Race walker Richards sets new world record

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A WORTHING race walker has powered his way to a new world record and an impressive haul of medals at the European Masters Race Walking Championships over the weekend.

Steyning Athletic Club’s Ian Richards broke the world record in the 65 to 70 age group for the 30 kilometre walk at the championships held in the Czech Republic on Sunday.

The 65-year-old finished sixth in the all-age race, which is for competitors aged 35 and over, and won his age category in a time of 2hrs 47mins 15sec.

The former Olympian was fast enough to win a medal in the all-age category, win gold in the age 55 and 60 age groups and also beat the next walker in his own age group by a massive 31 minutes.

He broke the 65 to 70 age group’s world record of 2-51-24, which was set in 2001 by a former East German three-time Olympian and silver medallist in a world championship.

Richards also led Great Britain to gold in the team championships.

The 30k race took place just two days after the 10k championships, in which Richards also raced.

Despite holding something back for the 30k, he won his 10k age group in a time of 52-23, which was a new British record.

He beat the second-placed Italian by more than three minutes and again helped Britain win the team gold.

He said: “My training has been geared to winning two golds and setting a new world record, but I didn’t know if I could recover sufficiently between the races to get the record.

“I was expecting the weather to be hot and was worried that training on Worthing sea front in the cold weather that we have had in recent months would hamper me from being in the best possible condition.

“As it turned out, the temperature at the start was just a few degrees above freezing and it didn’t warm up that much during the race.”

Richards’ next major competition will be at the World Masters Championships in Brazil in October.

Richards’ preparation for the European championships was helped by the Marathon Support Unit in the Sports Science Department at Brighton University.