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Another B.C. record for 77-year-old Prince George athlete

It’s another BC record for a Prince George Track & Field athlete. Tom Ukonmaanaho, who is 77 years old and doesn’t practice the event, flew through the air in pole vault to beat the old record of 2.
1 Tom Ukonmaanaho with a new pole vault record for his age (76)_0825
Tom Ukonmaanaho, 77 years old, in Kamloops at the Dylan Armstrong Track Classic held May 6 and 7, takes the BC pole vault record for 75m with a height of 2.30 metres.

It’s another B.C. record for a Prince George Track & Field Club athlete.

Tom Ukonmaanaho, who is 77 years old and doesn’t practice the event, flew through the air in pole vault to beat the old record of 2.22 metres for men aged 75-79 years, with a leap of 2.30 metres at the Dylan Armstrong Track Classic meet held in Kamloops May 6 and 7.

The record was set by Gerard Dumas in 2010, and he locked it in with a repeat in 2013.  Dumas has the record for 80-85 year old men, too, with 2.02 metres he set in 2015 and currently holds the 85-89 men’s record set in 2021 with 1.65 metres, which is also the Canadian record.

Here’s hoping Ukonmaanaho can follow Dumas’ longevity and keep breaking records.

Ukonmaanaho has held several records over his athletic career, including current BC records for the 100m and 200m sprints for 70m, 4 x 100 relay for 65m, 4 x 400 m relay for 60m and 4 x 400 for 70m. His team currently has the BC and Canadian record for the indoor 4 x 400 metre relay 75m with the approval pending for the world record that was set in February in Kamloops at the BC Masters Indoor Championship.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment came when he took the mens’ decathlon for 75-79 year old men last summer and broke the BC record by more than 2,000 points and the Canadian record by more than 200 points with a score of 5,297 points in the 10-event test of endurance, speed and strength that labels people the greatest athlete of all time.

Ukonmaanaho runs three times a week to keep in shape.

“At my age, that’s enough – I know some people that train just about every day but I need the recovery time,” Ukonmaanaho said. “And so far three times a week has been good – no issues.”

Most plans to compete are tentative for Ukonmaanaho, who has the Canadian Masters National Championship on the list of competitions he’d like to attend. The event will be held at the end of July in Regina this year and it’s the first time they’ve been held in three years because of the pandemic. His last national competition was the Canadian Indoors in Edmonton in 2019 so it’s been a while since he’s competed on that level.

Next up after that would be the BC Masters Championships and Multi Event for Masters hosted once again by the Greyhounds Masters Track & Field Club in Surrey in August. Then one of masters’ favourites is the 55+ BC Games that will be held in Victoria in September. There is always lots of pomp and circumstance that goes with the games where there’s an athletes’ parade during opening ceremonies, a gala and street party so everyone can gather in celebration and athletes are awarded their medals with a step up onto the podium to honour excellence.

But the most anticipated event for Ukonmaanaho?

“It’s going to be the decathlon competition in late August in Surrey,” he said. “If my body lets me do it again, I will and I will be darn lucky to be healthy enough to do it.”