Katikati athlete Sally Gibbs has firmly established herself as the best middle distance runner for her age in the world.

The 55-year-old vicar's wife is holidaying for a few weeks before returning home with three gold medals from the World Masters Athletics championships in Malaga, Spain.

Her trifecta of success began in the 10km road race on the first Sunday of the championships, September 9. Gibbs beat Sabine Hoffer of Austria by 12 seconds to win in 37 minutes 10 seconds.

Last Wednesday she cruised home in the women's 55-59 years 5000m in 17.46.52 to beat Fiona Matheson of Great Britain into second by 43 seconds.


Then this past Sunday, on the final day of the championships, she had her closest race of the week but still prevailed comfortably.

In the W55-59 1500m, Gibbs ran 4.54.96 to win by 8 seconds over Esther Pedrosa of Italy.

The other Bay of Plenty athlete at the championships, Bruce Solomon of Papamoa finished 9th in the men's 55-59 years decathlon, scoring 5955 points. The winner was 1984 Olympian Angel Diaz, of Guatemala, who scored 7627 points.