is vowing to prove his athletics life begins at 35 as he looks to ride on the crest of the wave that was the London 2012 Olympics.
Barnes believes the atmosphere around track sports has never been better following on from the success of the London Games, and will keep taking his running year by year despite turning 35 in July.
The Sale ace’s 5km personal best is 13:58 minutes, but after running 14:03 and 14:06 this season, he's proving that his running ability and enthusiasm is evergreen, also topping the McCain UK Challenge standings, the country's premier domestic athletics series.
And Barnes gives credit to coach Norman Poole for helping him maintain his levels of enjoyment, which he believes lead to the continued good performances.
"This season has gone very well, it’s really pleasing," he said.
"When you get into your middle thirties you wonder how much longer you’ll be running for, but this year has probably been the most enjoyable of my career.
"My consistency levels this year have been good. A couple of my mates were joking saying that track running is a young person’s game, but I’m still going.
"I get a lot of enjoyment from working with Norman and the group that he trains with, I feed off them. He works with some very good athletes like Michael Rimmer and Tom Lancashire.
"Not only is it something I want to keep pushing myself at, it’s also part of my social life too. It’s inspirational to run with these guys.
"Everyone feeds off each other. They probably see me at 35 and think they’ve still got a good number of years left.
"There’s a great atmosphere around athletics at the moment. I’ve been to events where Jess Ennis and Dai Greene are competing and it’s great to be amongst such great athletes."
Barnes used to run the 1500m, but believes the choice to increase the distance to 5km may well help him lengthen his career.
And although the Sale Harrier may be the wrong side of 30, he thinks he would only consider retirement if he stopped enjoying himself.
"I’m keen to keep going and hopefully I can give it another crack next year," he continued.
"My enthusiasm for running has never been as good as it is now. I think you should stop when you’re no longer enjoying yourself. I see no prospect of that in the near future - at the moment it still works very well for me.
"I park about seven miles from work and run in, then run back in the evening. It’s probably the most pleasurable part of the day so I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
"Any athlete’s prime aim is always to break your personal best and I got pretty close this year. Getting under 14 is my aim for next season."
The McCain UK Challenge is a nationwide, season long competition comprising a series of events from mid May until August for Britain’s top club athletes and aspiring internationals vying for a share in a £30,000 prize fund