Derek Larner wrapped up his competition at the World Masters Games in Lyon, France, with another heroic run, this time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The 51-year-old Brit, who competes in Cayman and coaches local youth runners, entered the 50-54 age division.
As there were 34 entrants, too many for a straight final, two races were organized, judged by previous performances, with the faster runners in the second race.
The combined times of the two races decided the medals. Larner’s previous steeplechase of 11 minutes, 53.61 seconds at the U.S. Masters in Jacksonville, Florida, two weeks ago placed him in the first race.
In the race, a quick pace was set by Shawn Muldrew of Canada, stringing out the field very quickly.
“I had settled in about seventh place and was more concerned about the first hurdle than my pace,” Larner said. “Fortunately, my first water jump was relatively smooth going and it gave my confidence a boost as I eased through the first 600m.”
Muldrew was well ahead, followed by Tony Killilea (Great Britain), Vincent Bigel (France) and Victor Bondar (Kazakhstan), with Larner and a bunch of others in the pack.
Larner picked up the pace and eventually finished third in a new personal best of 11:15.56, about 38 seconds’ improvement.
In the second race, there were quicker runners, but overall Larner had the ninth fastest time of the combined results. He had finished 17th overall in the 1,500m a few days before.
“I was very happy with my performances and that I was competing against the best masters athletes in the world,” he said.