BY his own admission, Giovanni Puglisi was never the most gifted runner – but time is a great equaliser and the older he gets the more he seems to catch up on the competition.
Starting Wednesday, the 65-year-old middle distance specialist will compete in three events at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth.
It is Puglisi’s second crack at a Masters Championships after injury and illness left him disappointed last year in Lyon, France.
“I was never top notch at school really, I was just a bit better than mediocre but I have a love for running and competing,” he said.
“All you can do is make the most of the genes you’re dealt and I’ve found as the years go by, my performances are holding up better and better against my contemporaries.
“I guess I’m just better at getting older.”
Puglisi’s first event is the team cross-country, followed by the 5km track and his personal favourite, the 2km steeplechase.
The Mt Pleasant resident is in his first year competing in the 65-69-year-old category, boosting his chances of finishing on the podium.
“Last year in Lyon I was one of the old guys at the top of the age group and I had the flu and a bit of an ankle injury so didn’t perform at my best,” he said.
“This time around I’ve really made a concerted effort to get all the one percenters working in my favour.
“I’ve read a lot of literature and looked at ways of improving my training regime, nutrition, flexibility and strength.
“I’m feeling good – I’ve gone under 20 minutes in the 5km and am aiming to go under eight minutes in the steeplechase, which should be good enough for a medal and the WA record.”
Pugilisi is one of close to 4000 competitors from more than 90 countries who will descend on Perth this week for the World Masters Athletics Championships.