PETE Clarke has again proved that age is no barrier to competing on the world stage by setting a new world record at the World Icosathlon Championships in Helsinki.

Despite fearing his training was slightly insufficient, Clarke, 75, stormed to the gold medal in his age group with a score of 4,330 points across a gruelling 20 events in two days.

On his world-best time, Clarke said: “That was brilliant, that was the aim to go to Finland and see if I could pick that up.

“But also to see the other athletes and saying to them ‘you don’t have to stop at 65 or 70, you just keep going.’”

Quizzed on how he prepared for the icosathlon, in which competitors win age-graded points, Clarke said: “You have to get your training done to begin with. I didn’t manage to do enough this year.

“It’s a case of working on experience, having done the event before, so you don’t fall in the first hurdles or anything like that. That’s the most difficult bit, making sure you’re warmed up enough.

“It’s a case of trying to get as much practice in as possible. I went to Wimborne for their all-weather surface of 150 metres and they have some very good coaches who are very


Clarke then travelled to Delft, in the Netherlands, where he hoped to better his mark but came up just short with 4,267 points.

However, Clarke’s endeavours have gained him a mini fanclub, some labelling him an inspiration.

“The other athletes very kindly suggest that I am,” he admitted. “Some of the Dutch athletes got together and said ‘we’re going to have a Pete Clarke fan club!

“So they produced t-shirts and waved them at me when I was running round, which was a bit embarrassing really.

“Don’t give up. If you enjoy things, carry on. OK, it’s a bit extreme tackling 20 events but it’s amazing how many athletes there are still doing their own events.”

The icosathlon combines track and field disciplines and is split into two sessions of five events per day.

Athletes compete in the 100m, long jump, 200m hurdles, shot put and 5,000m before a break after which they grapple with the 800m, high jump, 400m, hammer and 3,000m steeplechase.

Day two starts with the 110m hurdles, discus, 200m, the pole vault and 3,000m, finishing with the 400m hurdles, javelin, 1,500m, triple jump and 10,000m in the second session.

Clarke, who has been a local coach for over 50 years, used the new facilities installed at the club’s base at Budmouth School to sharpen his skills.

Club coaching coordinator Tracy Moore said: “Pete is an inspiration to us all. This event is as much of a test of one’s mental stamina as well as physical endurance. He never fails to impress us.”

Clarke is a veteran marathon runner and club president of Weymouth St Paul’s Harriers and Athletics Club.

Clarke and the coaching team train junior track and field athletes at Budmouth on Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm.

Weymouth St Paul’s Harriers also have a thriving road running section and coordinate couch to 5k courses.