Inside Athletics

All-white seeking a Tan

Sydney University Athletics Club is seeking to upset the might of Victorian distance running on their most hallowed turf tomorrow at the Athletics Victoria Tan Relays.

The club, which is the oldest in Australia and whose athletes don the traditionally distinctive all-white uniform, are the reigning NSW Club Premiers and have assembled a strong team spearheaded by national cross country champion James Nipperess for the six-person relay around the famed 3.87km track on the edge of the CBD.

The race has been pitted as a contest against tertiary rivals Melbourne University Athletics Club, but Sydney University is determined to vanquish all-comers.

“Sydney Uni have a strong team across their first four, which is what they usually race with. But the Victorian men’s teams are used to six runners a side, so they may have the extra depth needed to win," said Melbourne University Club President Hamish Beaumont.

“At any rate, the Victorian teams will need to be at their best."

Speculation as to the lack of depth among the Sydney team may be premature, with the slowest track 3000m PB among the sextet of Nipperess, Russell Dessaix-Chin, Brad Croker, Daniel McDonald, Hugh Williams and Ben Liddy being 8:32.34.

Nipperess, who captured the Australian cross country title only weeks after winning the Oceania championship, is rumoured to be targetting a sub-11 minute split. The fastest time for the Tan is 10:12 by Craig Mottram, who is one of four men to have run under 11 minutes during the AV Tan relays.

Fastest times in AV Tan Relays

Craig Mottram 10:40 2011
Collis Birmingham 10:52 2006
Mark Fountain 10:53 2010
Liam Adams 10:59 2008
Mark Tucker 11:04 2007

Inside Athletics will be providing editorial and pictorial coverage of the Tan Relays.