M35 world champ Stew Marshall puts COVID-19 in rearview mirror, updates WMA site

Stew Marshall won gold in a 2016 Perth relay and took home three titles at 2018 Malaga worlds.Stew Marshall won gold in a 2016 Perth relay and took home three titles at 2018 Malaga worlds.

In 2016, Stewart Marshall of Great Britain competed in his first world masters meet — in Perth, Australia. It didn’t go well. He entered the 200 and 400 but “made the quick decision” not to run the deuce due to injury the week after his nationals. Then in the 400 final, he was DQ’d. But he came home with two M35 golds in the 4×1 and 4×4 relays. And in 2017, he further showed his dedication to our niche sport by becoming the website manager for World Masters Athletics.

In 2018, he made up for Perth by winning the M35 400 in 49.37 (see video below) at Malaga worlds. (His all-time PR is 48.6.) He repeated his double relay gold.

But this year came a scarier setback. On his 3-year-old master-athlete.com blog, he recently posted:

Towards the end of last week I became ill, during the training I was becoming easily out of breath (first clue) but I ignored it. The session last Friday was actually a positive one, and I even managed a session on Sunday which I will log below just to keep in the swing of it.

Sunday, Overspeed – 3x3x20m downhill sprints

However, Sunday afternoon was horrific, my symptoms worsened severely and was bed bound around 2pm, where I have stayed pretty much since until late yesterday. In fact the only symptom I hadn’t shown was the dry cough, but I was able to be tested on Tuesday, and confirmed yesterday that I had contracted [COVID-19]. Not gonna lie, the week has been sobering to say the least.

I am lucky as I write this that I am starting to feel better.

After being contacted by one of Stew’s readers, I messaged the Malaga triple champ via Facebook, and he graciously updated his health status. He wrote last week:

I’m lucky that I am still very fit, have been able to recover almost fully to date, mostly now just a slight shortness of breath seems to be lagging.

I am one of the many placed on Furlough here in the UK. I am a compliance and risk consultant for an IT provision company. (Which means I have taken a 20% salary cut.)

I live alone, so thankfully hasn’t affected any of my family which is a huge relief, but of course meant I was alone. Luckily I wasn’t needed to be submitted into ICU, but was bed bound for three days as it went through its worse phase.

I am also a sprints coach and so trying to keep my squad in shape remotely has been difficult at this time. And of course as the WMA webmaster, keeping a view on all the cancellations and goings on has been a busy time.

Stew is our sport’s future, so I’m thrilled to see him hang in there and also contribute via his web and blogging skills. He should know that, God willing, he’ll be competing another 50 or 60 years. Then, in 2080, he can take over my gig. Stay healthy, Stew!

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at TrackCEO@aol.com or kens@timesofandiego.com. Story tips always welcome!

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