Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Medal Success For Talented Mackay Trio

Mackay endurance king Justin Rule has continued his medal-winning achievements on the Masters Athletics circuit.

The 48-year-old iron man was one of three Mackay Athletics Club competitors to stamp their mark at the recent Australian Masters Athletics Championships in Sydney – bringing home gold in the 3000m Steeplechase and a bronze medal in the 8km Cross Country in the Mens 45-49yrs category.

Clubmates Maddy Simmons and Mel Esau also impressed in the Women’s 40-44yrs division by collecting a swag of medals in field and track events.

German-born Simmons, 41, clinched a silver medal in the 80m hurdles and bronze in both the triple jump and pole vault to add to her 80m hurdles gold and pole vault silver at the 2022 National Masters in Townsville.

40-year-old Esau – who only took up athletics earlier this year – grabbed silver medals for Queensland in the 4 x 100m (180+) and 4 x 400m (120+) Relay finals.

She also reached the finals of the 60m, 100m, 200m and long jump events and recorded a personal best time in the 400m for her age group.

But it was the super fit Rule – named Athletics North Queensland Masters Athlete of the Year in 2022 – who enhanced his reputation with standout performances in recent weeks.

At the World Masters Cross Country Championships last month in Bathurst, the lanky Mackay runner finished a creditable 13th in a strong international field in the 6km short course event.

A highlight for Justin was navigating the course alongside legendary Australian long distance running champion Steve Moneghetti, who claimed the 60-69yrs world title.

Rule also teamed up with Joanna Bailey (Northern Territory) to finish 11th in the Mixed Relay.

Since entering major Masters events in 2020, a rejuvenated Justin has collected a swag of medals including two gold (steeplechase and 5000m) and three silver (400m hurdles, 800m and 1500m) at the Oceania Championships in Mackay and the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast where he captured two gold in the 1500m and 5000m); two silver (steeplechase and 800m) plus a bronze in the Beach Mile.

The former Brisbane Grammar student made a comeback to athletics when sons Oliver and Toby joined the Mackay Athletics Club.

Last Sunday at the Athletics North Queensland Cross Country Championships at Airlie Beach, Justin was upstaged by the duo when 18-year-old Oliver won gold in the 8km Under 20 event and Toby, 16, grabbed gold in the 6km Under 17 race.

Justin had to settle for silver in the 8km Masters event.

Talented Mackay athletes Mel Esau, Justin Rule and Maddy Simmons collected a swag of medals at the recent Australian Masters Athletics Championships in Sydney. Photo credit: Chris Karas

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