BEMBOKA distance runner Keith Law has been winning more medals in spite of a “recurring virus” that landed him in hospital.
Law, 58, took part in the Australian Masters athletics track and field championships with great success in Hobart recently after limited training.
Law said he was “extremely thrilled” to finish third and claim the bronze at a national level.
“To place at the national titles is a real thrill,” Law said.
Law said he was top ranked for the competition, but a stomach virus had impeded his training.
“I was seeded number one going into the event, but unfortunately had been sick with a recurring stomach virus,” Law said.
“In the lead up four weeks [to the race], I was only able to effectively train for one.
“I was hoping for a slow race and thankfully that’s the way it panned out,” he said.
The 5000 metre event Law specialises in was held on a Sunday morning that Law said had “lovely conditions, despite a cross wind”.
Law said the race really came down to the wire as five competitors all vied for the title and were separated by less than 30 seconds.
“In a lot of ways it was the toughest race of my career, as there were five of us within 20 seconds of each other,” Law said.
“And any one of them could have won on the day.”
Law said the group of five split early from the field of 10 runners representing each state except Victoria.
“After the gun a lead group of five was quickly established within 200m,” he said.
Law said one runner fell behind about three kilometres in, then the fourth fell back nearing the finish.
“With one kilometre remaining, fourth place dropped off and there were only three of us left to fight it out.”
Law said he stuck with the eventual first and second place winners as long as he could, but the virus took its toll on him.
“My legs suddenly felt like burning logs, the effects of the virus I suspect,” he said.
“It was the hardest final 800m I think I ever ran despite the slow pace.”
First place went to Allan Long of the Northern Territory, while second was claimed by Con diMauro from Queensland.
“To place with the lead up I had was a big effort as I know I am capable of much better when fully fit.
“But that’s athletics and we can only do what we can on the day under those conditions.
“My congratulations go to both Allan and Con who were definitely worthy winners on the day,” he said.
Law said he would take a short break from training to “try and clear this stomach virus before the final races of the ACT track season” which includes the 5000m ACT Championships.
Law said he took part with a squad of five athletes from Canberra and was thrilled with the overall success of his team.
“I train with a small squad in Canberra and we, as a group, had a successful meet,” he said.
The small team managed a 10-medal haul from its events, but Law said success wasn’t about winning medals.
“We don’t count success in terms of medals, but rather in terms of effort.
“Everyone there did the best they could on the day, which is all anyone can ask of any athlete,” he said.
Law said after the events he had been entering his yearly best times in a world rankings database.
In the 55-59 age group Law now sits at number two in Australia and number three in the Oceania region.
Last year he sat at 44th in the world rankings, but is still awaiting a result after besting his times by more than a second in 2013.