Injury free Gregson eyes world championships final

Off the back of an injury free domestic season Australian 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson heads to the northern hemisphere full of confidence as he targets a spot in the world championships final this August in Beijing.

“Hopefully by the end of August when the world championships roll around I’m still healthy and, the big game is to make the final, that’s my number one goal for this season and I think I’ll be able to do it, Gregson said.”

Having recently relocated to Melbourne and under the guidance of Melbourne Track Club coach Nic Bideau, Gregson will start his international campaign at this weekend’s IAAF world relays in the Bahamas as a member of the distance medley relay team; alongside Ballarat cross country relay teammate Collis Birmingham.

“It was a fun trip last year, we came fourth in the 4x800m and 4x1500m, we just missed medals last time, this year it’s a 4x800m, not sure I’m running that one, but, I’m definitely running the DMR, the distance medley relay on the Sunday and, we have pretty strong teams again.”

“Australia – even though the last few years we haven’t been around the medals at the world championships and Olympics, we’ve got pretty good depth in distance running, so that’s why we do so well and, we got two fourth places last year so hopefully we get around there again and who knows, could scrape a bronze medal, Gregson said.”

For the first time in a number of years Gregson has enjoyed a block of injury free training and preparation for the increased competition program over the next couple of months leading up to the world championships.

“It has probably taken me longer to try and get to this level as I’m running a lot less, about 110 to 120km a week, when I was younger I was running a lot more. I pretty much had five years of injuries where I was cross training more then I was actually running.”

“Now I’ve had about four months injury free and running at a level that’s not an incredible amount of training but it seems to be achievable and I’ve been able to be reasonably consistent.”

After a strong showing at Athletics Victoria’s opening XCR’15 round at Jells Park as a member of the Ballarat winning relay team, Gregson will use races in the USA and Europe to qualify and prepare for the world championships.

“I’ll do a couple of mile races, the Prefontaine Classic and then go to Europe and do the mile race in Oslo at the Diamond League there. This year you can qualify off the mile, so it’s about 3.53 and half which is equivalent to that 3.36.20.”

“I ran well in Sydney, 3.36 point five, it’s one of the quickest I’ve ever run this early in the season, so usually I get better and better and, hopefully by July I’ll really be hitting my straps and at Jells Park showed I’m strong and, hopefully keep moving forward with no injuries and I’ll be ok, Gregson said.”

For all the latest news from the IAAF World Relays check out

Birmingham on track for Beijing and Rio goals

2012 London Olympian Collis Birmingham started his campaign towards this year’s Beijing world championships and Rio 2016 Olympic Games at XCR’15 round one as a member of Ballarat’s winning relay team earlier this month.

Birmingham returned to Jells Park for the first time in eight years to line up in Ballarat’s star studded team that included Australian 5000m and 10000m champion Brett Robinson, Sydney Track Classic 1500m winner Ryan Gregson and distance running legend Steve Moneghetti.

“It’s always good to get the win, but, mostly for us it was great to be competing in this type of event again, Birmingham said.”

This weekend’s IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas will kick start Birmingham’s 2015 international season, the 2013 Australian 10000m champion has had an injury interrupted start to 2015 and  will join fellow Ballarat teammate Gregson and Victorian’s Luke Mathews, Timas Harik and Jordan Williamsz as members of the 4x800m/distance medley squad.

Williamsz will head to the Bahamas on a high after outkicking Oregon’s Edward Cheserek in the men’s 4xMile relay at Penn Relays this weekend, clocking a final lap of 52 seconds to record a famous victory for Villanova University.

“I do enjoy the relays, it’s an added bonus it’s in the Bahamas, we did well there last year, we got the Australian record for the 4x1500m, this year it has changed to the distance medley and looks like I’ll probably run the mile leg, Ryan (Gregson) on the 1200m and Jordy Williamsz another Victorian athlete will be on the 800m leg, Birmingham said.”

The IAAF World Relays has become a popular competition with athletes and is highlighted by the inclusion of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt lining up for Jamaica this year. The event also provides direct qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It comes down to nations supporting it, in the past we have had situations where certain nations haven’t supported events the IAAF have put on and world cross country has been one of those in the last few years, the importance you put on an event, that’s what makes it.”

“If you keep on supporting it and build up a history then people will want to go there, certainly last year it was good for the Bahamas, Bolts (Usain) competing this year, so it should be even better, Birmingham said.”

Birmingham’s focus post the world relays will be on qualifying for the world championships in Beijing later this year.

“It’s the main goal, obviously getting back into it a little bit, it was a good hit out (XCR’15 Round 1) and I think I’m going pretty well, it’s hard to put a number on what I might run, 13:23.00 is the time and I would like to think I could do that before Beijing and, if I’m one of the three guys picked for the 5000m that would be great.”

With Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifying times coming out this month Birmingham will be focused on selection for his second Australian Olympic team.

“If I run the time for Beijing it’s the time for Rio, so that’s been noted and obviously I want to get back to the Olympic Games again, Rio has been a goal for a little while so I’ll just keep on working towards that, Birmingham said.”

For all the latest news from the IAAF World Relays check out

2014/15 AV Summer Season Survey

WIN 1 of 5 2015-16 Athletics Victoria memberships by completing the 2014-15 AV Summer Season Review Survey.

To be eligible for the prizes you will have to provide a name and contact details. Those already with AV memberships will have them refunded.

To continue developing and providing the best possible competition Athletics Victoria would like your feedback in this short survey that will take no more then 5-10 minutes.

All responses are kept confidential and no individual results will be published.

#XCR15 – Round 1 – Jells Park recap

Watch the highlights from XCR’15 Round 1 at Jells Park on Saturday 18 April courtesy of athsvicTV.

Photos from the Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships are available on our Facebook Page.

#XCR15 – AV winter season starts with record numbers

Athletics Victoria’s winter season kicked off with a record 1,182 participating athletes at Jells Park for the Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships on Saturday 18 April.

Surpassing XCR’14 Tan Relays by 72 athletes it makes it the largest ever XCR event conducted by Athletics Victoria. The biggest jump in numbers was in the junior female section, 139 competitors, an increase of 44.7% on last years event.

A number of Australia’s track stars including Collis Birmingham, Brett Robinson, Jeff Riseley and Ryan Gregson used Saturday’s event as a final hit out before heading overseas for the North American and European seasons.

Distance running legend Steve Moneghetti still showed he had plenty to offer in the open men’s category; helping Ballarat region to a comfortable victory in a combined time of one hour, 49 minutes, 55 seconds. The fastest time at Jells Park since 2010.

Next up on the XCR’15 calendar is a trip to Lardner Park on Saturday 9 May for the first individual cross country event of the 2015 season.

Last year Ballarat’s Duer Yoa and Box Hill’s Courtney Powell claimed line honours in the open divisions. Both with commanding victories across the 8km and 4km courses.

Entries for XCR’15 Round 2 – Lardner Park close at 12:00pm (midday) on Wednesday 6 May via the Event Page.

The easiest way to enter XCR’15 is with a Series ticket. Save time and money by purchasing through the AV website today here.

Officials Exchange Program

By Michael Lindstrom, Peter Westwood and Sally Hockey

Three Victorian Officials – Sally, Peter and Michael, were selected to participate in the official’s exchange program between ANSW and Athletics Victoria. We all met up at Sydney Airport on Friday evening 6 February with Sally flying in from Avalon, while Peter and Michael arrived from Tullamarine.

A rental car had been organised to transport us and so our first challenge was to find our way to Sydney Olympic Park. Michael had done his research on google maps and was therefore our nominated driver. So with the help of the car rental assistant and Michael’s googlemaps we were on our way.

We arrived at the hotel about 8.30pm and while checking in and been advised that on Saturday we would be sharing Sydney Olympic Park with NSW Rugby league fans attending the Charity Shield game at ANZ Stadium, followed by an all-night rave party and then the “Colourrun” early on Sunday morning, we decide on an early night in preparation for why we really came to Sydney – the NSW Junior Athletic Championships.

Next morning we walked over to the track, where we were met at the gate by Kim Owen, who was the Competition Manager for the weekend and  one of the NSW Officials Anne Grimm, who would be coming to Melbourne the following weekend for our Junior Championships.

We were taken into the Officials room and introduced to several of the NSW Officials. There were a few familiar faces with Officials who had previously been to Melbourne for AA meets and the National Championships. The morning briefing took place at 7.45am and outlined the day’s competition. We were formally introduced and made to feel welcome by everyone.

We did notice a special emphasis in the briefing to those Officials who were doing their “practical” qualification. There was a strong recommendation to those Officials to advise their event Chief or Referee prior to competition commencing that they would require sign off of their grading cards. From an outsider, the NSW Officials made a big thing of Officials completing their Grading exams and the practical requirements. In NSW only B grade Officials are allocated an event Chief role.

So for our first day we were allocated a range of events – Sally was on Throws, Michael on Horizontal Jumps and Peter ended up on High Jump, Shot put and then Triple Jump. It was a long day that finished around 7.30pm.

The weather was kind on day one although day two proved more challenging with temperatures in the mid to high 30s. Both days had favourable tail winds on the front straight and a number of performances reflected the good conditions.

We are spoilt at Lakeside with our Victorian Officials getting water delivered to the event sites – In Sydney Officials must take their own water bottle with no top up during the event.

It was also interesting to note that there was no call room operating, no club helpers and only athletes and Officials were on the ground. There was also a lack of tent structures at each site for Officials and athletes which made it tough for everyone as the temperature increased.

Day 2 and after enduring the all night rave music and dodging the “colour run” athletes at breakfast, we headed back to the track where we expected another hot day with forecast high temperature in the high 30s

Peter had an early start as Chief on the Pole Vault whilst Sally and Michael were again on Throws and Horizontal jumps.

We came together for our last event – a Triple Jump on Sunday afternoon before retracing our steps back to Melbourne. Unfortunately Michael and Peter had to endure a 90min delay on their flight that made their weekend even longer by the time they arrived back home in Melbourne..

Our weekend was full on, eventful and overall a great experience.

We made several observations including:

  • The measuring tapes used in Sydney are also prone to break as we witnessed in the TJ event –  an athlete’s trail measurement was delayed for over 5 minutes with Peter having to remain rock steady with the spike in the sand pit whilst a replacement tape was found and delivered to the event site;
  • Plasticine boards were used for all horizontal jumps but as the temperature increased the plasticine melted and was impossible to smooth out in hot weather  – no such problem in Melbourne weather;
  • Experienced Officials required for TJ and PV recording to deal with the different set up for athlete trials. The PV in Sydney required a mentor to sit alongside a novice official;
  • PV event was a single combined event for all male groupings on the Sunday – only 12 athletes;
  • Communication between the Referee , event Chief and event Officials should at all times be carried out in a calm and reassuring manner and not criticism;
  • More emphasis on Officials undertaking their duties in a proper manner;
  • No Call Room for athletes – athletes just turned up in time for warm up and competition start;
  • Event programming seemed staggered sufficiently to allow several 10 min breaks between event finish and athletes arriving for the next event, although his could be due to lower athlete numbers in each event;
  • AV Catering and water supplies for Officials are the best.

Generally events were run the same as here in Victoria although there was a strong emphasis on the right way to officiate, but in summary we all follow the same rule book and we are all there to assist the athletes by creating the best environment for them to perform to their best

Overall, this is a great initiative and will provide participating Officials with an opportunity to experience a different venue, witness and share a different approach, test yourself in unfamiliar surroundings and working with fellow officials, form friendships and to gain respect for the role that Officials play in our sport.

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With the start of XCR15 just around the corner, it is important that officials understand the role of the electronic chip or transponder.

Athletics Victoria has been using transponders, attached to the athletes’ shoes, during the XCR season for a few years now. They are very common now in fun runs and triathlons. Interestingly, fun runs eg Mothers Day Classic and Run 4 the Kids, now use a disposable transponder attached to the competitor’s bib number.

The question that is often asked, does the transponder ‘place’ the athletes or merely record a time? And this is where the MYTH surfaces!

IAAF Rules 165.24 and 165.25 – Transponder System

Transponder systems may be used for out of stadia events eg race walking not held completely in a stadium, road races and cross country. These rules very clearly indicate a few important things that need to be observed:

  1. The equipment can’t be a barrier or impede the progress of an athlete
  2. The weight of the transponder is not significant
  3. The system is started by the Starter’s gun or synchronised with a start signal
  4. Times are rounded to the next longer whole second

AND 165.24 (f) Whilst determination of the finishing order and times may be considered official, Rules 164.2 and 165.2 may be applied where necessary. It is recommended that judges and/or video recording are provided to assist in determining the finishing order. This becomes critical especially with transponders attached to an athlete’s shoe.

Both IAAF Rules 164.2 and 165.2 refer to athletes being placed in order and timed when any part of their bodies (ie torso, as distinguished from the head, neck, arms, legs, hands or feet) reaches the vertical plane of the nearer edge of the finish line. Whether on the track or out at Cross Country, these rules apply to all races.

At present, athletes who compete in XCR have their transponder attached to their shoe. It is quite possible that their foot may cross the finish line ahead of their chest. This is where the confusion lies. The athlete may receive one finishing order from the transponder recorder, but actually be placed in another finishing order, according to rule 164.2, in the official results. Rule 164.2 will always prevail!

With the refinement of transponder systems and the advent of disposable transponders attached to competitor bib numbers, the instances of the situation described above is significantly reduced. As long as the athlete wears the bib on their chest, their place and time should be very accurate.

Finally, just with a Photo Finish system, a Chief Transponder Timing Judge should be appointed. This person takes responsibility for the functioning of the system and has similar responsibilities to a Photo Finish Chief Judge

XCR’15 – Women’s Preview

XCR’15 kicks off this Saturday 18 at Jells Park for the 2015 Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships; and here is a quick look at the women’s teams who should make a big impact in 2015.


Australia’s largest and most successful cross country club heads into round 1 with a similar line up to the team that took out the Premier Division title in XCR’14.  Tarli Bird is on the comeback trail after her Japanese marathon in March, while Karinna Fyfe steps back into racing after a relatively quiet track and field season.

The big improver from 2014, Amelia Aslanides will also take her place in the team and is looking for some big performances in 2015 while team captain Cassie Higham comes off a great summer season to add some speed to the team.

Depth will be no problem once again at Glenhuntly as the club boasts the one of the highest numbers of senior females in the competition.

Box Hill:

Reigning Australian and Oceania Cross Country champion Courtney Powell is likely to lead out the Box Hill team that will include the evergreen Julie Norney and youngsters Grace Brown and Georgie Meehan.

Powell performed well in tough conditions at the world cross country championships in China recently, so should find the Jells Park course to her liking.

Hayley Tomlinson continues her return to top level racing and is likely to be a strong presence within the team throughout XCR’15.

South Melbourne:

Hopeful of a spot on the Beijing world championships marathon team, Sinead Diver steps out for her first serious race since the Melbourne Marathon where she ran a remarkable 2:34 on debut.

The XCR’14 Individual Women’s Champion will be well supported in XCR’15 with team mate Bronwyn Humphrys showing great form winning the Two Bays 28k Trail Race.

English duo Deb Niccol and Jo Ritson add further depth to the South Melbourne team which is expected to excel as the longer road races appear later in the season.

Geelong Region:

Geelong is hoping to continue on from their last round victory over Glenhuntly at the Tan relays with a strong start at Jells Park.

With track runners Coreena Cleland, Claudia Verstraten, Cara Peake and Eliza Curnow in the starting line up speed will be no issue, but will the deceptively challenging cross country course bring them back to the pack?

Ellie O’Kane, the only recognised endurance runner in the squad, won the Geelong Half Marathon last weekend so may come into round one a little leg weary but her fighting qualities are never in doubt.

Melbourne University:

Amanda Paulin comes off another good track season to take on the number one position for the University team.

Adept at both track and cross country, Paulin will look to team mate and fellow 1500m specialist Ellen Schaef as back up as the Uni girls look to improve on their 6th place finish to the XCR’14 season.

XCR’15 event information can be found here:

Sydney 10 – Elite Athlete Support Program

Athletics NSW is able to support elite/developing athletes to run the Sydney:10. Up to three current AV members will receive funding support – Please email if you’re wishing to compete in Sydney on Saturday 2 May 2015 and you’re a sub 30:30 men or sub 35:00 women to gain athlete support before this Thursday 16 April.

Please provide:

Contact Details
Season Best
Personal Best

The summary of ANSW support that divided amongst all invited athletes is;

Flight/Travel Reimbursement
Maximum of $200 per athlete

Athletes in twin share accommodation

Elite Entry
All supported athletes will receive FREE entry

Ground Transport
All invited athletes will receive ground transport

For further details email or call AV on 03 8646 4500.

Victoria’s best set to take on the world

In a busy period for national selectors a number of Victorian athletes have been selected for Australian teams over the past week:

2015 IAAF World Championships – Beijing, China (22-30 August 2015)

800m: Jeff Riseley (Vic), Alex Rowe (Vic)
High jump: Joel Baden (Vic)
20km walk: Jared Tallent (Vic)
50km walk: Chris Erickson (Vic), Jared Tallent (Vic)

High jump: Eleanor Patterson (Vic)
Long jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell (Vic)

IPC World Athletics Championships -Doha, Qatar  (22-31 October 2015)

The team will be confirmed at the Final Selection Meeting to be held after the close of the qualification period in the week commencing 31 August 2015.

XXVIII Summer Universiade – Gwangju, South Korea (3-14 July 2015)

800m: Timas Harik (Melbourne Polytechnic Institute of Tafe, Vic),
5000m: Stewart McSweyn (La Trobe University, Vic)
Decathlon: David Brock (RMIT, Vic)
4x400m relay: Alexander Carew (Deakin University, Vic) Deluca Lawson-Matthew (University of Melbourne, Vic)

100m: Ashleigh Whittaker (Deakin University, Vic)
200m: Ashleigh Whittaker (Deakin University, Vic)

Oceania Area Championships – Cairns (8-10 May 2015)

400m: Jayden Barnaby
110m hurdles: Matthew Harcourt (U18)
400m hurdles: Matthew Harcourt (U18), 

400m: Caroline Higham (U18),
800m: Maxine Paholek (U18)
1500m: Maxine Paholek (U18)
2000m steeplechase: Maxine Paholek (U18)
3000m steeplechase: Coreena Cleland

IAAF World Relays – Nassau, Bahamas (2-3 May 2015)

4x400m Relay: 
Jess Gulli (Vic), Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
4x800m Relay/Distance Medley Relay: Zoe Buckman (Vic), Abbey de la Motte (Vic), Melissa Duncan (Vic), Kelly Hetherington (Vic), Katherine Katsanevakis (Vic)
4x100m Relay: Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic)

4x800m Relay/Distance Medley Relay: 
Collis Birmingham (Vic), Timas Harik (Vic), Luke Mathews (Vic), Jordan Williamsz (Vic)
4x400m Relay: Iain Douglas (Vic), Luke Stevens (Vic), Sam Baird (Vic)

Commonwealth Youth Games – Apia, Samoa (5-11 September 2015)

1500m: Xavier Smith (VIC)
400m Hurdles: Harrison Kimpton-Moss (VIC)
Long Jump: Thomas Wilson (VIC)

100m: Nana-Adoma Owusu-Afriyie (VIC)
Long Jump: Billie Arch (VIC)
Discus: Bianca Hansen (VIC)

Ballarat trio Birmingham, Gregson and Robinson headline XCR’15 round one teams

Three of Australia’s best runners Collis Birmingham, Ryan Gregson and Brett Robinson headline a class Ballarat team for the first round of Athletics Victoria’s XCR’15 winter series this Saturday 18 at Jells Park, Wheelers Hill.

2014 Zatopek:10 winner Robinson has been the pick of the middle distance runners in 2015 finishing 28th in a tough grind at the recent world cross country championships in Guiyang, China.

Robinson was a cut above in the 10,000m event last December and continued his strong form across the domestic season at the 5,000m distance; claiming the national title in 13:32.54 at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge at Lakeside Stadium last month.

No stranger to XCR racing, Birmingham will have his first competitive hit out after a restricted start to 2015 due to injury. There is no doubting the Ballarat based athlete’s credentials off the track after his eighth place finish at the 2013 world cross country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

For the first time 2012 London Olympian Gregson will get a taste of an XCR competition since making Victoria his training base under the guidance of Nic Bideau. Fellow Eureka athlete Stewart McSweyn, a junior member of the 2013 Australian world cross country team in Poland; that included Birmingham and Robinson will add serious depth to the men’s open favourites’ line up after his 5,000m 13:55.73 personal best and world university qualifying time in Melbourne last month.

Last year’s open men winners Geelong will once again be in the mix for a top three finish with the likes of Nick Wightman, Isaac Hockey, Brenton Rowe and Reily Shaw along with Box Hill who will be led by 2013 XCR Series winner Steve Kelly and XCR regular Stephen Dinneen all set to race this weekend.

Athletics Essendon will be spearheaded by Australian world cross country representatives Liam Adams and Mitchel Brown.

Continuing the Ballarat theme, distance running legend Steve Moneghetti will don the regions colours in the men’s over 50 category.

And, justifying its tag as Australia’s premier winter series; the opening round of XCR’15 has attracted over 300 club relay teams for the 2015 Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships.

The challenging and undulating 3km course traverses both open grassland and dense pine forest, with open and overage competitors completing two laps per leg and junior competitors’ one lap per leg.

Key Information:

When: Saturday 18 April, 2015
Where: Waverley Rd, Wheelers Hill (entry Waverley Rd or Ferntree Gully Rd) – Google Map
Time: Racing starts – 12:30pm
Event webpage:
XCR’15 Season Guide
Social Media: @athsvic | #XCR15


Call out to Clubs: Jells Park entries closes 12pm Monday 13

Has your club entered next weekends cross country relay championships at Jells Park?

Clubs MUST enter teams before 12:00pm midday tomorrow (Monday 13 April).

Event & entry information here:

Any issues entering please contact the AV team on 03 8646 4500 for assistance tomorrow before 12:00pm.