Athletics: Muskett in training for Poland

If you see a long-distance runner training on the outskirts of Palmerston, give her a wave.

Champion runner Val Muskett is building up for her next 24hr race, a world championship in Poland.

She has already displayed good form this year by winning the 100km age group event in Christchurch in May.

The Palmerston woman gained five awards at the 2010 championships in Auckland, including a run of 121.983km in the 24hr event.

In Poland, she hopes to get over 200km in the 24hr event and make the top 20 in her age group.

Muskett (58) is training on the roads around Palmerston six days a week, and in a top week she can cover 170km.

She will taper off in the last three weeks before travelling to the international competition.

The "hard yards" have been done, she said.

In a 24hr race, it is necessary to work as a shearer does, with a slow pace at the beginning.

She finds she is only losing a small amount of time each year.

Usually, runners lose time as they age.

This year, for the first time, there will be both a men's and a women's team competing in Poland.

Her husband, John Muskett, is managing both teams.

Twenty-four-hour runners do not get any government sponsorship.

She is grateful for sponsorship given to her by the Palmerston Lions club and the Hill City harriers club in Dunedin.

The world championships in Poland will be the 11th time Muskett has represented New Zealand. She is not sure if it will be the last.

In the past, she has announced her retirement from running and has continued to run.



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