World Masters Perth Final Report - Janette adds to her tally of medals

It was a busy final weekend for the Vic's at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth, Western Australia. Friday was the qualifying rounds of the 1500m with Alex Bryce running a controlled race to qualify in 4 min 49.75 secs. Caroline Lawless ran well in the hot windy conditions to qualify with a 6min 19. 63secs clocking. Janette Stevenson was in one of several of the ladies age groups to have a straight final on the following day.

Saturday was the hottest day of the championships with temperatures in the mid 30's by early morning, however the strong head wind on the back straight was still present. Janette was first in action in a very strong field where the two Americans who had set world records at the championships in the 800m and 5000m would renew their rivalry. Like the weather the pace was hot from the start and a leading group of five was quickly established with a good lead over the rest of the field. Running well Janette could never quite get to the front and with the pace increasing a ferocious last lap saw her cruelly run out of the medals in fourth place with an impressive time of 5 min 50.62 secs.

Caroline Lawless was next in action in an equally strong field where a battle between the  three heat winners who had posted remarkably similar fast times was anticipated. Sure enough a scrap for the lead ensued straight from the gun resulting in a very fast opening lap. Caroline running well was in a battle with a Kiwi throughout the race and was rewarded with an improved time from the heats finishing 15th in 6min 15secs.

Alex also knew a difficult race was in prospect, it is the world championship final after all. In the middle of a large group as the pace was wound up each lap stretching the field, Alex found himself in a last lap battle with a Japanese competitor who managed to keep Alex running wide which eventually told in the home straight as Alex finished 13th in a time of 4min 48 secs.

It was a very early start for John Denholm, and his supporters on the final day of the championships for the half and full marathon races. On a reasonably flat out and back course using the excellent cycle paths along the swan river, John raced the half marathon in sweltering windy conditions despite the 6.30am start time. With very little shade John was part of a large British contingent taking on Kenyan athletes funded by their national federation to compete in masters championships for the first time. Chasing the full marathon competitors who had set of thirty minutes earlier, the Kenyans were motoring along behind the lead bike. John settled into his running in the large field in his age group looking comfortable as he approached the 10km marker. As the temperatures climbed it was a battle of survival to the finish line in a respectable 1 hr 50 mins in conditions even the Aussie hosts found difficult. 

The action then switched back to the fantastic mondo track at the Western Australia Athletics Stadium for the relays. Janette was part of a strong looking W65 4 x 400m team although a formidable Australian team including three of the individual 400m finalists, and gold and silver medalists, lay in wait. Janette ran a fantastic leg on leg 2 to keep the British team in contention and well clear of the third placed Americans. Fantastic running by the remaining team members saw the British team smash the world record, however the Australians proved too strong and were comfortable winners in a fantastic display of committed running. Caroline had the unenviable task along with three team mates of dropping down 20 years in the age groups to compete in the youngest age category. Unsurprisingly this was a huge task and despite running very well the British team finished outside of the medals.