26 Aug 2018
National cross county & winter walks decided on the Sunshine Coast
Over 3000 people descended on the Sunshine Coast over the weekend for the 2018 Australian Cross Country Championships and Australian Winter Walking Championships.
Tyler Jones (MIN) won his first senior national title when he claimed the senior men’s 20km walk in wet conditions at Lake Kawana. Jones clocked 1:33.02 to defeat training partner in the Frank Overton squad Carl Gibbons (MIN) 1:37.41.
Despite not having the best preparation Jones was the easy winner for the men after Luke McCutcheon withdrew.
“I went to Europe with my girlfriend, to Spain actually – I did get in a few training sessions over there but not nearly as much as I would have liked,” Jones said.
“During the race today, I had a bit of a battle with Luke McCutcheon and I was thinking it was a bit of a classic State of Origin, NSW vs QLD battle but in the end I managed to hold on.”
In the women’s open 20km, Jasmine Dighton (ASW) won the bronze in 1:58.20 behind Rio Olympian Rachel Tallent (VIC).
Another highlight for NSW was Allanah Pitcher (MIN) in the under-16 5km event where the three medal winners staged a great battle with all three dipping under 25 minutes. Pitcher won bronze with 24:58.11
In the open events, NSW claimed two individual bronze medals courtesy of Ed Goddard (UTN) and Lara Hamilton (SYU).
Goddard, who won silver in 2017, was very competitive in a high quality race which was again won by Andrew Buchanan (VIC) and where team mate and national 10,000m track record holder Ben St Lawrence (Run Crew) was sixth.
“The course was pretty tough - I had walked the course and knew I was going to be in for a hard one,” said Goddard.
“It was a game of chess I had to work out my position and work out how I was feeling. I was confident I could get into the top-3. Riley Cocks caught up to me and we worked together for a while. Once I was in third I was determined not to give that up.”
In the team event, NSW were very strong with three in the top-9, as Kieran Tall (SSR) ran outstandingly too for ninth place. Joe Burges was the fourth member of the team that was edged 28 to 30 points by South Australia who won their first ever title.
In the women’s, Lara Hamilton stepped up from her under-20 win in 2017 to finish on the senior podium in 2018. The race was comfortably won by Victorian, and former NSW athlete Madeline Hills. NSW was third in the team title behind Victoria and Queensland.
In the open men’s para 3km event, Kyle McIntosh (SUT) was the winner with a time of 10:49, 84 seconds ahead of the silver medallist.
In the junior events, NSW won seven individual titles.
The first women’s winner of the day was Fleur Cooper in the 11 years 3km event. In the under-16 event, Tamworth’s Sara Schiffmann won by a comfortable 21 seconds in a time of 14:26. With three in the top-9 she led home a NSW team win over Victoria by two points. In the under-20 women’s 6km Port Macquarie’s Ella Heeney was another surprise winner for NSW, defeating one of the stars of the World U20 Championships team, Queensland steeplechase Bri Erbacher. NSW again had three in the top-9 but unfortunately this time they lost the team title on countback to Victoria. In the 10 years boys NSW’s Matthew McLachlan won a close battle with Victoria Bart Leeton.
NSW were strong in the junior para events, claiming three titles.
In the 10/12 years girls 2km para event Charlize Tran, a T37 athlete, won the gold medal, leading home a team title win. In the under-16 3km event, William Clifton was the winner and in the under-20 girls, a regular on the podium at national championships. Belinda Scott (ASW) was the gold medallist by 32 seconds over Queensland’s Jessie Venner.
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia
Image: Tyler Jones on the way to victory in the open Australian 20km walk (image courtesy of Rob Cumbrae-Stewart)