Melbourne (Vic) will welcome endurance athletes from across the nation this weekend, as more than 900 competitors get set to compete at the Australian Cross Country Championships and the Australian Race Walking Championships.
Pitting the nation’s best distance running athletes against each other in the surrounds of the Moonee Valley Racecourse, the Australian Cross Country Championships features races for athletes aged 10 through to open age over distances from 2km to 12km. The Championships are being hosted in Victoria for the first time since 2008.
The Open Men’s race in particular boasts the strongest line up in many years. IAAF World Cross-Country Championships representatives Liam Adams (Vic) and Mitchel Brown (Vic), both former champions, will face competition from reigning champion Duer Yoa (Vic), current state champion Nick Wightman (Vic) and City2Surf winner Brad Milosevic (NSW). Rhys Jones (SA), Stewart McSweyn (Vic), Toby Rayner (Vic) and three-time national champion and Olympian Martin Dent (ACT) will all be vying for line honours.
In the Open Women’s race, defending champion Courtney Powell (Vic) will start favourite, with IAAF World Cross Country Championships representative Gemma Maini (SA) and Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist Jess Trengove (SA) the main threats. Milly Clark (NSW), the New South Wales champion, is another to watch along with IAAF World Junior Championships representative Kate Spencer (NSW).
“I’m really happy with my preparation for Nationals this year. I have been lucky to have had a block of good consistent training since the Albert Park 10km,” Powell remarked.
“Anything can happen on race-day but over the past couple of months I’ve been feeling fit and strong – touch wood.”
A collaboration between Athletics Australia and School Sport Australia, the Australian Cross Country Championships are proudly supported by the Victorian Government through the Department of Sport & Recreation.
The Championships are the biggest out-of-stadium event on the Australian athletics calendar, with the continued growth in participation one of the event’s most vital assets.
“Cross country running is a feature of Australia’s winter athletics calendar. The national championships provide a vital opportunity for competitors throughout the season to vie for coveted national titles,” Tracey Gaudry, Athletics Australia’s General Manager, Commercial & Growth, said.
“We sincerely thank the Victorian Government for their support of the Australian Cross Country Championships and the promotion and growth of athletics in Victoria. In delivering the Championships, our partnership with School Sport Australia is highly successful, and we are delighted to see an increase in competitors in many categories.”