It was pitch black, cold and a threat of rain when Val lined up at 6am in University Park Adelaide to try and set a new World age group record for running 12 hours. The old record stood at 93k for the over 60 women.
The first hour and half was difficult for the visually impaired athlete, the sun was not yet up the light was minimal and the red gravel track on which she was running was wet and soggy in places due to the heavy downpour during the previous night.
When the sun finally rose it was obvious that Val was in to her running. With gritty determination she was covering the 2.2 km laps at a pace that would see her pass the old record with time to spare.
By now the lead man, another Kiwi, Wayne Botha had an unassailable lead on the second placed runner and Val was in third place overall and well in front of the second lady, it was just a matter of running steadily and clicking off the k’s.
With an hour to go the sun disappeared and again Val was struggling to see, by now she knew most of the track off by heart but other runners and the general public were also on the track and passing them was at times tricky.
When the final hooter blew and all the runners stopped Val had covered 109.378 Km beating the old world record by over 13 k. The record has yet to be ratified by the IAU but this should only be a formality. Val was first lady and third overall.