Ararat runner Ruby Klemm led from start to finish over 400 metres at Bendigo last Saturday night to claim the prestigious Black Pearl. Picture: PETER WEAVING, BENDIGO ADVERTISERRUNNING coach Marcus Cooper says the sky is the limit for his latest stable star Ruby Klemm.
Last Saturday night saw Klemm claim the biggest win of her Victorian Athletic League career when she saluted in the final of the $2000 Black Pearl Women’s 400-metre handicap at Bendigo.
It is the second time an Ararat athlete from the Marcus Cooper Stable has won the prestigious race, following Tiffany Boatman’s triumph in 2014.
Cooper said the 20-year-old had been ‘knocking on the door’ all season for another win, after claiming a sash in the 300m Women’s final at Northcote in December.
“I was so proud of Ruby. That run has been coming for a long time and to have finally done it, she was thrilled,” he said.
“For me as a coach to go back-to-back in the biggest 400-metre race for women, it was a great feeling just awesome.”
Klemm started her Bendigo campaign in flying fashion, winning heat four of the 120-metre Women’s Gift to progress through to Sunday’s semi final.
Cooper said with the gift run out of the way, Klemm put all her energy into the heat of the 400-metre event that afternoon.
“She ran the heat and smashed them and we knew then and there she was a very good chance in the final later in the night,” he said.
“In the final she had to take it out really hard as the front marker (46m). By doing that she could relax for about 120 metres and it made the backmarkers have to work extra just to catch her. They almost got onto the back of her, but the key for Ruby was to not panic and just keep to the plan.
“When they got within about a metre and a half they thought they’d be able to rest for a bit and with that she just took off again down the straight.
“She led from start to finish. It was unreal to watch.”
Klemm returned the following day to contest the semi final of the Women’s Gift, where she timed her run perfectly to hit the line in first place and qualify for another final.
Cooper said in the main event she recovered from a slow start to secure a podium finish.
“She didn’t get the best start on the gun in the final,” he said.
“She really needed to react quicker to put pressure on the two out in front of her, but having said that she still ran extremely well, just like a sprinter should.
“She battled on for third place, so I was pretty rapt for her. Not a bad weekend for Ruby, she smashed it.
“She has a big gift win in her next season. She has just blossomed from the start of this year, so everything is looking very good.”
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