Athletics Exclusive

#Zatopek – Ondieki Women’s 3000m Preview


We’ll start with the women U-20 3000m race.

At a glance this is shaping up to be one of the best junior womens races in memory.

60% of the field (9 of the starting 15) have PB’s under 10 minutes with a further 4 just on 10 mins or a few seconds over.

So then; who’s going to win?

As far as I see it there are 3 women that demand our attention.

1: Courtney Powell: The Victorian runner has pedigree and form coming into this race as a 16:29 5k World Junior qualifier would point to. The slightly confounding thing is that her fastest 3k that I can find on record is only 9:51.

This has led me to conclude that she has not run the distance in a while as a 16:29 5k run from the front on a cold windy Melbourne night does not go into a 9:51 3k. So irrespective of the result, expect a big improvement from Courtney on that time come Thursday night.


2: Kate Spencer: The fastest woman in the field is NSW athlete Kate Spencer with a fresh 9:16 PB and 2nd place at the NSW 3000m championships. Astoundingly she had been in a car accident the week earlier!


3: Jenny Blundell: At the same championships as her NSW compatriot above she shaved a mere (joking there) 25 seconds off her 3k PB to finish 4th in 9:21. What I feel may work against Blundell in this race is she is more an 800/1500 type runner. So she has a great and exciting season to look forward to on the track in terms of those distances.


So it’s a shootout between Powell and Spencer for me for the title of best/most promising Australian junior female runner. I’ll call Powell just.


Some Pre Race Thoughts (PRT’s)

PRT 1: I’m not expecting a large number of personal bests in this race. I fell that the pace of the 9:20 and under girls will force the larger contingent of 9:40 -10:00 girls to work harder at the start of the race to keep up with them than is ideal for running PB’s resulting in a few blow-ups.

PRT 2: The fastest 3000m by an Australian junior? Just ahead by daylight, 8:44 by Donna Gould in 1984. Donna was a SA athlete and a dual Olympian and a dual Sportian. (Is that a word? It is now that I said it) The 3000m in L.A in 1984 and the Cycling Road Race in Seoul in 1988.

PRT 3: The fastest 3000m Benita Johnson ran as a junior? Just 9:16! And she went on to be arguably Australia’s greatest ever female distance runner. That should be a bright beacon of inspiration to all the girls in the Ondieki on Thursday.

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Rene Da Silva
Renzo would have been one of the all time greats if his actual talent and aptitude for running matched his passion and love for the sport. So he decided to do the next best thing and write about the greatest sport in the world. His favourite saying is "you can take the runner out of running, but you can't take the running out of the runner"

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