ATHLETICS: World Masters Champion

Ellena Ruddock

Ellena Ruddock

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Three golds and a silver for Ellena Ruddock

SPRINTER Ellena Ruddock is the fastest 37-year-old woman in the world! Competing in the World Masters Games in Italy, she won three gold medals and a silver.

The Rugby & Northampton AC athlete took both the W35 100m and 200m titles, then teamed up with three other British runners to win the 4x100m relay and finish second in the 4x400m.

More than 30,000 athletes aged from 30 to over 90 took part in the Games in Turin, over ten days of competition, in temperatures of over 38 degrees.

Similar to the Olympics, there were more than 20 sports ranging from archery, badminton and canoeing to football, tennis and triathlon.

For inspirational athlete Ellena, who has been coached by Roy Humphries for 24 years, it was a further opportunity to add to her long list of successes.

In the last 15 months, Ellena has won the World Indoor Masters Championship in Helsinki, and the European Indoor Masters Championship in Spain, at 60m and 200m as well as being the UK’s Masters No. 1 at 60m, 100m and 200m.

It was a great experience, which confirms Ellena’s status as UK, European and World Masters champion.

But it could very easily have been a different story as Ellena, a nursery nurse at St Marie’s Day Care had been suffering from achilles tendon problems in the build up to the Games and wasn’t sure how well she would be able to run - if at all.

“I’d only been to masters championships indoors before, so this was a new experience but it feels just as good as before becoming a world champion!” said modest Ellena. “There was a good atmosphere in the stadium, especially on the Saturday for the relays and it’s nice being part of a team, so it almost feels like a club championships. I was hoping to go under 12 seconds in the 100, which is within my capabilities, but I still ran a season’s best.

“And I’d like to have been under 25 in the 200, but they were pretty good, all things considered.”

Ellena won her 100m semi-final in 12.27 secs, and the following day she won the final in 12.29 secs, beating competitors from Poland and Ukraine.

Then, with two days rest before the 200m, Ellena was on route for a double win.

In the semi-final of the 200m, Ellena won in 25.39 secs, and then completed a fine double, winning the final in 25.18 secs.

After another two days rest, she teamed up with three other UK athletes to win the 4x100m relay, in a good time of 52.24 secs. Later that day, Ellena ran the last lap of the 4x400m relay to finish second to a strong Russian Federation team, clocking 4 mins 10.98 secs.

And with no intention yet of retiring, Ellena, who still trains most days, will now be preparing the European Indoor Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary,in March.

She added: “I’d just like to say to anyone who has been into sport or perhaps got the bug from the Olympics, go down to your local club and have a go - or try a new sport. There are so many opportunities out there and it is definitely something worth doing.”