Above: Quentin Rew crossing the finish line in the 50km race walk at the Beijing World Championships
Quentin Rew walked his way to an excellent 10th placing in a personal best time of 3:48:48 in the gruelling 50km walk at the World Championships in Athletics in Beijing.
The New Zealand national champion in 2010 kept to his own schedule and after locking in tenth place held on well over the final quarter. It was Rew's third world championships in which he has improved by seven places each time. He was 24th in 2011 and 17th in 2013.
Rew cut 1:34 off his previous best also set in China in Taicang in May last year and he was just 44 seconds outside Craig Barrett's New Zealand record.
Rew took the accomplishment in his stride coming off the track.
"Pretty happy, once I got to about 10km to go there really wasn't any change in positions. There were a couple of people that just died and came back but apart from that my position was pretty steady so it was just a case of trying ride out that last 10km and not get another card, I was on two red cards for most of the race so it was a shame that I wasn't able push on a bit more but overall yeah really happy with that," said Rew.
"I slowed down a far bit in the last 10km, but I was sufficiently up on my pace that I was able push through a little bit and even though I died a little bit I still came through with a reasonable finish."
The 31 year old was surprised when advised that he had also surpassed the Rio Olympic Games nomination standard of 3:50:00.
"Oh yeah I forgot about that, no that's good.
"I said before the race it wasn't something I was focussed on at all because I know I was going to get that time, whether it was here or another day, but to do it today in the conditions it shows I'm in pretty good shape and should be able to keep improving, it's nice to have it out of the way and to focus on the big goals," he said.
Keeping tabs on Rew throughout the race were his parents Martyn and Marcia, with Martyn flying a silver fern flag off his back racing up and down the side lines.
New Zealand's best placing at a world championships in the 50km walk, is eighth by Craig Barrett in Seville in 1999 in 3:54:38.
From Murray McKinnon in Beijing