KELLY Ruddick blitzed a world masters record in racewalking – the second in a series she has lined up to conquer this year.
Ruddick achieved her latest record, the women’s 40 category 5000 metres, at the Australian Masters Games in Geelong.
She took to the track not long after Ballarat sprinter Peter O’Dwyer collected his fourth title for the meet at Landy Field.
Ruddick pulled out from earlier events in the athletics program with a head cold and channelled her efforts into the 5000m.
The Ballarat Harrier clocked a time of 21 minutes, 57.40 seconds, slicing almost 52 seconds off a 26-year-old record set by then 41-year-old Frenchwoman Suzanne Griesbach in Lievin, France.
“Afterwards, everyone was so supportive. People wanted photos with me,” Ruddick said.
“It’s not actually my personal best. I’d like to have gone a little faster, but I didn’t want to tell race officials I was going for the record because of my cold.
“I didn’t want the added pressure.”
Ruddick sliced 35 seconds off Griesbach’s 10km walk world record in an Athletics Victoria country meet in late May.
Continuing her stellar form, Ruddick smashed a 20km personal best in Launceston early last month to post an Olympic A-qualifier.
Australian Masters Games marks Ruddick’s first track meet for the season.
She is keen to beat Griesbach’s 3000m world record and has a series of meets in Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne to achieve her aim.
Ruddick had to wait until she turned 40 in April to start her assault on the masters records in the women’s 40 category.
Peter O’Dwyer is also preparing for a big summer on the Victorian Athletic League circuit.
O’Dwyer claimed a clean sweep of sprint titles in the men’s 45-49 category – 60m, 100m, 200m and 400m.
He was the fastest qualifier in the 100m and 400m preliminaries and ranked third in the 200m.
The bulk of his competition is preparing for the World Masters Games in Brazil in a couple of weeks.
“It’s good for me but also from a coaching perspective,” O’Dwyer said.
“It helps give something for my athletes to aspire to, knowing I’m doing most of the training with them.
“If I’m doing well. That generally means they’re doing well too.”
The VAL season has started but O’Dwyer’s stable is likely to wait until Warrnambool and Terang in early December to get started.
His athletes are also preparing for the amateur season and fast approaching inter-club meets.