Inside Athletics

Mitchell overcomes Olympic disappointment to win Victorian cross country title

Victoria Mitchell has bounced back from missing the Olympic team in the steeplechase with victory at the Victorian cross country championships at Bundoora.

Mitchell benefitted from an extension of the Olympic qualification period after fellow steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze was selected following a backflip by Athletics Australia's Board in the face of public criticism and Australian Olympic Committee intervention, and made two additional last ditch attempts on the Gold Coast to qualify just prior to the international deadline.

Unfortunately for the Beijing Olympian, the two virtual time trial runs both resulted in her running exactly the same time of 9:51.51 - short of the 9:43.00 required to reach the A-qualifying mark.

At Bundoora Mitchell employed the same front running tactics, breaking away early from the field in the 8km race and winning by 45 seconds from 1500m specialist Melissa Duncan in a time of 29:11.

“I’m just trying to not waste the fitness that I’ve gained at the moment," said Mitchell.

"So I’ll roll on, do City2Surf and a few fun runs, and then look towards the World Cross Country and World Championships next year.”

In the men's 12km event Liam Adams retained his title, kicking away from Chris Hamer for a four second victory in 38:27.

Adams, who recently took out the Gold Coast Half Marathon after returning to Australia from the United States, said it had always been his plan to control the pace of the race.

“I’ve been sick since the Gold Coast, so I didn’t really want to do too much work today. I think a few of the other boys knew that as well, so the pace was pretty pedestrian at the start before we gradually picked it up over the second half,” he said.

The day also incorporated the Victorian All School Championships, with Zak Patterson and Samantha Prime winning the U18 events.

Photo courtesy of Athletics Victoria