31 March 2019
Campbell and Carey outstanding at the World Cross Country Championships
No doubt inspired by the recent announcement that Australia will host the next edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, the Australians have recorded their best team result in 10 years at the championships. The open women’s team, which included two NSW athletes were fifth in the race – the highest place by any Australian team since 2008. In the junior race, Lauren Carey, 15, placed a brilliant 16th the highest place by Aussie for 10 years in this event.
The first Aussies to test out the course were the under-20 women, in their 6km event. Sarah Schiffmann (MQH), aged 15 and the second youngest Australian in history to run at the world cross country joined the Africans at the head of the field. She later explained.
“They (the Africans) didn’t star fast at all. They waited until they got a group together then they took off. And I think I went a bit quick at the start, but it was a really good experience.”
After the first lap, Schiffmann and Lauren Carey (SDG) were in about 30th place, 10 seconds behind the leaders. By lap two Carey was really moving up, now 16th, while Schiffmann paid for the early pace, was now in the mid-40s. Carey maintained her position to the finish where the 15 athletes ahead of her comprising two Japanese and 13 Africans.
“I’m so happy, it was the best feeling out there,” said Carey. “So many people were supporting and if they didn’t know who you were, were still calling out ‘go Australia, go Carey’ reading the last name on your bib.”
Schiffmann ran home strong picking up a few places, placing 42nd.
We have to go back to Emily Brichacek’s 11th in 2009 to find a better result by an Aussie in this race.
In the team’s result they placed eighth (168 points) just behind Great Britain but ahead of France and China.
U20 women 6km results:
16th Lauren Carey N 22:02 - Highest place by an Aussie for 10 years
42nd Sarah Schiffmann N 23:11
In the men’s U20 race trials winner Jackson Sharp (Run Crew), started conservatively, passing the first lap in around 70th place. Over the next lap he motored up to 34th. On lap four, the progress continued, now up to 31st , however over the last lap, he drifted out to 36th for an outstanding final result.
The team was ninth (187 points) and like the women just behind the Brits. They were also ahead of France and Canada.
U20 men 8km results:
36th Jackson Sharp N 26:33
78th Oli Raimond (SUT) N 27:55
5 Liam Gorman (UTN) N DNF
One of the big improvers this summer, Paige Campbell (SYU), followed her usual pattern of starting conservatively and was in 57th place after the first lap, but she ran home strongly to place 29th, just five seconds behind team mate Melissa Duncan. NSW’s other athlete Marnie Ponton (BAN) placed an excellent 44th and was the fourth Aussie home.
Combined they placed fifth in the teams event, just edged by Great Britain 132 to 134 points. The top-3 were Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Australia easily accounted for USA, Canada, France, Spain and Japan.
First Aussie Melissa Duncan (VIC) was not surprised with the great team result which was the best for over a decade.
“All week the whole Australian team responded really well very supportive of one another. We have a really good vibe throughout the team and that really helped because we wanted to help each other get through. Six of us are all best friends which is really nice. We didn’t know each other before this trip but we have got on really well and that team camaraderie has helped us do really well.”
Open women 10km results:
29th Paige Campbell N 38:52
44th Marnie Ponton N 39:43
Examining the overall results by the team, you are left with the confidence Australia will be able to secure a medal or two in Bathurst in two years from now.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Lauren Carey (image courtesy of Emmie Collinge & Phil Gale)