History of the CMA
The beginning of the CMA (known as the CMAA pre-2011) dates from 1972, when a group of enthusiastic “over 40” Canadian runners went to Europe to find fun and competition. Some, including Don Farquharson (1925-2000), one of the group’s leaders, were experienced athletes, while others were just discovering the sport.
That group, then known as the “Canadian International Track Team”, became the nucleus of a national organization and, most importantly, inspired many local running groups. By 1974, there was sufficient interest across the country to justify a National Masters Track & Field Championship, held in Richmond, British Columbia.
In 1975, Canada hosted the first ever World Track & Field (Stadia) Championship for over 40s, in Toronto. Marathon and Cross Country were also on the menu, as they continue to be for the WMA Championships. All those who attended that first meet shared an enthusiasm and sense of discovery, which led to the formation of the World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA), which was chaired by Don Farquharson for twelve years, until 1987. Since then, we have met every two years, in various locations around the world. In 2007, we met in Riccione, Italy; in 2009, in Lahti, Finland; in 2011, we will meet in Sacramento, California; and in 2013, we will meet in Porto Alegré, Brazil. The world joins us, in increasing numbers at every meet, and novices experience just as much fun, excitement and satisfaction as the internationally-known stars. The name of WAVA was changed to the World Masters Athletics (“WMA”) in 2001.
WMA also added a Road Racing/ Race Walking (Non-Stadia) Championship, which had been held in the years when the Stadia Championships weren’t held. In 1994, these Road Races were held in Scarborough, Ontario, while the 2004 events, the last held, were in Auckland, New Zealand. Also in even-numbered years, Regional WMA Track & Field Championships are held around the world. The most recent such event for our region (North & Central America & the Caribbean) was held in August, 2008 in Florida. In March, 2004, for the first time, a WMA Indoor Track & Field Championship was held, and the latest Indoor Championship was held in March, 2008, in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The next such Indoor Championship is being held in March, 2010, in Kamloops, British Columbia.
But the international scene is just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest developments have been at home. Since those early days, we have seen public acceptance of the idea of being fit at all ages, and our members continue to inspire. We are pleased to see so many race and meet organizers now routinely include “masters” categories, although not always in the same five-year age groups which we have found appropriate. The CMAA, through “Provincial Directors”, maintains links with the provinces, and Provincial Championships are held in many provinces each year.