World Championships Ultra Multievents – Double Decathlon

Ness brings home the M45 Gold Medal

Walton Athletic Club had representation in the World Championships Ultra Multievents held in Turnhout, Belgium last weekend. Chris Ness (M45) proudly wore the GB vest competing in the 12 running, 4 jumping and 4 throwing disciplines over 2 days – having previous world championship experience from 2013 & 2015.

Chris Ness was in good form during day one and firmly flagged his intention to make the podium from midday onwards in very hot and sunny conditions by putting together a good string of performances through events 5 to 8: the 5000m in 19:51, 800m in 2:28, high jump of 1.50m and 400m in 63.1. With not much left by the end of day one, the final 10th event presented Chris an opportunity to play on his strengths and maximise points. A gutsy run of 12:19 for the 3000m steeplechase proved to be his highest individual scoring event of 684 points, during which race unfortunately an outstanding Dutch competitor had to retire with injury. Chris however now found himself with an overnight score of 4766 points (and 2nd position overall) in a very close 3-way contest with his great friend and inspirational teammate Butler of Basingstoke in 4th.

During day two after the 2nd event, positions had chopped and changed with the Belgian overnight leader falling back to 3rd position after a disappointing hurdles while his German rival had now taken the lead. Chris stuck to his plan and was rewarded with overall lead for the first time in the championship after running a strong 71.2 in the 400m hurdles – the 16th event, held not long after a hard run in the 3000m. The very strong Belgian and most likely challenger needed to close 219 points on Chris during the final four events and successfully made up points over Chris in each of the subsequent three disciplines where Chris ran 5:10 in the 1500m, threw 24m in the javelin, before being restricted to the one tentative opening jump of 8.65m in the triple jump with a strained and painful adductor injury. Having to retire for treatment for 30 minutes of physio while the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the triple jump were concluding, the points differential shrunk to just 80 points going into the final 10000m (equating to about 2 minutes). In a highly charged atmosphere, with uplifting crowd support and the 25 laps underway, Chris managed to finish 37 seconds behind the tough Belgian who had pushed the pace at the 5km mark (forcing Chris to have to run some 3 minutes faster than last year with 43:48).  This strong performance was enough to secure the gold medal and a total of 8892 points – also a new personal best by more than 400 points.

– Next year the Indoors (a Double Heptathlon) will be held in Helsinki during April. Anybody interested in taking up Ultra Multievents, Chris will be only too pleased to discuss with you.

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