Changing Fortunes Lead to Gold

An Alice Springs athlete who switched from running to walking took home the honours at yesterday’s 10km walk.

Champion walker Debbie Page was the first woman and overall event winner in a time of 1:00:17.

Mitch Cameron backed up his age category win in the 5km cross country on Tuesday with another gold medal, this time finishing in 1:07:39.

Page made her running début at the age of 40, competing in the 2000 Sydney Marathon. Unfortunately, immediately following the event, and despite her new-found love for running, she acquired a significant hip injury.

Her physio told her there’d be no more running, so she better start walking instead.

Determined to keep competing at something, Page entered the Walk in the Alice Springs Masters Games in 2000 and happily found herself passing people.

She continued trying to get faster, and learnt a lot from watching others compete.

Page returned to Sydney 10 years later and entered the World Masters to celebrate her 50th birthday.

In a twist of fate, Page met Australian race walker Heather Carr on a train.

Carr quickly shared some of the sports’ most important rules.

Page went on to win gold in the 10km walk and silver in the 5km walk during those Games.

Page honed her skills with the help of renowned race walking coach and judge Bob Cruise.

He helped with training programs and encouraged Page to attend the 2012 Australian Walk Championships, where she received the team gold medal with Claire Tallent and Gloria Holliday.

Page was named the NT Masters Sportsperson of the Year in 2010.