Relay team smashes record

FOUR of Australia’s fastest Masters athletes were together in Bendigo for the first time since they broke the 4x800 metres world record last year.

New South Wales woman Paula Moorhouse, Australian Capital Territory runner Kathy Sims, Queensland’s Jeanette Flynn and Bendigo’s own Kathy Heagney are in the city for the Oceania Games.

The four athletes broke the 4x800 metre relay at the national championships at Easter last year by an astonishing 24 seconds.

Sims said for all four athletes to be in Bendigo for the same event was amazing.

She said she was happy to catch up with her record-breaking teammates.

The 62-year-old said she was surprised the four athletes managed to break the record so convincingly.

She said they deliberately aimed to break the record.

“The 800 metre relay wasn’t a listed event so we had to get special permission from the Australian Masters,” Sims said.

“Then we had to put our money where our mouths were and we went out hard.

“At the end of the race we didn’t realise how fast we were going, we were proud.”

Heagney, who is currently nursing an injury, said she hoped the new record would stand for a long time.

The 63-year-old recently returned from the World Masters Games in Brazil, where she won two gold medals and a silver.

Despite not competing in the games, Heagney said she was proud Bendigo was putting on a fantastic games.  

“The games are amazing,” she said.

“I think it has made people realise what a wonderful place Bendigo is and how well equipped the city is to host sporting events.” 

Sims hoped the games changed some perceptions of what an older athlete looks like. 

"We train just as hard as the open athletes, sometime harder," she said. 

Heagney agreed, saying competing had made a huge difference in her life. 

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