11/29/2003: US Masters Run Well at WMA 100K World Championship

CARSON CITY, Nevada.  The first US Masters 100K Team in the history of world 100K championship racing, showed well at the World Masters Athletics (WMA) 100K world championship in Tainan County, Taiwan on November 16, 2003.  Before the team left the US for the race, team’s leader Chuck DesJardins foresaw the success of this first time WMA 100K Team when he said, “My goal is that each of our masters athletes have a great time and in the process produce their best effort.  They are all pioneers in running a masters ultra championship on the world scene and especially being a pioneer for WMA.  This adventure will be the start of many masters championships to come.” 

The members of the fledgling team were pioneers making sacrifices to solicit support from their communities or funding their trip to the WMA 100K World Championship themselves.  To provide the WMA 100K Team a unified look, long time supporter of American masters ultrarunning, Ruth Anderson, donated USATF rain suits to the team.

DesJardins goal was realized when US WMA 100K Team member Roy Pirrung, a highly accomplished and honored multi-day and ultra championship runner both in the US and at international venues won a gold medal in the 55-59 age group for his 9:43:08 finish.  Pirrung, who ran an American age-group record the week before at the USATF 24-Hour championships describes the dramatic end of his competitive race, “Moving into second place (in the 55-59 age group) at 67.5K was a real treat to me.  I knew I was about 11 minutes behind first and 10 minutes behind second at 75K.  To pass the 2nd place guy at the 10K aid station meant I had a real good chance at passing the leader also.  With 5K left I went by him like it had all been in the plan.  It was a great moment for me, and hopefully, US masters ultrarunning.” 

Also performing well in the WMA age-group competition was 40-year old Connie Gardner from the USATF 100K team who won the silver medal for her 9:25:57.  Participating in the dual venue IAU 100K World Championship that includes women age 35 and over as masters runners and the WMA 100K World Championship, USATF 100K Team members, Ann Heaslett, Laura Nelson and Anne Riddle took silver in the WMA 100K 35-39 age-group team competition.  US masters runners in a team comprised of Molly Gibb (42) from the US WMA 100K Team with Gardner and Tania Pacev (44) from the USATF 100K Team garnered the silver medal.

The challenging four 25K out and back legs of the race course combined with temperatures in the upper 70s and humidity topping 80% caused many of the 294 starters in the combined WMA and IAU 100K events to withdraw from the race. 

US Masters Runners in the WMA 100K

Runner (age)           Home State       Time           100K Team

Anne Riddle (37)       North Carolina   8:55:03        USATF

Eric Bindner (46)      Colorado         9:03:39        WMA

Connie Gardner (40)    Ohio             9:25:57        USATF

Roy Pirrung (55)       Wisconsin        9:43:08        WMA

Anne Heaslett (37)     Wisconsin        9:56:46        USATF

Tania Pacev (44)       Colorado        10:22:07        USATF

Dave Dehart            Wisconsin       10:24:34        USATF

Laura Nelson (37)      Virginia        11:25:01        USATF

Katy Cotton (37)       Wyoming         11:56:13        WMA

Molly Gibb (42)        Colorado        12:58:15        WMA

For information on the world 100K race, visit www.iau.org.tw and for information about WMA, visit www.world-masters-athletics.org.

Contact:  Charles DesJardins
CRDJ@interqwest.com 775-884-9448

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