Australian 10000m record holder Jack Rayner has achieved the unique distinction of winning the Zatopek:10 twice within the same calendar year.
The annual event held its 62nd instalment at Lakeside Stadium last night, with last season’s event being held in January rather than the customary December slot in the calendar due to COVID considerations.
The 26-year-old made light work of the 25 lap race in windy conditions, recording a comfortable win in 28:46.30, having time to salute the crowd down the back straight on the final lap and high five spectators gathered in lane four down the home straight.
The minor medals were taken out by a strong finishing Andre Waring (28:49.32) and Jack Bruce (28:54.57) in a race where only the top three broke 29 minutes.
“I always love Zatopek. I’ve missed out on a couple of years due to injuries but I think that was my seventh time doing it. I’ve grown up doing it since I was 18 or 19 but I’ve gotten better each year, some years not so good, but it’s nice to get my stride going now,” Rayner told Athletics Australia.
“It’s been my best year without a doubt. I’ve run PB’s and two Australian records. I’m over the moon and hopefully I can keep the ball rolling next year into World Cross Country and World Champs.”
February’s World Cross Country Championships in Bathust were also on the mind of the ACT’s Leanne Pompeani, who recorded an impressive victory by winding up the pace over the second half of the race to drop Olympians Isobel Batt-Doyle and Rose Davies and win by five seconds in a personal best 32:20.35. Batt-Doyle took silver in 32:26.02, with defending champion Davies tiring over the closing laps to finish third in 32:35.53.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure (running with Davies). I know she’s been training so well, so I didn’t know what she would do tonight but it did feel like she was biding her time. She probably has more of a kick than me so I knew I just had to keep this pace honest,” Pompeani told Athletics Australia after the race..
“It is funny, there is always a point in the race that you want to pull out, and for me that was at six laps to go. Rose was there putting the pressure on, but the gap started to open up and I got a second wind. Once I saw the gap, I thought I have to take this now.”
“This is the stepping stone. This was a priority but there is probably a slightly higher one at the (World Athletics Cross Country) trials so this is sort of, if I can run well here, keep doing what I’m doing in training, I should be ready to hit the ground hard at the trials and prove myself again that this wasn’t just a good night from me.
“I’m in much better shape and if i can make this team, I really want to go hard at Bathurst and go for top 20.”
World Junior representative Amy Bunnage produced a bold front running performance in the windy conditions and was rewarded with a new personal best and Australian U18 record in the Ondieki junior 3000m. Bunnage, who will take up a scholarship at Stanford University next year, stopped the clock at 9:00.60 to take two seconds off the record held by Eloise Wellings.
Gabrielle Schmidt from Queensland (9:24.26) and Gabrielle Vincent from Victoria (9:27.85) finished in the minor places.
16-year-old Cameron Myers from the ACT continued the strong form that has seen him crowned NSW 3000m champion and Australian mile champion already this season, winning the de Castella junior 3000m with a strong finishing kick in 8:05.82.
World Junior representative Archie Noakes (8:08.42) was second, with South Australia’s Cael Mulholland third in 8:09.21.
In the 1500m events, Jaylah Hancock-Cameron scored an impressive victory in 4:14.19 ahead of Holly Campbell and Georgia Hansen; while training partners Jack Lunn and Will Lewis raced to the line in the men’s event, with Lunn taking line honours in 3:44.94.
Collingwood took out the Victorian women’s 4x400m title in 3:49.51, with an explosive run by Olympian Kendra Hubbard on the second leg breaking the field apart. In the men’s event a sprint finish with Old Melburnians denied Collingwood the double, finishing three-hundredths-of-a-second ahead.
Here’s some additional shots from the 275 photo gallery of the event. Free download when you subscribe to our mailing list.
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