4000+ athletes from 92 countries competed in the WMA Championship in Perth, Australia. 400 volunteers assisted in the smooth running of the championships and along with the officials they put on a well organised event.
Pauline Rich from Worthing Striders participating in the W70 section, ran in 5,000m, the 10,000m track races and the cross country events. The 8k cross country was the first event of the games at Perry Lakes, on a fairly flat course though grassland and forest trails in warm conditions, with the accompanying sounds of kookaburras and cockatoos . Pauline came 6th in her age category and the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team came 2nd to the Australians winning the silver medal.
Two days later she ran in the 5000m at Ern Clark Stadium. Again the weather was warm so the 10am start was welcome avoiding the heat of the day. Following her coach’s instructions (husband Alan) she started conservatively and throughout the twelve and a half laps gradually overtook athletes to finished 3rd with the bronze medal.
With 4 days recovery time till the 10,000m, Pauline and Alan were confident that she would tackle the 25 laps of the track well and finish strongly if she adopted the same tactics. This time an even earlier start, 9am, with temperatures rising to 37 degrees by lunchtime it was important not to start too fast. As the gun went off several athletes race to the front of the pack and after only a few laps they were half a lap ahead. Pauline resisted the urge to chase after them and as the laps went by she realised that she was closing on them. Picking them off one by one only the World record holder, Lavina Petrie of Australia, was ahead of her where she remained in first place. Pauline finished in the silver medal position and was absolutely delighted with her run. This brought her medal tally to three, two silvers and a bronze.
We fitted in some sightseeing during our time in Perth. On Alan’s birthday we had a boat trip on the Swan River and glimpsed dolphins in the river, we sailed to Freemantle and visited the Freemantle Prison where deported convicts from England were sent. Traveling around Perth was easy and free on public transport with our athletes accreditation. We paddled in the Indian Ocean at Cottisloe Beach, explored Elizabeth Quay and King’s Park and also climbed the Bell Tower which houses bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London. We could have run a parkrun in Perth but thought it would be one race too many....