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World champs silver for Harris

Masterton athlete Andrea Harris has won a silver medal in the women’s 45yrs 3000m at the World Masters indoor athletics championships in Daegu, Korea.

Harris was ranked fourth in the field of nine and based upon form was always considered an outside chance for a medal in this particular event.

One of her rivals was Italian Simona Prunea who was ranked No 2 in the world for her age group last year over 800m and 1500m.

Nobody was more surprised at her second placing than Harris herself who admitted beforehand that judging by her effort in a 3000m event at the end of January she was anything but confident of a podium finish.

That particular race was her first for the summer season after having corrective hearing surgery in November which meant she could not train for almost four weeks.

“I was worried about my ability to run the distance at the speed these girls run at but I guess my coach (husband Mark) got it right.”

Harris said the pace was on from the outset and knew each time she looked at the 1km splits that a quick time was in the offing.

Especially for somebody like herself who hadn’t broken the 12-minute barrier for 3kms for over six years.

Going into the final 1km Harris was in fourth place, fighting it out for the minor placings with a British and Korean athlete.

With three laps to go the Korean looked to break clear but after passing the British runner with just over two laps to go Harris also managed to reel in the Korean to take the second placing in an excellent time of 11mins 10secs, just 4secs down on gold medallist Prunea.

Not surprisingly Mark Harris was delighted with his wife’s performance.

“To get second was an outstanding achievement but the time has blown me away, you try hard to get it right on the day and today we got it right.”.

Another Masterton athlete in Tony Price contested the 8000m cross country on Monday and placed a very creditable seventh.Going into the last 2kms Price was still in the mix for the medals but the leaders simply went too quick over the closing stages.

There was further delight though for Mark Harris, who also coaches Wellington’s Michael Wray who won the world title in the cross country in the men’s 50yrs age group.

“Coaching an athlete to win an individual world title is special and does not happen to many, this is a special moment in my coaching career, “Harris said.

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