A FEAST OF MIDDLE AND LONG DISTANCE RUNNING AT WORLD MASTERS

A FEAST OF MIDDLE AND LONG DISTANCE RUNNING AT WORLD MASTERS

A feast of middle and long distance running awaits masters athletes from South Africa at the upcoming World Masters Athletics in 5 days time.   Our strength lies in the middle distances when  7 Men and 8 women from across S.A. are about to enter the battle of the middle and long distances at the 20th World Championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil, commencing on 16 October. Our middle and long distance athletes will definitely be a force to be reckoned with and as in past World Champs, they are expected to bring home the medals as well as a few titles, PB’s and even S.A. records.

Of particular interest will be the Women’s 45-49 age group in the 800m where the likes of Salome Vermeulen (GN) will be competing.   She is ranked 3rd  in the 800 and 1500 going into the championships, and achieved  personal best times earlier this year of 2:17,93 (which was not ratified for technical reasons) and 4:47,81 (the latter was ratified as a S.A. record).   We are quite sure that Salomé will be out to run her best times ever, as well as win a title or two!   


South Africa won the title (W45-49) in 2007 when Elaine Pretorius took top honours.  Salomé (15:59) finished 2nd at the recent S.A. Cross country championships behind Zola Pieterse (14:34) in the Ladies (45-49) 4 km., but she has decided to skip this race and focus on the two track races at Worlds.   Zola Pieterse who took a silver over 8km at the last world championships in 2011 in the USA, will not be participating at these championships. 

Len Claassen (GN) (M60-64), one of the stalwarts of  800m in masters athletics in South Africa, and his wife Stephanie, will be competing in their 9th World championships.   He holds the S.A. records in the Mens 50-54 age group with a time of 2:01.86 and the Mens 60-64 in 2:16.49.  In 2007 he came oh so close to a medal in one of the strongest field of runners in the (M55-59)  800m race of the championships.  He has reached the final in just about every race he has competed in at a World Championships and must surely be rewarded for his perseverance and dedication to masters athletics.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFEMWlZKnQQ


Tobias Philander from W.P. (45-49) was a top 800m athlete in his prime and  goes into the championships with a best time of 2.08 and will also be in action in the 1500m, 3000m steeplechase and cross country.





Lucas Nel (90) the 'young' man from KZN will be a definite for a title or two and maybe even a WR or two in the 800m and 1500m, going into the championships with the best times of all the participants.  He already boasts a world record in the M85-89 age group in the 400m !








Connie v.d. Westhuizen (GN) (50-54) and Mariette Esterhuizen (WP) (50-54 ) will be participating in the 5000m, 10000m, cross country and 2000m steeplechase.  Both are provincial title holders in their age groups and have both run under 9 mins in the steeplechase.  

Our middle and long distance athletes will definitely be a force to be reckoned with and as in past World Champs, they are expected to bring home the medals as well as a few titles, PB’s and even S.A. records.

Among the younger athletes and newcomers to the international scene are Argentina Senda of CGA (W40-44) who has entered for the 5000m, cross country and marathon and Norman Modise (M35-39) of the Free State in the 10000 and half marathon events.

The half marathon is a new event this year at Worlds Masters.     Up until  2004 the 21km and marathon and road racewalking events were held as a separate non-stadia world masters championships, but due to costs and other considerations, they have now been incorporated in the WMA Track and Field Championships every second year.

The versatile Frances van Blerk (GN) (W55-59), senior ladies winner of the 1992 Comrades is very wellknown figure in road running circles across the country.   In her lifetime she has run every distance from 1500m and 5000m on the track to 10k,half marathons, marathons, Two Oceans and Comrades and won numerous senior and age group titles throughout her illustrious road running career.  She will be participating in her  4th WC and hopes to add to her tally of masters medals. Her niece, the wellknown Irvette (Van Blerk) van Zyl surely has had an excellent role model.







Last but not least, is the petite Liz Ruickbie (CGA) (65-69), another seasoned road runner,  and wellknown athlete in Gauteng road running circles who will only be competing in the marathon event.   In 2009 she won the Ladies 60-64 Marathon title with a time of 3:32:45, ten minutes ahead of her nearest rival from Germany 3:42:45, running away from the rest of the field of 16 athletes in her age group.   Liz has represented CGA several times and won numerous road running age group titles in the not too distant past.





The half marathon is a new event this year at Worlds Masters.     Up until  2004 the 21km and marathon and road racewalking events were held as a separate non-stadia world masters championships, but due to costs and other considerations, they have now been incorporated in the WMA Track and Field Championships every second year

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