27 August 2017
Victorian’s take national cross titles as Goddard finishes on the podium
On a warm winter’s day on the NSW South Coast, Victorian pair Andrew Buchanan and Alex Paterson have claimed the 71st and 58th men’s and women’s 10km Australian cross country titles. It has been eight years since NSW hosted the national cross country titles, and Kembla Joggers were the perfect hosts on their purpose-built cross country venue in Wollongong.
The men’s race was very open with Jack Rayner the sight favourite.
“Jack has been in really good form I knew there were about 10 blokes if any of them had a good run, who knows what they could do. Hopefully it was exciting for everyone not knowing who would win,” said eventual winner Andrew Buchanan.
From the gun a large pack of over 12 athletes snaked their way around the course, but the move came at the bell – around the 4km mark.
“My coach Scott Westcott said see if you can make a break with a lap to go. I did and then was running on that front running adrenaline feeling. Earlier I found it a bit tough with a few tight corners, but later in the race I knew what to expect. I didn’t put in a bust, just went to the front and tried to keep going and going but managed to wear everybody down and then I got a gap and then was running scared.”
Buchanan crossed the line in 30:30, ahead of NSW’s Ed Goddard and Victorian Harry Smithers.
The form local athlete this winter has been the Nick Bromley-coached Ed Goddard who has taken the NSW short course title and was second in the state cross country to world championships marathoner Brad Milosevic.
Goddard was in the lead early and remained in contention throughout.
“I took it out early and tried to lead it and looking around everybody were still there so I tried to chuck in a few surges around the bends, that worked a little bit but they were still there. Going into the last lap Andy Buchanan took the lead and he stretched it out. I tried to go with him. I was surprise we dropped some big dogs. It was tough around the back but as soon as I got a sniff of a medal I was going for it.”
He had a positive mindset and was really enjoying the race.
“I was thinking this is probably the most fun I have ever had in a race. I had followed my race plan well so I wanted to enjoy this last lap.”
Coached by Newcastle-based Scott Westcott, Andrew Buchanan trains largely by correspondence.
“It is a bit tough at times as you see these large training squads of 10 or 12 but I have a good group of guys to train with in Bendigo. Scott puts in a lot of time multiple text messages and calls and I’m glad he came down today as I have not seen him since Gold Coast last year.”
A high school teacher at Bendigo South East in Victoria, Buchanan works in the school’s sports program and brought one of the students to race at the national cross country. He drove from Bendigo on Friday, with the school allowing him the day off.
The women’s event was dominated by a run-away win from Victoria Alex Paterson, crossing the line a minute ahead of her competition.
“I had a really great run today,” she said. “My only thought going into the race was not to get dropped at the start. I knew it was flat so I was going to try and go out hard and build into it. And try to finish strong.”
The Tim O'Shaughnessy-coached athlete, will meet with her coach to consider her summer program.
“I’m planning to do some track, but was aiming to get through today and I will go back home and replan for summer.”
Paterson clocked 34:43 with Canberra’s Leanne Pompeani (35:53) second. She had earlier in the year won the NSW state cross country at Nowra. A strong finish brought Sydney’s Elese Gallen (36:18) into the bronze position.
As she made up many places over the later part of the course and was unsure of what her position was.
“When they said ‘third’ I was not sure they were saying ‘I needed to catch third or I was third’. I was worried Angela Leadbetter always has a good finish.”
The good news was she just secured third from Victorian Sophie Ryan (11 second behind) and Newcastle’s Angela Leadbeatter (14 second behind).
“I was not feeling great to start with but as I started to pick off a few people I got into a rhythm and was thinking ‘it is going alright’ I felt strong in that last lap once I got into a rhythm.”
Gallen picked up many places on the last lap to reach the podium.
“A few dropped off and it gives you that motivation to run on.”
A talented junior, she is one of the success stories; not just competing as a senior but very competitive. But it is largely due to her training environment in the James ‘Jimbo’ Fitzgerald squad.
“Having Milly (Clark) for guidance has been really good and also Jenny (Blundell) for support. The network is great. This morning they were all messaging good luck. Nice to know they were thinking about me. It is an awesome squad and I love training with them.”
Host club, Kembla Joggers, led by President Neil Barnett, did a magnificent conducting the event.
“It was a fantastic success from start to finish,” said Barnett. “People were very impressed by the course and the conditions were as good as you can get. The course was in such good shape we had a course record in most of the events and the feedback has been very positive so we are over joyed by how it went.”
Behind Barnett is a large team of volunteers.
“A core group of six to eight are on the local organising committee, but behind the scenes today are about 40 to 50 volunteers marshalling or working on the canteen and not forgetting the journey to get here where we have had dozens and dozens of people who have helped bring this course (and clubhouse) to the point it is here today - which is capable of hosting a national championship. Literally over 100 people have made this event what is was today.”
Further details from the event. Some to be added progressively: results, event reviews, video and images.
Junior reviews to follow.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Leading NSW’s Ed Goddard. Vic (496) Andy Buchanan, SA (478) Max Stevens, Vic (599) William Potter (image courtesy of David Tarbotton