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Davies defends Zatopek title; Rayner claims first

Olympians Rose Davies and Jack Rayner have taken victory in the feature 10,000m races at the annual Zatopek:10 meet, held yesterday at Lakeside Stadium.

Held in humid conditions both races were of a similar nature, with a small lead pack dwindling in size and last lap kicks proving definitive.

22-year-old Davies thwarted the evergreen Eloise Wellings‘ attempt to become the first woman to win four Zatopek titles, taking victory by two-seconds in 32:58.42. Wellings was second 33:00.87 ahead of Isobel Batt-Doyle (33:04.69).

“It was tough conditions out there and the pace was slow,” said Davies.

“It was different to last year in that way, but it ended up the same way as last year, with a kick in the last 300m. I’m really happy I got to execute the race I wanted to.”

Rayner’s win was his first national title on the track, following a tussle with David McNeill and gritty marathoner, Liam Adams.

“I’ve been up at Falls Creek for the last few weeks on a training block, but it was a shock to come back to Melbourne and run in this heat,” said Rayner.

“I’m not used to running in the super hot conditions. I was able to switch off as much as I could and I watched the lap counter go down and tricked myself into thinking it was the start of this race.”

Rayner won in 28:16.86, with McNeill clocking 28:22.08 and Adams 28:46.45.

The less than ideal distance running conditions led to slow starts in both the Ondieki and De Castella junior 3000m races. Victorian athletes took line honours in both events, with Amy Bunnage striding away for a 9:37.63 victory, while Thomas Diamond confidently celebrated his 8:24.94 win.

Bucking the trend of the night, Catriona Bisset opened her season with a strong front-running performance over 800m, stopping the clock in 2:01.20 to take victory by two-seconds from Ellie Sandford.

“I’m planning on going to World Indoors in March, so I’m practicing holding onto my pace and this is a good start,” Bisset said.

16-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth recorded her second world junior qualifier over 1500m in the space of a week, taking out the 1500m from Melissa Duncan with a strong finishing kick in 4:16.50. NSW’s Luke Young won a slow, tactical men’s race in 3:48.44.

In the field Cassidy Bradshaw was the standout performer, clearing the world junior qualifying standard of 4.05m in the pole vault.

Relays also featured on the program, with the day being preceded by the Victorian Relay Championships. The finals of the 4x100m and 4x400m relays were part of the Zatopek program. Sandringham (46.34) and Old Melburnians (41.76) took out the women’s and men’s 4x100m respectively, while Glenhuntly (3:57.07) and Old Melburnians (3:17.88) won the 4x400m events.

Our full gallery of photos from the meet are available here. These are able to downloaded for free, with your free subscription to our mailing list.

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