Inside Athletics

Cross country action this weekend

Victorian and NSW distance runners are set for a big weekend of action with the Lardner Park cross country and NSW Novice championships.

Both events are the second in the winter series conducted by the respective state associations, Athletics Victoria and Athletics NSW.

The Lardner Park event, at Warragul in the West Gippsland area, is the first individual championship of the XCR '09 series and follows the successful staging of the cross country relays at Jells Park three weeks ago.

The open men's race over 8km will feature world cross country representative Liam Adams, marathoner Shane Nankervis, the consistent Clint Perrett and rising athletes Toby Rayner, Sam Crowther and Duer Yoa.

Adams will start as the favourite for the event, coming off a strong season on the track which saw him break 29 minutes for the first time over 10000m and place 69th at the world cross country championships in Amman, Jordan.

In Sydney, the Novice championships, will be held at the same venue which has hosted them for the last 70 years: Scarborough Park at Ramsgate. A somewhat unique event in Australian distance running, the feature events of the day, the novice championships (10km for men, 4km for women) are open only to athletes who have not won a medal in an open state running or hurdling championship of distance 3000m or greater.

With entries only taken on the day it is hard to speculate as to the field, but based on last week's road championships at Sydney Olympic Park, Thomas Crasti, Mark Warren and Jason Harrison will be amongst the favourites if they contest the event. The women's event is a wide open affair which is likely to see a teenaged winner, as for most of the event's history.

Previous winners of the event include notable names such as former world record holder in the 2-mile and 3-mile, Albie Thomas (1954), the late Kerryn McCann (nee Hindmarsh) (1980), middle distance runner Suzy Walsham (1987) and number two all-time Australian 5000m runner, Eloise Wellings (nee Poppett) (1997).

The associated invitation 10km and 4km events open to athletes of any age, status or gender, usually gather strong fields, although the depth at the pointy end of the 10km may be down on previous years due to the road championships being held a week prior to, rather than the week following, the Novice.

In the 4km, Australian 1500m silver medalist Jeremy Roff will take to the line as part of his preparation to contest the 1500m at the world championships in Berlin in August. He will be kept honest throughout the race by training partner and former Australian cross country champion Jeff Hunt. Both athletes are expected to run well under the course record of 11:41 held by Nick Cope.

Inside Athletics will be providing editorial and pictorial coverage of the Lardner Park Cross Country as well as a report on the NSW Novice Championships.

Inside Athletics is also proud to be involved with the Night of Milers fundraising dinner, which will help support Randwick Botany Harriers and St George District Athletics Club athletes selected in Australian track and field teams in 2009:

  • Jeremy Roff - IAAF World Championships in Athletics (1500m)
  • Bridey Delaney - World Univerity Games (1500m)
  • Joshua Johnson - IAAF World Youth Championships (3000m)

    Click here to purchase tickets