A Swanage woman in her 80s has just returned from the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Poland after winning a gold and two silver medals.
Dot Fraser aged 86 came in second place in the 60 metres sprint and the 200 metres sprint for her age group and took gold in the relay race – the oldest women from the UK to take part.
Dot with her personal trainer Joe Shepherd
Weightlifting is part of her weekly routine
Trains about four times a week
Having beaten breast cancer and despite a stroke that limits movement in her right side, Dot is determined to continue competing at international level. She trains about four times a week including a half hour session with her personal trainer Swanage-based Joe Shepherd.
Dot started running at the age of 12 but took a break when she got married, however in her 50s returned to competitive racing, joining the Lincoln and Wellington athletic club near where she then lived.
She has since lived in Weymouth, before moving to Swanage in January 2023, near to her brother John.
At the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships 2023, Dot representing GB and Northern Ireland second from left in lane 5. All the competitors in this race are at least 85 years old
Dot about to cross the finishing line in second place in the 60 metres
On the podium receiving a silver medal for the 200 metres
Set a new GB record in the 200 metres
The World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships 2023 took place over seven days from Sunday 26th March to Saturday 1st April 2023 in Torun in Poland.
“Since taking up running again in my 50s, I’ve not looked back. Every time I go abroad to compete, that’s my holiday.
“There’s a group of eight of us in our 70s and 80s from across the UK who represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We all travel out together as a team, and last year we even had a training camp in Portugal.”
“I was really pleased with the results in Poland. I completed 60 metres in 13.89 seconds – my fastest time in four years and came second in the 85 years and over category.
“In the 200 metres, I completed that in 57.14 seconds which is a new GB record and was only just beaten by a Polish lady who clearly had the home advantage!
“In the relay, I had to go down an age group into the 80 plus category to make up a team. There was only one team so we got the gold but we ran against the 70 age group and beat them, so that was pretty good going!”
Dot (centre lane 5) and her friends featured in an article in Women’s Weekly in 2011 and this was one of the images used in the magazine
Having returned to running Dot won gold at the European championships in Italy in 1998
Completed the London Marathon twice
Dot says that she has always lived an active lifestyle and has never learnt to drive, which meant that she used to go on her bike everywhere.
Her husband was also a keen cyclist as well as a footballer and often used to accompany her on his bike, when she was training for races. Dot competed in the London Marathon in 1993 and 1994. Sadly her husband died in 1999.
Other gym users realise they have to up their game when Dot is in the gym!
Exercises are based on fitness not age says Joe Shepherd
“It shows the potential to others in their 40s,50s and 60s”
Now living in Swanage, Dot runs regularly at King George’s playing fields and trains once a week at Joe’s Gym.
Joe Shepherd said:
“I don’t train Dot any differently than I do anyone else. I adapt the exercises based on her fitness rather than age and also on what she wants to achieve.
“It’s interesting and empowering to see what people can achieve if they put their mind to it. It shows the potential to others in their 40s,50s and 60s.
“Over my 26 years as a personal trainer, you meet extraordinary people and Dot is one of those – totally inspirational. I have had other younger clients training at the gym at the same time as Dot and when they see Dot, they start to work a bit harder!”
The recently won world championship medals that Dot can now add to her extensive trophy cabinet
European championships in Italy
So what next? Dot said:
“I’ve got the European games in Italy in September so there’s no let up from the training.
“I’ve got my eye on the running track at The Swanage School – it’s the only one in the town. Do you think they would let me use that to get up to speed for the Europeans?”
Well who knows? Dot could probably give some of the students a run for their money!
Dot Fraser, athlete representing GB and Northern Ireland at international competitions, based in Swanage