Kiwi middle-distance runner Meghann Stewart proved it is never too late to go for gold after landing a coveted first place at the 2013 World Masters Games in Turin following a 30-year break from the sport.

Meghann ran at school before quitting sport at the age of 14. She later focused her energy on raising three children and a career as an artist. Then in 2009 she returned to running with the initial motivation to improve her fitness and lose some weight.

It was an inspired move. Quickly showing a natural aptitude, she decided to enter the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy, at the urging of a friend.

“I always knew I was a runner. It had just been on the shelf for 30 years,” she explains. “Turin was just an excuse to travel and train. I never thought I'd end up winning!”

In an effort to reach peak fitness for the event she started working under the coaching of Graeme Holden, but another key factor was her work with AUT Millennium biomechanist Kelly Sheerin.

Meghann, 49, had struggled with a number of injuries however by working with Kelly on core strength and form improvement, she was able to perform to her best in Italy.

“I think if she had not received advice and increased her training load during this period, my bet is she would have either been hampered by injury or her performance level would have dropped,” explains Kelly.

Meghann describes Kelly’s input in the lead-up to Turin – where she landed W45 1500m gold and 800m silver - as 'significant' and is now targeting the W50 800m and 1500m double at the World Masters Games 2017.

Beyond her personal ambitions, Meghann believes the multi-sports event, which is expected to attract around 25,000 participants, is a great competitive opportunity for Kiwis.

“So many New Zealanders play sports. I hope lots of people get involved because it is such a buzz,” she explains.

“It also shows (like me) that if you put your mind to something, and dare to dream, anything is possible.”

Story is courtesy of AUT Millennium. http://www.autmillennium.org.nz/theclinics/