(photo credit to: Race Walking Australia)
Cold, wet and windy conditions greeted the four athletes starting the 2018 Australian 50km Race Walking Championships.
While the conditions were less than optimal for spectating, they were ideal for race walking 50km.
The pre-race chat centred around Claire Tallent (SA) from Croatian, Ivana Renic, 21, who has over the last few months recorded personal bests of 1:38.33 (20km walk) and 4:35.39 (50km walk). However, her late withdrawal, along with Victorian Tracy Feiner, left Tallent and Victorian Kelly Ruddick chasing the Australian title.
Tallent led from wire to wire and took out the inaugural Australian Women’s 50km Road Walking Championship in a time of 4:28.52.
“It’s a long way from where I was in March, and flying solo is always a difficult task but I'm happy to get through my second 50km and still feeling good at the end of it,” Tallent said. ”For me, it was about getting another race in over that distance and having the confidence I’d be able to finish strong.”
Ruddick’s day was almost the complete opposite of Tallent’s while Tallent looked comfortable and in the zone, Ruddick looked close to withdrawing on more than one occasion during the last 8km.
However, every time she stopped, she somehow managed to get moving again. Drawing on the support of the crowd and her family, the Victorian dug deep and muscled her way through the last few laps crossing the finish line in 4:54.31, in the process setting a new Australian Masters record in the 40-45 division.
In the men’s event, a late injury to Jared Tallent left Brazil’s Caio Bonfim in a field of two with Western Australian masters athlete Andrew Duncan.
From the gun, it was evident Bonfim would be racing the clock and when Duncan pulled the pin at the 40km mark, Bonfim was on his own finishing in an impressive 3:55.24.
In the men’s 20km Rhydian Cowley took the win in 1:24:24 from Declan Tingay in 1:28:04 with Tyler Jones in third recording a 1:29:27. The women’s 20km was taken out by Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Jemima Montag, who was in a league of her own in more ways than one. She was the only female competitor but was also good enough to finish 7th overall in 1:35:48.
The men’s Under 20 10km Invitational saw Oscar Tebutt (NSW) win in a time of 44:59, Jack McGinniskin (NSW) was second in 46:40 and Corey Dickson (VIC) third in 46:58.
The women’s Under 20 10km Invitational went to Alanna Peart (VIC) in a time of 51:02 with Gabriella Hill (NSW) second in 57:52.
The women’s 5km Invitational had two competitors with Jemma Peart (VIC) winning in a time of 24:21, Charlotte Hay (VIC) was second in 25:52.