KELLY Ruddick has smashed a personal best to capture her first Australian race walking title in Launceston today - and posted an Olympic A-qualifying time in the process.
The Ballarat Harrier chopped three-and-a-half minutes off her previous 20-kilometre best for a winning time of one hour, 33 minutes, 15 seconds in the Australian Race Walking Championships.
Ruddick has finished clear inside the qualifier of 1:36:00 for the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicing next May.
Emerging Australian walker Rachel Tallent (Ballarat YCW) captured silver in 1:36:06.
Ruddick turned 40 this year, making her twice the age of her younger Ballarat rival, and was shocked to have raced so fast.
"I'm shocked. Once I got in front, I just wanted to be able to ring everyone and say I had won a national title - that kept me going," Ruddick said.
"I've won a national title and am the fastest in Australia this year in 10 and 20 kilometres...I never dreamt it."
Athletics Ballarat Racewalking Club sisters Alanna and Jemma Peart also competed in Launceston today.
Alanna finished second in the under-12 girls' 2000m with a time of 11 minutes, 23 seconds.
Jemma was sixth in the under-14 girls' 3000m in 16: 57.