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Ruddick national champ, Tallent disqualified

Ballarat Harrier Kelly Ruddick was crowned the women’s Oceania and Australian 20km race walking champion this weekend in Hobart at the first round of the IAAF Race Walking Challenge.

Ruddick secured automatic selection for the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China this May, winning in a time of 1:34.44 ahead of Tasmanian Stephanie Stigwood (1:37.39) and fellow Victorian Rachel Tallent (1:38.38).

Disaster struck for three-time Olympic Games medalist Jared Tallent when he was disqualified on the last lap of the men’s event to hand Queensland’s Dane Bird-Smith the win in 1:22.39.

Tallent and Bird-Smith had opened up a lead heading into the final lap of the race before Tallent made a race winning move only to be sensationally disqualified with a 60 metre advantage and the win insight.

Bird-Smith was flanked by two Victorians on the podium – Olympian Chris Erickson (1:25.23) and Rhydian Cowley (1:26.49).

Victorian athletes strong weekend of results continued in the under 20 events where Jemima Montag claimed the women’s title in 47:00 ahead of Queensland’s Clara Smith (48:17) and New South Wales Jasmine Dighton (49:11).

World junior 10000 metre qualifiers Jesse Osborne and Nathan Brill were a class above in the under 20 men’s event, Osborne won in a personal best of 41:27 minutes from Brill (42:46) and New South Wales Tyler Jones (45:39).

Full Victorian results:

Men 20km Race Walk Open
2 Chris Erickson 1:25:23
3 Rhydian Cowley 1:26:49

Jared Tallent DQ IAAF 230.1

Women 20km Race Walk Open
1 Kelly Ruddick 1:34:44
3 Rachel Tallent 1:38:38
6 Regan Lamble 1:40:49
9 Beth Alexander 1:50:37

Women 10km Race Walk Under 20
1 55 Jemima Montag 47:00
7 52 Stephanie George 54:00

49 Tayla-Paige Billin DNF
50 Zoe Boldiston DNS

Men 10km Race Walk Under 20
1 44 Jesse Osborne 41:27
2 38 Nathan Brill 42:46
4 40 Adam Garganis 46:19
7 46 Kyle Swan 48:01
8 47 Reese Walmsley 48:05
9 37 Kyle Bird 48:55

For a complete list of results click here.

Ruddick gold off no sleep

Australia’s number one ranked female walker Kelly Ruddick may have been up all night with a sick child but that wasn’t going to get in the way of gold in the 5000 metres walk race on the opening day of competition at the 2014 Victorian Country Championships in her home town of Ballarat last weekend.

“It’s great to win the country title, it’s great to win any major race, especially being in Ballarat,” Ruddick said.

“I have not been to bed yet, last night I worked to midnight and then one of my children had to go to hospital so I have not hit the bed at all, so that race was pretty difficult today, and I’m going to work right now.”

After completing a strong training block with new coach Brent Vallance the focus for Ruddick turns to this weekend’s Australian 20km Race Walking Championships in Hobart.

“Hobart is a qualifier for the world cup this May in China and there will be a strong international field,” Ruddick said.

“I’ve been aiming towards the 20km more so than the 5km, I found that a little bit difficult and I’m at the end of a big training block so I’m a bit tired.”

The proud Ballarat Harriers walker wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of victory on her home track.

“It was (all about the win), it was a hard hit out, I just love to win here (Ballarat) and I’m really proud to be a Harrier and do it for them and Ballarat as well,” said Ruddick.

With no walk event at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow all roads lead to Rio 2016 for Ruddick who is determined to live out a lifelong ambition of representing Australia at an Olympic Games.

“I’ve actually done an Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard time, sadly I’m ranked number one in the Commonwealth and this is the first time ever there is no walk in the Commonwealth Games,” Ruddick said.

“For me it’s a bit of a bummer, but, I’m training a lot more serious than I ever have so if I keep it up I’ll be getting faster each time and aiming more towards the 20km rather than track meets which are a bit shorter, so Rio is in the mix, I’m definitely aiming for that.”

Ruddick along with stepping up her training program will have to juggle an increased travel schedule, motherhood and work commitments.

“I’ve been invited to race in Mexico in February, so there is a lot of travel coming up which I’m excited about, it’s great to be a part of the Australian team, its only taken me 40 years, I’m doing it all in reverse, I’ve had the kids and now I’ve decided I’m going to have a go,” Ruddick said.

Ruddick is enjoying working with three-time Olympic medalist Jared Tallent’s former coach Vallance and believes he is the person to take her walking to a new level.

“I know I’m in great hands with him and I’m really confident I can improve a lot and cut a few minutes across the 20km’s and be very competitive.”

“I travel to Melbourne, he (Vallance) was based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra but has now moved to Melbourne for a different role.”

“I head down there twice a week and train with Olympian Chris Erickson and Jesse Osborne who are fantastic.”

There is every chance Ruddick could return to running since overcoming shin splints.

“I actually wanted to be a marathon runner but due to injury I stumbled into walking and thought I can do this.”

“I started with the Harriers at 15 and ran for 20 years and got an injury and someone suggested walking and the injury went away.”

“I might go to marathons; my body is feeling stronger, and more use to increasing the kilometres,” Ruddick said.

Click here for more information on the 2014 Australian 20km Race Walking Championships taking place this Sunday 2 February at Constitution Dock in Hobart.

Records fall at the Australian Masters Games for Ruddick and Petrie

Race walker Kelly Ruddick’s impressive CV grew at the Australian Masters Games this month where the 40-year-old mother of four posted a world masters games record in the women’s 40 category for 5000m.

The Ballarat local smashed nearly 52sec off Frenchwomen Suzanne Griesbach 26 -year-old W40 world record with a 21min 57.40 sec time and reinforced her status as Australia’s leading women race walker.

As the number one ranked Australian, Ruddick has her eyes on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and is optimistic she can maintain her form.

“Although it’s a few years away, if I can stay at my current pace or improve it, which I’m sure I will, then things are looking really good. An Olympics is an athlete’s ultimate goal.”

An instrument technician at Ballarat Health Services, Ruddick’s record breaking walk at the Australian Masters Games adds to the race walking 20km national title win in Launceston, Tasmania this September.

Kilsyth and former Australian representative Lavinia Petrie knocked close to 42sec off Britain’s Cecelia Morrisson’s women’s 70-74 world record at 5000m of 22min 06.02sec to record a new master world record time of 21min 24.23sec.

Athletics Victoria would like to thank all the volunteers who contributed to the athletics program.

The biennial event will head to Adelaide in 2015. For more information visit www.australianmastersgames.com.au