ACT Athletes Steal the Show at 3000m Championships
ACT athletes proved too good for their New South Wales counterparts at the NSW 3000m Championships, with Lisa Corrigan and Martin Dent taking out the races in quality early season times.
A team running effort from ACT athletes Lisa Corrigan and Emily Brichacek lead to a consistent fast pace in the women’s race, held in near perfect conditions. With Australian World Cross Country representative Emma Rilen not competing due to a recent bout of pneumonia, the duo were in a class of their own. Exchanging the lead on a lap by lap basis, Corrigan and Brichacek ran together until the last lap where Corrigan, a 1500 metre finalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, used her superior finishing speed to break away to win in a personal best time of 9:00.39. Brichacek, running for Randwick-Botany Harriers, took out the NSW title in a time of 9:06.41, a personal best and a qualifying time for the 2007 World Youth Championships.
Commenting after the race, Corrigan and Brichacek discussed their pre race plan to share laps, with Corrigan stating, “I’m running 3000m at this stage of the season to prepare myself for Chiba and also to help Emily out. I haven’t started to do any speed work yet.” Brichacek, 16, stated, “I was trying to break the Australian U18 3000m record held by Eloise Wellings [9:02.11]. It is definitely one of my main goals for the season.”
The pair will now turn their sights to their next major races, with Corrigan to run a 5km leg for the Australian team at the Chiba International Ekiden, while Brichacek is looking forward to competing in the Australian All Schools Track and Field Championships in December, where she will run the 1500m and 3000m.
Finishing in the minor medals for the NSW title were talented juniors Lexy Gilmour (Sutherland) and Claire Doyle (Randwick-Botany Harriers). Gilmour, in her debut over 3000m, ran a controlled race in what were lonely conditions as she found herself in between the leading duo of Corrigan and Brichacek and a trailing pack of 6 athletes who would fight out the bronze medal. Gilmore finished in a time of 9:44.05, while 15 year old Doyle prevailed in a sprint finish over Chloe Tighe (Campbelltown) to win her first Open State medal.
Another noteworthy performance was the front running win in the ‘B’ race, where 14 year old Celia Sullohearn (Blue Mountains) bettered her previous personal best by over 40 seconds to win in a time of 9:58.99.
The Men’s event produced some high calibre racing, even though the time fell short of breaking 8 minutes. In slightly less ideal conditions than the Women’s race, Martin Dent (ACT) took the early lead, passing through the first kilometre in 2:46 with a large pack in toe. Just after the one kilometre mark, Dent put in a surge that was initially only covered by Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist Jeremy Roff (Randwick-Botany Harriers) and his young training partner Brad Woods (Randwick-Botany Harriers). Little changed as the halfway mark was passed in 4:05. Just before the end of the second kilometre Woods dropped off the pace slightly and was overtaken by 3 time NSW Steeplechase Champion Jeff Hunt (Randwick-Botany Harriers), who quickly made up ground to sit behind Dent and Roff.
Just after the bell tolled for the final lap, Roff surged to the lead, dropping Hunt in the process but with Dent still closely on his heels. The pair entered the straight together and Dent gradually drew away to win by less than half a second in 8:04.59. Roff finished in 8:05.15. Commenting after the race Roff stated, “The plan was to go a lap out and I guess it ended up being a bit early. It’s the right time of the season to try some different tactics.”
Dent, who plans to attempt to qualify for next year’s World Championships in the 3000m Steeplechase was happy with his win. “I was controlling the pace and knew that I had to keep it honest. I ran a really good final two kilometers. With the wind I didn’t want to try to run a PB, I was happy to get through the first few laps without doing much damage.”
Roff was awarded the NSW title, while Randwick-Botany team mates Jeff Hunt and Brad Woods made it a trifecta for the club, finishing 2nd and 3rd in the NSW Championship, both in personal best times (8:11.14 and 8:13.69). Splitting the pair across the line was perennial National 1500m finalist Philo Saunders (ACT), who also produced a personal best (8:12.51).
As with the Women’s race, a number of breakthrough personal bests were recorded by talented juniors. James Matthews (St George), Ben Guest (Gosford) and Ryan Gregson (Kembla Joggers) all finished in times of under 8:25 and will form a strong contingent of NSW athletes who will head south to compete in the Junior 3000m race at the Zatopek Classic in Melbourne in mid December.