By the time one reaches middle-age, it often feels like it’s the right time to slow down a little – your body is just about holding together, the grey hairs are starting to show, and it takes a full weekend to recover from a Friday night on the lash.

The same cannot be said of Dave Sketchley however, who, at 44, can still throw a javelin further in metres than his age in years.

Ranked top in the UK for his veteran age-group, which encompasses 40 to 44 year-olds, the orthopaedic trauma technician can still launch an 800g spear over 55 metres to see off javelin throwers half his age.

Gazette: Sketchley is still capable of beating javelin throwers half his ageSketchley is still capable of beating javelin throwers half his age

After decades of competing, Mr Sketchley has become more than a familiar face in Essex’s athletics scene – so much so that he doesn’t even have to ask officials to register him at competitions anymore.

And he has something of a happy hunting ground in the form of Colchester athletics track, where he threw what still stands as his lifetime best of 67.63m back in 2004.

Mr Sketchley said: “Colchester is a remarkable place to throw.

“Before houses were built across Circular Road North, there used to be a load of trees – if you got a northerly wind with those trees over the back of the track, it was like a jet stream.”

“If you thumped the javelin high enough, the wind would just take the javelin.”

Indeed, Mr Sketchley – who used to compete for Colchester and Tendring – can still recall the evening he threw his personal best the Garrison Track on a late summer’s evening 17 years ago.

“I remember the day quite clearly when I threw my PB – the competition was running late and I was throwing remarkably well in the warm-up,” he said.

“I managed to throw out a 67m – I can still picture it in my mind.

“I’ve always loved throwing at Colchester – pretty much all my age-group bests were set there because it’s just a lovely place to throw.”

Gazette: Dave Sketchley still throws in National League competitions around the UKDave Sketchley still throws in National League competitions around the UK

Mr Sketchley still makes the short trip from his home in Notley Garden Village to the local track at Braintree Sport and Health Club a couple of times a week and is even known to practice throwing at ungodly hours before heading Broomfield Hospital for work.

“Sometimes I’ll be up throwing at 5 o’clock in the morning in a field near where I live, just to get my fix of javelin throwing and try to keep the arm going,” he said.

“I get up, get changed, try not wake anyone up in the house, and sneak out to throw a few spears around before the dog walkers came out.

“It just keeps your arm going and doing what I love doing really.”

Mr Sketchley will finish yet another season of competition on the bank holiday weekend, but will enjoy a week away in the Cotswolds first.

Will he be taking any javelins with him?

“No,” he says laughing – then there’s a short pause.

“But I will bring a throwing ball with me,” he adds.

As with many sports, once you’ve caught the bug, it never leaves you – even if it means taking training equipment with you on holiday.