KELLY Ruddick is ready to launch into the biggest year of her racewalking career.
Ruddick is preparing to step up her training regime to a new level with the aim of earning national selection for the first time.
The Ballarat 39-year-old is in career-best form.
She capped off an unprecedented sequence of performances with victory in the women’s open 5000 metres at the Victorian Track and Field Championships in Melbourne on Friday.
She produced a personal best 21 minutes, 49 seconds.
It is also the fastest 5000m this Australian domestic season.
For Ruddick, who represented Ballarat Harriers in the Ballarat Regional Athletic Centre, it was her ninth race in as many weeks and her ninth PB in that time over 2km, 3km, 5km, 15km and 20km.
She will now take a short break from competition to prepare for the 5000m at the Australian Track and Field Championships at Sydney’s Olympic Park next month, when she hopes to secure her first national title.
Ruddick has lost count of the number of state championships she has won.
She desperately wants to add a national gold medal to her collection.
Ruddick said she could not have wished for a better vein of form.
She has no doubt that with more intensive training the best is yet to come.
One of Ruddick’s biggest hurdles in taking her racewalking to the next level has been getting enough time to train while meeting the commitments of a young family.
She said with her children now at school and set work hours, she had the opportunity to increase her training workload.
What is exciting for Ruddick is that she is already seeing a significant improvement.
“I had more up my sleeve,” Ruddick said on her state title win on Friday.
“I went into it flat.
“I’ve got more in the tank yet.”
And she knows she will need it in the nationals, where she knows she will meet a crack field.
Tanya Holliday and Cheryl Webb will be among the favourites, but Ruddick is confident she can mix it with them.
With two national silver medals, Ruddick says is the best chance she has had to finish on top of the podium.
Callum Baker (YCW) was another Ballarat gold medallist at the state titles.
He took out the junior men’s discus with a throw of 50.18m – almost 13m clear of his nearest rival.
Other Ballarat medallists included:
Kate Ryan (Eureka): second, open women’s 400m hurdles.
Nicholas Milton (Wendouree): second, junior men’s 110m hurdles; second, junior men’s 400m hurdles.
Natalya Hall-Dekleva (YCW): third, junior women’s 800m.
Holly Dobbin (Eureka): third, junior women’s 400m.