Francisco Machado, right, and Barry Sparkes in the 4x400 metre relay in Vernon. Jerald Walliser photo

Masters track star prepares for another event

Francisco Machado is a sprinter and hurdler from Comox

When he first tried the sport, Francisco Machado found that sprinting wasn’t his thing. But after receiving some advice from a national-calibre athlete in his native Colombia, Machado started to represent his university at track meets.

These days, at age 73, the Comox resident continues to enter sprinting and hurdles events at the 55+ BC Games and other competitions.

“I used to play soccer and baseball,” Machado said. “When I was in school, they wanted someone to run some 100 and 200 metres to get points for the school. I decided OK. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but one day I met one of the best Colombian long distance runners…he told me what to do, and three months later I was competing for the university I was attending.”

He intended to run the 100 and 200 metres, but his coach told him he would be running one lap of the track — the gruelling 400 metres.

“I said, ‘No, that’s a marathon for me, don’t even mention it’,” he said, laughing.

Later, under the advisement of another coach, he became a hurdler. He was an alternate to represent his country at the Pan American Games.

“I became number three, actually, in South America, in the 400 metre hurdles,” Machado said.

More recently, he competed in the 100 metres at the North and Central American Masters Championships in Toronto.

“I made it to the finals but I got injured,” he said.

Machado had been living and working in Virginia before moving back to Canada in 2011. The following year, he competed for the first time at the BC Seniors Games, which became the 55+ Games. At the 2017 Games in Vernon, he won gold medals in the 200, 400, 300m hurdles and the 4×400 metre relay in the men’s 70-74 division. He was also part of a 4x100m relay team that set a Canadian record.

“And then, I competed in the 4×400 with the 65s, and I believe that we also had the Canadian record as well.”

This year at the 55+ Games in Kelowna, he plans to compete in sprints and hurdles, but not the 400m.

Machado mostly trains on his own, and occasionally with a Lower Mainland masters track club, The Greyhounds, run by Harold Morioka — a living legend of the B.C. track and field scene who was part of Machado’s team that set the national record.

“He’s an outstanding athlete. I’d pretty much say he’s my coach. He gives me a lot of advice.”

Another outstanding track athlete is Courtenay’s Rainer Sillantaus, who won the discus, shot put and javelin in the men’s 85-89-year age group in Vernon.

“We tell him (Sillantaus), the best thing that ever happened in British Columbia, is having these Games for these fantastic athletes, competing in so many divisions,” Machado said.

For information about the 55+ B.C. Games, visit 55plusbcgames.org

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIU students pitch planning projects to Cumberland

Students looked at topics such as historical values and parking issues

Comox Valley ends tough VIJHL season with a win

Glacier Kings more than double last year’s win total but miss post-season

Comox Valley school district drama students present Xanadu

Venice Beach, California, 1980. An aspiring young artist paints a mural, and… Continue reading

Heart attacks strike husband, wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Kingfisher spa now open following early January fire

Owner Bill Brandes offered personal funds to minimize the impact of the situation on his employees.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Reports of accused human trafficker sighted north of the Comox Valley unsubstantiated

RCMP issue warning about the fears unproven social media reports can generate

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

Most Read