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Stewart McSweyn 2019 Zatopek:10

Fast 1500s set for Box Hill Classic on Thursday

National record holder Stewart McSweyn headlines the deepest 1500m fields of the season at a happy stomping ground at Hagenauer Reserve, Box Hill this Thursday evening.

McSweyn broke the national record over 10000m at the venue at the 2019 Zatopek:10 meet (27:23.20) and last month ran his second fastest 5000m there too. His 13:05.87 was at attempt at Craig Mottram’s 12:55.76 mark dating back to 2004.

So what is on the cards for the Box Hill Classic?

The race will be an attempt on the Olympic qualifying standard of 3:35.00, with McSweyn expected to go well under that time based on recent form. McSweyn is joined in the field by fellow qualifier Matthew Ramsden, with the pair already having qualifying marks of 3:31.81 and 3:34.97 to their name during the qualifying period (McSweyn’s national record of 3:30.51 was set in the 6 month COVID-19 break in the World Athletics qualifying period during 2020).

Reaching the qualifying mark, rather than the World Athletics Rankings qualifying route, will virtually be a pre-requisite for selection as one of Australia’s three representatives for Tokyo, with Ollie Hoare also having the mark courtesy of his 3:32.35 indoor run last month. Placings at the upcoming Australian Championships (16-18 April) will also be critical, with the Box Hill Classic the last major hit out.

Jordan Williamsz and Ryan Gregson went 1-2 at Box Hill in January during the Zatopek:10 meet

Former national record holder Ryan Gregson is also in the field and will be chasing redemption after an uncharacteristic fifth place finish at the Melbourne Track Classic. Melbourne Track Club training partner, Jordan Williamsz, also lines up.

Jye Edwards winning the 1500m at the Melbourne Track Classic

The victor in Melbourne, and with a 3:37.30 personal best to his name from the Canberra Track Classic, Jye Edwards, will look to lower his personal best in the sheltered suburban racing conditions that the Box Hill Track has grown a strong reputation for.

Box Hill Athletics Club Vice President, Steve Dinneen, is one of the driving forces behind the meet and is excited the by the quality of athlete competing.

“It speaks to the quality of the fields that we have three guys who have run 3:41 this season who weren’t able to make the A race,” Dineen said.

“The B race is being paced for 3:40… I can’t recall when we’ve had that kind of quality in Australia before.”

Box Hill Classic – Men’s 1500m A race

AthletePB (Year)SB (since 1 Oct 20)
Stewart McSweyn3:30.51 (2020)3:50.61 (Mile)
Ryan Gregson3:31.06 (2010)3:39.85
Matthew Ramsden3:34.97 (2021)3:34.97
Hamish Carson (NZL)3:36.25 (2016)3:41.98
Jordan Williamsz3:36.30 (2018)3:39.59
Jye Edwards3:37.30 (2021)3:37.30
Rorey Hunter3:37.63 (2019)3:43.09
Adam Spencer3:39.94 (2021)3:39.94
Callum Davies3:40.05 (2021)3:40.05
Elliott McGaughran3:41.89 (2021)3:41.89
Jude Thomas3:42.95 (2021)3:42.95
Will Austin-Cray3:45.31 (2020)3:49.20
Ben Buckingham3:45.40 (2020)N/A
Alec GruenPace

The B race features T12 world record holder Jaryd Clifford, along with Adam Pyke, Lachlan Herd and Andre Waring.

The women’s field is yet to be fully finalised, but will be paced by Ellie Stanford on a 65-second-a-lap schedule to target the 4:04.20 Olympic qualifier.

The mark would be a solid improvement on the season’s best of most of the field, which at the very least will make for an interesting contest, let alone the opportunity for a breakthrough. Update 30 March: Linden Hall added to the field and attempting sub-4 minute Australian record run.

Genevieve Gregson at the Melbourne Track Classic

Genevieve Gregson was the winner at the Melbourne Track Classic before backing up two days later for a 3000m Steeplechase win in Brisbane. With a 4:09.40 PB and consistently strong racing form, the two time Olympian is a formidable opponent.

On the other end of the experience spectrum is 15-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth, who is set to significantly revise her 4:35 personal best. The Craig Mottram coached athlete ran a sensational 2:01.60 for third at the Queensland Track Classic, and returns to the track where set set a World Youth Best of 2:36.70 for 1000m last month.

Abbey Caldwell and Lauren Ryan leading the field at the Melbourne Track Classic

Melissa Duncan was third in Melbourne in her fastest time since the 2016 World Indoor Championships (4:12.42), just behind Lauren Ryan (4:12.18), who ran a personal best. Abbey Caldwell has had a breakthrough season with a 4:10.25 personal best.

There’s some international flavour to the field with Canada’s Andrea Seccafien and New Zealand’s Camille Buscomb, both better known as 5000m /10000m runners, but with 4:10.70 and 4:13.47 credentials to their names. Rose Davies and Lauren Reid will make the trip from NSW for the race a be looking to crack their PBs of 4:13.49 and 4:12.83 respectively. Madeleine Murray brings good racing form from a recent win at the Victorian Milers Club into the race.

The meet also features 3000m races with David McNeil, Liam Adams and Joel Tobin-White in the men’s field, and Georgia Hansen and Charlotte Wilson in the women’s.

The Box Hill Classic is being held this coming Thursday, 1 April at Hagenauer Reserve, Box Hill, commencing at 6pm. Food trucks and a bar will be at the venue, while the meet will be live streamed by Athletics Exclusive for those not able to make it to the track.

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