Steyning AC athlete encourages others to ‘dream big’

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By Steyning AC’s Ian Richards from Worthing - World Champion and new world record holder

It’s not every day that you achieve something that was once an unrealistic dream but you have steadily worked towards it and gradually edged nearer and nearer.

I am posting this in the hope that it might encourage others to dream big and just go for it.

We are all capable of achieving more than we think we are.

At the World Masters Athletic Championships in Porto Alegre Brazil, I set a new age world record and became a World Champion in the 5km race walk age 65 to 69 with a time of 24m 13.10sec.

What has made it so special was beating one of my main inspirations – a retired Australian doctor who still practices because living out in the country there are no other doctors around.

Andrew Jamieson is one of the greatest ever master athletes, current holder of at least 8 world records, a 2007 world’s best male masters athlete across all athletic events and age groups and unbeaten in a masters race since 1999.

I believed I would have to break a world record to beat him and that has been my goal. It worked. I beat his record by 0.94 sec in unhelpful weather conditions for fast times being hot with high humidity and beat him by 32 secs.

What a gracious man and an honour to be able to race him. He remains a great inspiration to me and I am sure many others.

We do battle again on Tuesday (October 22) over 10km and the following Saturday over 20km. It’s difficult to say that being prepared to push yourself to exhaustion is enjoyable but I am looking forward to those races and hope there will be many more to come in future years.

What’s your dream and what are you doing about it? I left school at age 18 and my only sporting success was third place in a wheelbarrow race but I dreamed about being an Olympian. 14 years later I finished 11th in the 50km walk at the Moscow Olympics. I found something that I was good at and worked at it. It’s simply a case of doing lots and lots of little things that when aggregated together make a big difference. 5 years ago I dreamed of being a world record holder and a world champion. In that journey I have learnt much about how everyone can manage the ageing process and stay fit and healthy for longer. I have spoken to many groups, been into old peoples homes sharing my story giving simple tips about what they might do. It’s a funny thing the more you share with others the more rewards seem to come back. God certainly blesses me in that way. Now I need a new dream!! What’s yours?

By Steyning AC (below)

Dave Stevens and Ian Richards are currently competing in the World Masters Athletics Championships in Porto Alegre Brazil. In the first race, 5 km track walk (M75), Dave started well but a lack of training in recent months resulted in him fading over the second half to finish 6th in a time of 36 min 00.43 sec. Dave was pleased to finish as he has problems with his knees and has been disqualified in a number of races.

Ian’s race in the 65-69 was a fascinating competition. There were only 2 walkers really in contention, ian and Australian Andrew Jamieson , one of the worlds best ever Master athletes having been made Master Athlete of the year across all athletic events and all ages in 2007, current holder of at least 8 world records and never beaten in a masters competition since 1999 verses myself.Ian has jumped the gap this year between his performances in the 65 to 69 age group and those of Andrew but with a very inconsistent style and a number of DQs. He has always believed it would take a world record to beat Andrew and that is what he has been working towards. He decided to take him on from the gun and lead all the way, just pilling on the pressure lap by lap uncertain who would crack first but gradually pulling away to win by 32 secs breaking the world record by just 0.94 secs. That’s Ian’s second world record this year have set a new mark at 30 kms in May.

Both Dave and Ian raced again over 10kms on Tuesday, October 22.