Two track races, two world titles. Perhaps Mary Coordt should quit while she’s ahead.
The 42-year-old Elk Grove resident has qualified for four U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon, including the upcoming 2012 race in Houston. But until she competed in the 5,000 meters on July 8 at the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Championships in Sacramento, she had never run a race on the track.
Coordt won the W40 5,000 and returned to Hughes Stadium seven days later for the 10,000 meters, which she won Friday in 37 minutes, 8.13 seconds.
“It’s been an interesting experience,” Coordt said following her 10,000 win. “I’m used to training for a certain time. If I get a personal record on the road and take third or fifth, I’m ecstatic. I’m realizing that out here on the track, it’s more tactical.
“I wasn’t particularly pleased with my time in either race, but track racing is different from road racing.”
Friday’s race was a case in point. With a sturdy wind blowing through Hughes Stadium, Coordt had to decide early on whether to stay with the pace set by Sally Gibbs, a 48-year-old New Zealander competing in the W45 age group.
“I could have tried to stay with her, but I might have paid for it,” Coordt said.
Instead, Coordt traded pace-making duties with Rebecca Sondag, another 42-year-old who finished second to Coordt in the 5,000 meters. Coordt again had more finishing speed than Sondag, who finished second in 37:10.97.
“The wind was tough, but at least it wasn’t 99 degrees,” Coordt said. “Overall, I’ve had a good time.”
The 1,500-meter finals were held Friday at Sacramento State and featured a number of outstanding performances. Ron Robertson of New Zealand set a M70 world record with his wire-to-wire win in 4:52.95, as did Ed Whitlock of Canada in the M80 final (5:48.93). Keith Bateman of Australia ran faster than the listed world record for M55 with his 4:12.35 win.
Tom Bernhard of Castro Valley, who turned 60 during the WMA Championships but had to compete in the M55 division. Bernhard was seventh in 4:35.48, a time that would have won the M60 race.
In other performances by Pacific Association athletes Friday: