ATHLETICS: World Masters gold medals for Ruddock and Copson

Ellena Ruddock
Ellena Ruddock
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Great success in Budapest

Angela Copson and Ellena Ruddock brought the gold back to Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club after starring performances at the World Masters Indoor Championships.

The pair won five individual titles and two team golds between them in what was a remarkable run of success in Budapest at the end of March.

Starring in the W35 ranks was Copson’s R&N colleague Ellena Ruddock who collected an individual gold and silver along with a further team gold for a race in which she was a part of a world record-breaking performance.

Ruddock started her quest for the titles in the 100m and got through her heat and semi-final comfortably before posting her quickest time of the meeting of 7.80 in the final.

Unfortunately that was not quite enough to earn her the gold and she ended up second behind America’s Brandi Bernert, whose advantage of 0.05 seconds was enough to hand Ruddock her first defeat over the distance in three years. Ruddock had also finished second to Bernert in her heat and semi.

The 200m was next up for Ruddock and once again she finished second in her heat and semi, with Spain’s Carolina Garcia edging her out in both races, but the roles were reversed in the final as Ruddock won her first gold of the championships with a time of 25.50 to edge out her rival by less than a quarter of a second despite a less-than-favourable draw in the outside lane.

The final day of the championships saw Ruddock join Lesley Owusu, Susie Young and Susie McLoughlin in the 4x200m relay with the team winning in what was a world record time.

Ruddock ran the last leg for GB and crossed the line to bring up a combined finish of 1:43.74 to win the gold with Spain second and America third.

Competing in the W65 age group, Copson showed her range of abilities by winning medals at events from the cross country to the 400m.

The 66-year-old’s week began with the cross country race which saw all runners taking part together – ages ranging from 35 to 94 - with the individual championships being decided by the times of the respective finishers.

Copson stormed to victory in a time of 34:50.30, more than six minutes ahead of her nearest challenger Maria Neustroeva, from Russia, with Italy’s Fiorella Fretta a few seconds further back in second.

It became two golds from one race for Copson as her time was counted in the W60 race team score, and it was faster than the other Great Britain runners despite her competing in the older age category.

Gold number three followed two days later in the 3,000m with a time of 11:58.38, a little over eight seconds outside her own world record for the distance that she set in 2013 at the European Indoor Masters Track and Field Championships.

For a while it looked like Copson was on for the record but with a massive lead she eased up to keep plenty in the tank for her other races and eventually finished almost a minute ahead of Spain’s Emi Vacquero.

The first of those contests came a day later in the 800m as Copson made it three individual golds with a triumph in what was a very tactical race that saw her finish five seconds ahead of Sweden’s Ulla Littenheim after posting a time of 2:57.86.

Copson opened up a good early advantage but was under pressure before stepping up the pace again across the last 100m to claim the gold medal but in the 400m it was Littenheim who crossed the line first in her more familiar distance with a time of 74.41, ahead of Australia’s Paula Moorhouse in second (75.94) and Copson third (76.05).

But the bronze was soon backed up by Copson’s fifth gold of the championships in the 1500m as she came first in 6:03.86 to win with a gap of almost 25 seconds ahead of her fellow Brit Patricia Gallagher, with the race taking place just two hours after the 400m.