Trevor Jacek competes in the M40 1,500m in the World Masters Athletics Championships.

‘Pretty incredible;’ Saskatoon masters athletes represent Canada on world stage

Trevor Jacek didn’t pick up running until he was in his late 20s and looking for a way to improve his performance in other sports. He started training seriously on the track four years ago.

Harvey Weber took nearly three decades off from running after he tore a muscle in his right calf when he was in his mid 20s. His first race back was in 2018.

Now, both Saskatoon athletes — aged 40 and 56 respectively — are competing on the track at the highest level. The pair are among the athletes representing Team Canada at the ongoing World Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Jacek ran a 4:32 in the M40 1,500m this week to secure a spot in the finals. That came after missing out on a spot in the M40 800m finals by just four tenths of a second with a semifinal time of 2:09. He will also compete in the  M40 400m before the championship meet wraps up on July 10.

Trevor Jacek reacts after advancing to the M40 1,500m finals.
Trevor Jacek reacts after advancing to the M40 1,500m finals.

Weber sadly suffered an injury in a pre-race workout and withdrew from the M55 800m. Though the decision not to race stung, Weber knows better than most the importance of prioritizing long-term health over the glory of a single event. And Jacek says Weber subsequently channelled all his energy into supporting his teammates as a cheerleader, coach and all-around support person. “He just became the best possible version of himself,” Jacek says.

The two took some time out from their championship experience to talk to the Brainsport Times about the meet and racing as masters athletes. Here’s some of what they had to say.

The World Masters Championships are a pretty big deal

The World Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships are for athletes aged 35 and over and happen every two years (indoor championships happen on alternating years). Getting to the competition is no small feat; both Jacek and Weber trained for years to put themselves in a competitive position. Weber points out that being retired (albeit with two flexible part time jobs) allows him to train twice a day on most days.

And the event itself has been “pretty incredible,” Jacek says. When athletes are called into the stadium to take their positions on the start line the crowd roars and waves and “it’s like a little mini Olympics.” The crowd often gets emotional when athletes perform well.

“People are getting choked up seeing people win a world championship,” Jacek says.

Harvey Weber poses at the World Masters Athletics Championships.
Harvey Weber poses at the World Masters Athletics Championships.

There are many former collegiate athletes — and even some former Olympians — at the event and the medaling times are impressive. But it’s often not the fastest times that impress Jacek and Weber the most.

One woman in her 70s told the pair she’d been to 25 World Masters Championships and planned to continue competing despite having a pacemaker and double knee and hip replacements.

For Weber, one of the most inspiring races was the 100m for the 100-plus age group. “I think to myself: ‘Will that be me in about 50 years from now?'” he says.

Competing against your peers is a rare — but gratifying — experience

Most of the races Jacek and Weber did leading up to the World Masters Championships were against athletes significantly younger to them — often university and high school students.

“Guys that I’ve raced with in the last couple of years are younger than my kids,” Jacek says. “They’re like ‘It’s cool that an old guy like you is still doing this.’ And I’m thinking ‘I don’t think I’m that old,’ but for them it’s like racing against their dad.”

Trevor Jacek competes in the M40 1,500m at the 2022 World Masters Athletic Championships. Photo by Doug "Shaggy" Smith.
Trevor Jacek competes in the M40 1,500m at the 2022 World Masters Athletic Championships. Photo by Doug “Shaggy” Smith.

Young athletes that Jacek or Weber compete comfortably against one season can improve rapidly and leave their older competitors in the dust in later seasons. That’s one of the nice things about racing against peers in your same age group, Jacek says: everyone mostly plateaus (or loses speed) at the same rate as they age.

There’s an incredible community of masters track and field athletes

It didn’t take long for Jacek and Weber to befriend many of their Team Canada teammates in Tampere and they’re already exploring the possibility of getting together for a training camp in the future.

“The best part (of competing as a masters athlete) is that masters athletes are very friendly and encouraging,” Weber says.

Jacek says he watched in awe as Weber seemed to befriend almost every competitor at the event.

Harvey Weber exchanges gear with M55 800m champion Marc Van Gils of the Netherlands.
Harvey Weber exchanges gear with M55 800m champion Marc Van Gils of the Netherlands.

Notably, Weber lent his Team Canada singlet to a teammate whose luggage didn’t make it to Tampere. That teammate — Mark Pinckard — went on to win gold in the M60 800m. Later, Weber ran into Marc Van Gils, the Dutch athlete who won the M55 800m, and traded a Canada shirt for Van Gils’ racing singlet.

“I will be wearing that NED singlet in future workouts thinking of how incredible it would be to be the world’s fastest master runner for my age,” Weber said. The singlet will surely get a lot of use once Weber recovers from his injury; he plans compete at a future World Masters Championships and break some Saskatchewan age group records in the process.

It’s never too late to start

Weber ran collegiately before taking a long hiatus from the sport and returning as a masters athlete, but says people don’t need any prior track and field experience to try — and excel — at track and field. Events like the World Masters Championships are perfect for those who thrive on chasing lofty goals.

“It gives former athletes or new master athletes to track and field a chance to travel all parts of the world, make new friends, and challenge themselves,” Weber says.

He says that people who retire from their careers need new purposes — and why not choose track and field? It’s something people can learn at any age and it helps with physical and mental health.

“Don’t be scared to try something new,” he says.

Team Canada members at the 2022 World Masters Athletics Championships.
Team Canada members at the 2022 World Masters Athletics Championships.

Both Weber and Jacek train with Running Wild Athletics. Jacek describes the team as an “eclectic group” of all ages and abilities including some masters athletes training alongside their kids. Other popular track clubs for masters athletes in Saskatoon are the Top Notch Masters program (formerly Century Track) and the Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association’s track program for athletes aged 55 and older. Those looking for more information on Top Notch Masters can contact Judy Warick at

At age 40, Jacek thinks he’s still getting faster — but is looking forward to training and competing on the track even once his speed inevitably starts to plateau.

“The community part and the cultural experience part are huge. Even if you never get to that top notch where you’re a legitimate medal threat being able to come to these events and mix it up with the guys — I certainly hope to continue doing it,” he says.

You’ll soon have a chance to cheer on masters athletes closer to home

The Canadian Masters Athletics Championships are happening in Regina at the Canada Games Athletic Complex from July 29 to 31. Jacek and Weber encourage people to come out and watch — or even sign up if they have been running regularly and want to try a new challenge. Jacek points out that 5,000m and 10,000m events may be attractive to masters runners who are training on the road.

If you want to know more about competing on the track as a masters athlete, Jacek and Weber are happy to answer questions about training, registering for events and anything else you may want to know about major masters meets. Send your questions to and they’ll be passed along. You can also find the pair on Instagram at @TrevorJacek and @HarvTheRunner.