Inside Athletics

Nipperess claims NSW 3000m title

Current NSW 1500m and 7.5km cross country champion James Nipperess has added the NSW 3000m title to his ever growing resume this evening at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre.

20-year-old Nipperess clocked a personal best of 7:56.42 to convincingly beat Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist Jeremy Roff, who recorded a time of 8:02.56, with world junior 1500m representative Brett Robinson third in 8:06.67. The winning performance was the second fastest in the event's history, behind the 7:55.39 recorded by Ben St Lawrence in 2007.

"We had planned for Jeff [Hunt] to take the pace for the first three laps, and he got us to the first kilometre in about 2:35, so we were moving pretty well," Nipperess said.

"After that Jez [Roff] took a lap, and then I took a lap and the plan from there was for Jez to lead the rest of the way.

"But, with 600m to go he pulled to the side - he obviously wasn't feeling great - and I was in the lead but I was a bit hesitant to take it up because I'd never beaten him before."

The result was especially pleasing for Nipperess in an event which has become a staple part of the NSW distance running experience and which celebrated a record 191 entries across the ten graded races contested.

"I've been running the race for the past five years and it has been the one that I have always wanted to win."

Nipperess will next race in ten days, where as the reserve for the Australian team at the Chiba Ekiden in Japan he will contest a 5000m track race.

ACTs Sarah McRae took out the women's event in 9:28.66, with Belinda Martin claiming the NSW title in 9:38.45 ahead of 15-year-old Kate Spencer (9:49.09) and Kelly Young (9:51.02).

In the men's C race, 55-year-old Keith Bateman recorded a time of 8:56.80, which is believed to be a world best in the 55-59 year age bracket.


Photo by Chris Lew