Age Groupers

Ron does the double

Six Star Finisher Ron Romano wanted to run in the 2023 AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships, and decided to go to great lengths to try and make it happen.

To give himself the best possible chance of securing a spot, he jumped on a plane from the USA and headed to Barcelona to double dip on age group world ranking points.
 
“After qualifying and running in the first Championships in London last year, I knew I wanted to be part of that experience again," he says.
 
"I sustained a stress fracture at the beginning of 2021 when doing a charity run of 60 miles for my 60th birthday and was out of action for four months. I had a lengthy recovery with some weight gain so my times last year were not fast enough for a world championship spot in 2022.

"It was a set-back, but competing against the best of the best from around the world really gets the juices flowing and this has been a great motivator for me to stay in the fight and get back to my best.
 
"AbbottWMM did a great job during the race week in London to connect us all and make us feel special and after missing out this year, I didn’t want to be on the sidelines again. 
 
"I focused on getting healthy and realized my best shot to earn a slot in 2023 would be through the Global Marathon."

This is the AbbottWMM Global Run Club virtual marathon that offers 100 places in the championship race to the fastest finishers across the age categories. The race weekend fell over Mother’s Day in the US, and Ron couldn’t find anyone to run with. "And we all know how tough a solo marathon can be."
 
After scanning the Age Group World Rankings Qualifier list, Ron found the race for him.

"Barcelona jumped off the page, as it had long been on my travel bucket list! A chance to see this spectacular city, and race on a fast course at a great event - this was the perfect combination.

On top of the world (or at least his hotel roof).

 
"It's one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever visited and explored while running. Every mile of the course was filled with atmosphere and amazing architecture."
 
And so, on Sunday 8 May in beautiful weather conditions, Ron ran a 3:30:31 marathon in Barcelona - three minutes faster than he had managed in Boston just 20 days earlier.

"My overseas trip paid off in so many ways! I had a fantastic weekend, I raced a new course on another continent and I earned a podium spot in the Global Marathon in the men’s 60-64 category, securing my spot for the World Championships  in 2023!"
 
The beauty of the virtual Global Marathon is that runners can complete it while racing in an in-person race, which means you can earn ranking points and at the same time take a shot at one of those guaranteed places through the virtual race.

"Next time it comes around, I highly recommend ‘double-dipping’," says Ron. "Earn world ranking points at a qualifying race and compete with your Global Run Club teammates around the world in the virtual marathon too. It’s the best way to give yourself a chance of being part of the world championships.
 
"I am using this year to train hard and run hard at Berlin and New York City and see if I can get back to clocking some 3:20 marathons.
 
"Qualifying for the World Championships is hard to put into words. It means everything! It drove me to clean up my diet, to run with real purpose again and chase that faster version of myself. I can’t wait to line up to represent my country next year and I hope to see some of you there!”
 
For a full list of this season’s qualifying events click HERE.