Inaugural AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships produced a flurry of fast times
The inaugural AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships took place as part of the 41st Virgin Money London Marathon today with World Champion status the goal for more than 3,300 runners.
The camaraderie between these runners showed the true spirit of the marathon community while they also proved that the desire to win and the talent in marathon running does not diminish for those aged 40 and above.
Tim Hadzima, Executive Director for the Abbott World Marathon Majors said: “Congratulations to all our World Champions! What an amazing display of age group running we have witnessed in London today – it has really set the benchmark for future AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.
“We hope that today’s performances will inspire other runners to take part in our global calendar of qualifying events so they can compete for World Champion glory next year and beyond.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “Sunday was a landmark day for the Abbott World Marathon Majors with the inaugural Wanda Age Group World Championships. These age group athletes are inspiring in their performances. They show that age is no barrier to achievement and they embody the spirit of the Abbott World Marathon Majors community.”
The weather were kind to the speedy runners who enjoyed a dry day with sunny spells before an unexpected rain shower later in the day.
John Zeng, Chairman of Wanda Sports Group, said: “Wanda is proud to support the inaugural AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships. As a company we are strong believers in physical activity and exercise playing a huge role in every stage of life. For that reason we’re delighted to recognize the achievements of athletes across a wide selection of age groups during this year’s London Marathon”.
Chris Miller, DVP, Global Brand Strategy and Innovation, Abbott, added: “Marathoners embody the idea that at our healthiest, we can accomplish amazing things. We’re pleased to recognize these men and women for their performance in Sunday’s race. They’re a testament that with good health and determination peak performance is possible at any age.”
The top three in each age category received a trophy with many being presented at a celebratory function to recognize their achievements.
Stand-out performances included the battle for top honors in the women’s 70-74 category. Yuko Gordon (GBR), who competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon was victorious in 3:25:30 while her age-group rival Jeannie Rice (USA) claimed third place in 3:38:38. Sharon Smith (GBR) split them with a 3:32:24 performance.
Yuko Gordon said: “I go out to win every race. Today wasn’t my best performance, it was a tough course but I am very happy to have won my age category.”
Jeannie Rice said: “The Age Group World Championships were fabulous. London was incredible and I enjoyed the whole marathon very much. I can’t wait until next time.”
Irishman Tommy Hughes, won the men’s 60-64 category with a 20 minute margin (2:30:46), Agapito Gaytan (USA) and Paul Crochiere (USA) coming second and third respectively.
And in the men’s 80+ category, Gerry Miller of Canada, aged 84, received the top award to rapturous applause from his fellow runners at the awards ceremony.
Gerry Miller said: “I am very blessed to be able to run and to be part of this wonderful, compassionate group of runners.
“Running allows me to overcome all the things that are not so perfect in the world. It allows me to relax and be in the moment, and that is life. We all just need to enjoy the run.”
The momentum of the inaugural event now continues into the final qualifying races of 2021 which will lead to runners earning a place in the 2022 AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.
Full list of AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships Results can be found HERE.