Averaging 9:47 a mile in 90-degree weather, Erin Taylor-Talcott claimed a world record Sunday in the 50-kilometer race walk — even though she’s gone a half-hour faster.
That was well off her best of 4:33:23 — set on the same Santee course in 2012, when she became the first woman to contest the men’s event at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
But on Nov. 1, the International Association of Athletics Federations adopted new rules making women’s 50K marks eligible for a world record, not just an American record.
(Unofficially, the fastest known women’s time is 4:10:59 by Sweden’s Monica Svensson in 2007.)The initial world record is set to be recognized Dec. 31, and Tracy Sundlun, chief organizer of the Santee event, said Taylor-Talcott’s time would be submitted for consideration.
The Santee event was mainly a chance for men and women to achieve qualifying marks for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Winner of the men’s race was Brazil’s Caio Bonfim, a 24-year-old La Mesa resident, who finished the 50K in 4:02:20 — just under the IAAF qualifying standard for the 2016 Games of 4:03:00.
Just missing the standard was two-time Olympian John Nunn of Bonsall, who finished second in 4:03:40.
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Taylor-Talcott, 37, of Oswego, New York, was eighth overall on the 1.25-kilometer loop course on Mast Boulevard. Only 15 finished the 50K event in what Sundlun called brutal conditions.
“When the piano got dropped on their heads, they all crumpled,” Sundlun said Sunday.
As The New York Times noted in a profile of Taylor-Talcott, the longest women’s walking event in the Olympics is 20 kilometers — 12.4 miles.
But Taylor-Talcott fought for two months to gain entry into the 2012 Olympic Trials men’s 50K — and took sixth.
In a racewalk.com interview, she said she has received email from a fair amount of international women “who were really happy that I did that and really want to do a 50K and do not have an outlet to do it.”
“I’ve had younger girls tell me that they want to try a 50K. I had one mom tell me that my picture was up in their dining room as inspiration, I can’t even tell you what that meant to me to hear that.”
Sunday’s event also included 20K, 10K and 5K races, all starting at 7:30 a.m. — except Taylor-Talcott, who along with three other women started a minute behind the men.
Besides the winner from Brazil — a bronze medalist in the Pan-American Games — foreign entries represented Hungary, Singapore, Canada and Mexico.
America’s top walkers will return Feb. 21 to Santee for the Olympic Trials. But only men will make up the Olympic 50K team.
No women’s event of that distance is yet contested in the Games.
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