Big V senior XC team announced

Athletics Victoria is pleased to announce the Big V senior team of 12 athletes and 4 emergencies for the Australian Cross Country Championships on Saturday 29 August at Moonee Valley Race Course in Melbourne.

Frankston athlete and 2015 world cross country representative Gemma Maini will captain the women’s team while 2014 Australian cross country medalist Nicholas Wightman will head up the men’s team.

In the women’s ranks Sarah Waters and Alexandra Paterson will make their senior debuts at a national cross country championship. For the men, Box Hill’s William Potter and Eureka athlete Stewart McSweyn will make their first senior Victorian cross country team.

More information on the championships will be released in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions regarding the team please email or call (03) 8646 4500.

Female Team
Team Gemma Maini Frankston (Captain)
Team Karinna Fyfe Glenhuntly
Team Sarah Waters Deakin
Team Tracey Austin Malvern Harriers
Team Alexandra Paterson Old Xaverians
Team Courtney Powell Box Hill
Reserve Virginia Moloney Collingwood Harriers Athletic Club
Reserve Amelia Aslanides Glenhuntly
Male Team
Team Nicholas Wightman Deakin (Captain)
Team Toby Rayner Glenhuntly
Team Steve Kelly Box Hill Athletic Club
Team William Potter Box Hill AC
Team Duer Yoa Eureka Athletics Club
Team Stewart McSweyn Eureka athletics club
Reserve Nicholas van Raaphorst Ballarat YCW Harriers
Reserve Ryan Geard Athletics Essendon

World championships hub launched

Athletics Australia is proud to launch the new look as we celebrate the upcoming season of major international championships.

Set to become the home of athletics, the website is your one-stop shop for coverage of our Australian teams travelling to compete at the IAAF World Youth Championships, the IPC Athletics World Championships and the IAAF World Championships, as well as the upcoming World University Games and Commonwealth Youth Games.

Published content has been designed to provide you, the athletics community, with access to what’s happening on the world stage. There are direct links to championship websites for entry lists, live results and statistics, profiling information on teams that travel under the banner of Athletics Australia and information on upcoming instalments of the IAAF Diamond League.

The dedicated news stream will provide fans of the sport with continued updates on competition outcomes for our charges across the globe and from next week you will find a new section to be filled with downloads that will make your championship experience as a fan as convenient as possible.

Excitingly for the athletics community, we also want you to join the conversation about what’s happening in your athletics world by using the hashtag:


A social media wall featuring the best content from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will commence on next week, with featured posts to include everything from fans enjoying the events from the comfort of their couch to athletes battling through a hard winter of training.

Our success on the world stage should be shared with all those that participate in our sport.

Whether you send a shout out to your favourite athlete, or share your own athletics journey in training or at competition, we want to hear from you as regularly as possible. Get involved and join the conversation!

The coming months present the athletics community with a great opportunity to celebrate the many successes that hundreds, if not thousands, of people have contributed to making a reality.

We can’t wait to share the experience with you all, and look forward to hearing from you as we celebrate the greatest sport in the world on some of the grandest stages for competition available.

Powell powers home at Albert Park

2014 Australian cross country champion Courtney Powell dominated Athletics Victoria’s XCR’15 round five 10kilometre women’s road race at Albert Park today; to win in a personal best time of 32 minutes 33 seconds.

In near perfect racing conditions on the typically windy Albert Park course Powell led from start to finish in her first XCR’15 hit out for 2015.

“Thrilled with a win at XCR Albert Park 10km and a big PB! Well done to everyone who competed,” Powell instagramed post-race.

Powell improved on her Launceston Ten finishing time of 33 minutes 56 seconds from two weeks ago where the Box Hill athlete finished third behind London Olympians Eloise Wellings and Jess Trengove.

Frankston Athletics Gemma Maini (33:50) and Glenhuntly Athletics Karinna Fyfe (33:56) rounded out the top three open women’s category.

In a sprint finish Essendon’s Mitchel Brown kicked with 150 metres to claim his first XCR victory since taking line honours in the 2013 edition in a time 30 minutes and one second ahead of XCR’15 individual leader Nicolas Wightman (30:03) and Box Hill’s Stephen Kelly (30:10).

Diamond Valley’s Jaryd Clifford (32:25) was the standout in the under 18 boys category with a strong performance across the 10-kilometre course finishing ahead of Frankston Athletics Luke Burns (33:04) and Glenhuntly Athletics Samuel Toll (33:07)

World youth championship bound 3000 metres athlete Amelia Mazza-Downie returned to XCR’15 action after missing the Victorian cross country championships at Bundoora Park two weeks ago due to pre-departure camp in Brisbane to win the under 18 girls three kilometres event in nine minutes and 44 seconds.

Fellow Athletics Essendon athlete Lauren Ryan claimed second in nine minutes and 51 seconds with Doncaster Athletics Charlotte Bassett rounding out the podium in a time of nine minutes and 53 seconds.

Full results:

2014-15 Summer Survey Overview

In preparation for the 2015-16 summer season; Athletics Victoria released a survey for members to complete regarding their experience throughout the 2014-15 summer season. The survey was sent out via email and social media networks and featured on the AV website.

The survey received 363 responses with white the highest represented zone on 81. 35-50 was the highest age group to complete the survey with 82 responses and 50+ years second on 70 responses.

Overall it was encouraging to see 90% of people would recommend AV summer competition to a friend or family.

The follow individuals were the winners of the 1 in 5 chances to win an AV 2015-16 membership competition after completing the survey.

  • Joel Clamp
  • Blake Lucas
  • Molly Butler
  • Linda Black
  • Claire Walpole

If you have any feedback regarding either summer of winter seasons please email or call AV on (03) 8646 4500.

Big V junior XC team annouced

Athletics Victoria is pleased to announce the follow junior Big V team of 46 athletes and 16 emergencies for the Australian Cross Country Championships on Saturday 29 August at Moonee Valley Race Course in Melbourne.

These  championships double as the Australian Schools Cross Country Championships and School Sport Victoria will today announce a team of 60 athletes plus a team of Para athletes to contest these Championships. The Schools Sports Victoria team once announced will be found here:

In 2014 in Albany, Western Australia the Big V team won 11 gold medals from the 20 on offer.

More information on the championships will be released in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions regarding the team please email or call (03) 8646 4500.

Under 20 Men
1 Ben Kelly Glenhuntly Athletic Club
2 Michael Kernahan Mentone Athletic Club
3 Daniel Young Old Xaverians Athletic Club
4 Noah Deubel Knox Athletic Club
5 Jesse Fullerton Ballarat Region
6 Dean Neofitou Diamond Valley Athletic Club
emergency 1 Shaun Walton Frankston Athletic Club
emergency 2 Tim Logan Diamond Valley Athletic Club
 Under 20 Women
1 Olivia Gallagher Athletics Essendon / Maribyrnong College
2 Georgia Griffith Melbourne University Athletic Club
3 Tayla Sproule Frankston Athletic Club
4 Katie Gamble Knox Athletic Club
5 Claire Hodgart Western Athletics
6 Elly Jackson Melbourne University Athletic Club
emergency 1 Molly Irvine Traralgon Harriers Athletic Club
emergency 2 Sarah Jackson Melbourne University Athletic Club
Under 18 Boys
1 Aran Brown Haileybury College Haileybury
2 Jacques Verstraten Victorian Government Athletics Chillwell
3 Jesse Dunsmore The Peninsula School Frankston
4 Ben Scala Xavier College Old Xaverians
5 Riley Bolton St Kevin’s College St.Kevins
6 James Stanley Xavier College Old Xaverians
emergency 1 Alex Gruen Melbourne Grammar School Old Melburnians AC
emergency 2 Daniel Hamilton Haileybury College Glenhuntly
Under 18 Girls
1 Amelia Mazza Downie Maribyrnong College Athletics Essendon
2 Charlotte Bassett Mac Robertson Girls High School Doncaster
3 Georgia Hansen Carey Baptist Grammar School Box Hill
4 Georgie Macdonald Caulfield Grammar School Glenhuntly
5 Maxine Paholek Seymour College Whittlesea City
6 Tess Plowman Strathcona Baptist Girls’ Grammar
emergency 1 Jessica Mayne Lakeside College Knox
emergency 2 Natalya Hall- Dekleva Clonard College Athletics Chillwell
UNDER 16 Boys
1 Kang Nyoak Wheelers Hill Secondary College Knox
2 James Lightfoot Scotch College Old Scotch
3 William Lewis St Kevin’s College St. Kevins
4 James Paton The Peninsula School Framkston
5 James Laven Lilydale High School Yarra Ranges
6 Ace Buck Wesley College Collingwood Harriers
emergency 1 Tom Sellwood Trinity Grammar Box Hill
emergency 2 Matthew Hussey Emmanuel College Wetsern Athletics
Under 16 Girls
1 Heidi Demeo Sacred Heart College – Geelong Athletics Chillwell
2 Molly Gallagher Maribyrnong College Athletics Essendon
3 Leteitia Presser Wesley College Athletics Essendon
4 Klara Dess Sacred Heart College – Geelong Geelong Guild
5 Emily Mizis Melbourne Girls’ College Athletics Essendon
6 Maysen DUFFY Caulfield Grammar School South Melbourne
emergency 1 Olivia Hobbs Belmont High School Athletics Chillwell
emergency 2 Kailyn O’Connor Mornington Secondary College Frankston
Under 14 Boys
1 Brandon Muscat MacKillop Catholic Regional College Western Athletics
2 Spencer Anderson Melbourne Grammar School Box Hill
3 William Kilkpatrick Saint Ignatius College Geelong
4 William Mwagiru Gippsland Grammar Wellington
5 Joshua Mounter St Francis Xavier College
6 Bailey Rankin MacKillop Catholic Regional College Western Athletics
emergency 1 Tom Hockley Samon St Joseph’s College – Geelong Athletics Chillwell
emergency 2 Harrison Scott Haileybury College
 UNDER 14 Girls
1 Charlotte Wragg Ruyton Girls’ School Knox
2 Sophie Carne Korowa Anglican Girls’ School
3 Mimi Bartels Firbank Grammar School Sandringham
4 Mia Roux Wesley College Collingwood Harriers
5 Genevieve Watson Haileybury College Knox
6 Yara Taylor Toolern Vale & District Primary School Western Athletics
emergency 1 Ruby Crisp Aquinas College Ringwood
emergency 2 Maddy Truong Ruyton Girls’ School Ruyton

Allan Cook selected for Beijing 2015 world championships

Western Athletics Allan Cook has been selected to compete in the men 50-54 800m category event at this years IAAF World Championships in Beijing this August.

Cook was selected from 60 applicants to compete after selection was determined on performances from 2014/15.

There will be two masters events in Beijing – womens 50 400m  and men 50 800m.

A total of nine  athletes have been selected for each event.

Cook will be joined by  New South Wales athlete Gianna Mogentale who has been named on start list for the  women’s 400m.

For more information on the world championships visit:

2014/15 AV Awards Night

The Victorian athletics community came together last Friday 19 June to celebrate the 2014/15 season and acknowledge those athletes that had performed at a high level across the XCR’14 and track & field seasons.

Athletics Victoria would like to thank all athletes, coaches, clubs and families who could attend awards night.

Track & Field Awards:

Most Outstanding U14 Track & Field Performance at 2015 Australian Junior Championships

Benjamin Voogd from Ringwood Athletic Club

The 2014 Maroondah Leader Junior Sports Star nominee was a standout at the 2015 Australian Junior Championships earlier this year in Sydney, producing a meet record and gold medal throw of 47.96 metres in the hammer.

Mietta Russell from Sandringham Athletic Club

One of the athletes to watch at the 2015 Australian Junior Championships, Russell claimed three gold medals in the 100 metres (12.54 seconds), 200 metres (26.36 seconds) and Triple Jump (10.94 metres), along with bronze in the long jump (5.06 metres).

Most Outstanding U16 Track & Field Performance at 2015 Australian Junior Championships

Timothy Dodd from Collingwood Harriers Athletics Club

It was double gold for Dodd at the 2015 Australian Junior Championships, taking line honours in the 400 metres in 51.84 seconds as well as securing the high jump title with a clearance on 1.81 metres.

Lateisha Willis from Yarra Ranges Athletics Club

A clean sweep across the Victorian Junior Championships, Willis took home gold in the 90 metres hurdles, 200 metres hurdles, and was a member of the Victorian 4×100 metres silver medal team along with featuring in the 100 metre final at this year’s Australian Junior Championships.

Most Outstanding U18 Track & Field Performance at 2015 Australian Junior Championships

Ned Weatherly from Athletics Chilwell

The 2014 Youth Olympics representative produced world youth qualifying standard throws and gold in the hammer with a meet record distance of 78.26 metres and shot put (19.47 metres). Weatherly stepped up to the under 20 shot put to place second with a distance of 17.26m and produced a throw of 68.86 metres in the hammer to collect bronze at the Australian Junior Championships.

Celeste Mucci from Williamstown Athletic Club

Taking on the gruelling challenge of the Heptathlon, Mucci claimed the under 18 title and world youth qualifying standard with a total of 5430 points along with gold and world youth time of 13.76 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles.

Most Outstanding U20 Track & Field Performance at 2015 Australian Junior Championships

Ryan Patterson from Knox Athletics Club
The 2014 Youth Olympics representative put aside the disappointment of missing out on a medal in the 1500m to claim gold in his pet event, the 800 metres in a time of 1:53.38 at the Australian Junior Championships.

Eleanor Patterson from South Coast Athletics Club

Patterson was back to her best at the Australian Junior Championships, matching her personal best of 1.96 metres to claim gold with a meet record and world championships qualifier before three strong attempts at 1.98 metres.

Most Outstanding Open Track & Field Performance at 2015 Australian Championships

Jeffrey Riseley from Knox Athletics Club

The two-time Olympian was clinical at the 2015 Australian Championships in Brisbane earlier this year to claim double gold in the highly competitive 800 metres and 1500 metres events.

Eleanor Patterson from South Coast Athletics Club

Patterson showed cased her winning ability to back up here Australian Junior form and claim gold in the open high jump with a height of 1.91 metres in Brisbane.

Most Outstanding Masters Athlete 2014/15

Lavinia Petrie from Ringwood Athletics Club

The IAAF recognised Petrie as the world best female master athlete in 2014, and it’s no surprise after claiming world records in the 3,000 metres – 13.07.79, 5,000 metres – 21.34.08, 10,000 metres -44.43.27 and half marathon – 1hr.37.38.

Most Outstanding Para Junior Athlete 2014/15

Isis Holt T35 from Old Xaverians Athletic Club

The Melbourne Girls student rose to attention in 2015 after producing three world records in the 100 metres, 200 metres and Long Jump T/F35 category. Holt will now start her preparation for this year’s IPC Athletics World Championships in October.

Most Outstanding Para Athlete 2014/15

Richard Colman T54 from Athletics Chilwell

The two-time Paralympic Games gold medalist finished fourth at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the 1500 metres T54 category in a time of 3:24.37 and is currently overseas preparing for the IPC Athletics World Championships later this year in Doha.

Most Outstanding International Junior Performance 2014/15

Eleanor Patterson from South Coast Athletics Club

The 2013 world youth gold medalist came to national attention in late 2013 after jumping 1.96 metres at the All Schools Championships in Townsville, her reputation grew even further after being crowed 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, with a height of 1.94 metres in front of packed Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Most Outstanding International Performance 2014/15

Alex Rowe from St Kevin’s Amateur Athletic Club

The biggest run by an Australian in 2014, Rowe equalled Ralph Doubell’s 46-year-old Australian 800m record after passing three runners in the final 300 metres and then dipping to stop the clock on 1:44.40 at the Diamond League meet in Monte Carlo last

Service to Coaching Award

Stephen Ellinghaus

Stephen is a significant contributor in Victorian athletics from school age through to our highest  performing junior athletes. In 2014 he guided Georgia Griffith to a 4th placing in the 800m at the World Junior Championships whilst also seeing more than twenty of his squad qualify for the Australian Junior Championships in events from the 400m to Cross Country. In his role as head coach at Ruyton Girls School, he maintained an unbeaten run in the overall team premiership at the State Cross Country Championships that extends more than a decade. Based at the Box Hill Athletic track, he has strong ties to both Box Hill & Ruyton Athletic Clubs and through his other school engagements provides employment to a plethora of young developing coaches.

XCR’14 Awards

Award Winner Club
XCR’14 Champion Male Winter Athlete Nicholas Wightman Geelong Region
XCR’14 Champion Female Winter Athlete Sinead Diver South Melbourne
XCR’14 Outstanding Female Athlete Courtney Powell Box Hill
XCR’14 Men 40+ Champion Craig Semple Glenhuntly
XCR’14 Women 40+ Champion Angela Williams Ballarat Region
XCR’14 Men 45+ Champion Luke Goodman APS United
XCR’14 Women 45+ Champion Julie Norney Box Hill
XCR’14 Men 50+ Champion Steven Quirk Victorian Masters
XCR’14 Women 50+ Champion Margaret Fitzgerald APS United
XCR’14 Men 55+ Champion Phillip Bowes South Melbourne
XCR’14 Women 55+ Champion Lavinia Petrie Ringwood
XCR’14 Men 60+ Champion Chris Wardlaw Glenhuntly
XCR’14 Men Under 14 Champion Matthew Hussey Western Athletics
XCR’14 Women Under 14 Champion Lily Peacock Yarra Ranges
XCR’14 Men Under 16 Champion Ryhan Thomas Williamstown
XCR’14 Women Under 16 Champion Heidi Demeo Geelong Region
XCR’14 Women Under 16 Champion Amelia Mazza-Downie Coburg Harriers
XCR’14 Men Under 18 Champion Troy McGill Mornington Peninsula
XCR’14 Women Under 18 Champion Charlotte Bassett Diamond Valley
XCR’14 Women Under 18 Champion Corrin Demeo Geelong Region
XCR’14 Women Under 20 Champion Molly Tilbrook Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Under 20 Champion Jack Rayner Western Athletics
2014 Female Marathon Champion Nikki Chapple Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Premier Division Champions Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Division 2 Champions Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Division 3 Champions Doncaster Athletic Club
XCR’14 Men Division 4 Champions Athletics Nunawading
XCR’14 Men Division 5 Champions Victorian Masters
XCR’14 Men Division 6 Champions Melbourne University
XCR’14 Men Division 7 Champions Diamond Valley
XCR’14 Men 40+ Champions Athletics Waverley
XCR’14 Men 50+ Champions Glenhuntly
XCR’14 Women Premier Champions Glenhuntly
XCR’14 Women Division 2 Champions Glenhuntly
XCR’14 Women Division 3 Champions South Melbourne
XCR’14 Women Division 4 Champions South Melbourne
XCR’14 Women Division 5 Champions South Melbourne
XCR’14 Women 40+ Champions Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Under 20 Champions Box Hill
XCR’14 Men Under 18 Champions Western Athletics
XCR’14 Men Under 16 Champions Western Athletics
XCR’14 Men Under 14 Champions Collingwood Harriers

Athletics Bendigo – Winter Warmers

Join Athletics Bendigo for the Winter Warmers event on Sunday 12 July at LUBAC on Retreat Road Bendigo.

First event 11:00am

Entries close Friday 3 July.

$10.00 entry for the day includes light lunch

Entry on the day $20.00 only if NO alteration to program.

Download event poster here

Victorian Open Cross Country Team Nominations

The Australian Cross Country Championships will this year be held in Melbourne at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday 29 August. Athletes selected in the Victorian Open team will receive a free competition uniform and have entry fees covered by Athletics Victoria.

To nominate for the Victorian team please complete the online nomination form by 5pm on Thursday 25 June. Team selections will then be announced the following week.

For those that do not get selected for the Victorian team you will still be able to compete in the Australian Championships as an additional competitor. You will however not be eligible for the National teams medal.

This entry information will appear on the Athletics Australia website in coming weeks

Vale Ron Clarke

It was an inspired decision to invite a 19-year-old who had missed selection for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics to light the Games Cauldron. But even those responsible for such a famous call could not surely have envisaged the stunning career waiting to unfold.

By the time Ron Clarke’s contribution to the world of athletics on the track was over, his name was synonymous with success – 17 official world records, an Olympic bronze medal and four Commonwealth silvers. Both at home and in Europe he was the great entertainer of his time – drawing huge crowds in his own right and inspiring great improvements in performance in his disciplines across the board.

Ron was unquestionably one of the all-time greats of world distance running but when he began his athletic career in the 1950s it was initially combined with Australian football. Ron’s older brother Jack, himself a good junior mile runner, was the captain of the Essendon VFL (now AFL) football team and Ron was to play in their reserves.

Ron went to Melbourne High and ran for the School Old Boys at interclub in his early years. He won the Victorian sub-junior one mile championship in 1954 in 4.33.6 and the 1955 junior championship in 4.19.6. He was second on both occasions in the 880 yards.

At the Victorian Championships in January 1956 he ran a personal best of 4.07.6 to finish third in the mile behind John Landy and Merv Lincoln, providing an ideal preparation for a meet in Sydney three days later at which he set a world junior record of 4.06.8 for the distance.

That year’s Australian Championships were held in Melbourne in March and a crowd of 20,000 people were anticipating a possible world mile record from Landy. It is now part of Australian sporting folklore that on the third lap Ron fell and John who was immediately behind tried to leap over him but in doing so cut the younger man’s right arm with his spikes.

John stopped and ran back to see if Ron was okay. Ron urged John to keep going which he did, amazingly still winning the race. No world record but a great act of sportsmanship now immortalised in a sculpture featuring both men in Melbourne’s Olympic Park precinct.

It was a time of great depth in Australian middle distance running. Ron did not make the 1956 Olympic team as Landy, Lincoln and Jim Bailey were simply superior at the time. But the invitation to bring the Games flame into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Opening Ceremony and to light the cauldron ensured he was part of the occasion.

The following year, Ron finished fourth at the Nationals in both the one and three miles but then spent the next four years focusing on his studies.

By 1961 he was running well again and finished second to Tony Cook in the Victorian 3 mile title. At the end of that year Ron won the first Zatopek 10,000m in Melbourne. Improvement was steady and at the 1962 state titles he was third in the one, three and six miles and was second, behind Trevor Vincent, over 5000m. He was fourth at the Nationals at 3 miles.

The 1962 Commonwealth Games provided Ron with his first international experience. In the blazing heat of a Perth November, he failed to finish the six miles but came back strongly two days later to take silver in the three miles behind New Zealand’s Olympic gold medallist Murray Halberg in 13.35.92. On his return from Perth there was another Zatopek 10,000m victory in a respectable 29.53.0.

In early 1963 there were silver and bronze medals at the Nationals in Adelaide and later that year a gold in the National 10km cross-country. But the year’s best was yet to come for when he returned to familiar territory at the Zatopek in December, Ron broke the world records for both 6 miles (27.17.8) and 10,000m (28.15.6).

Ron had transferred clubs to Glenhuntly and made its boomerang insignia famous around the globe. At the 1964 Australian championships in Melbourne he was the second Australian home in the three miles. Selection for his first Olympic Games followed.

With few opportunities to compete around the globe at the time, simply as world record holder Ron was favoured to win gold in Tokyo. He led for most of the race, his powerful surges dropping most of the field. Just two runners stayed with him – Billy Mills (USA) and Mohamed Gammoudi (Tunisia). In the final lap Gammoudi sprinted into the lead down the back straight. Ron caught him on the final bend and the two sprinted for the tape only for both to be overtaken by Mills.

Ron took bronze in 28.24.4. On a rain-soaked track Ron was ninth over 5000m and as many of the top men of his day did, also ran the marathon again finishing ninth – in 2:20.27.

In December 1964 Ron set the third of his world records – 13.07.6 for three miles in Melbourne. The juggernaut was in train.

Ron began 1965 with a flurry of activity – two world records at 5000m in 16 days – first of all in Hobart in mid-January in 13.34.8 and then across the Tasman in Auckland (13.33.6). He returned to Hobart in February to finally win his first national senior track title, the 3 miles in 13.25.4 – as it happens the last occasion on which Australian championships were conducted over imperial distances.

Ron went overseas and had his most prolific record period – setting new world times for 5000m in Los Angeles (13.25.8) which included a three mile mark of 13.00.4; three miles again in London (12.52.4); 10,000m (27.39.4) and 6 miles (26.47.0) in Oslo. He had earlier bettered the 10,000m record in Turku, Finland with 28.14.0 but it was never ratified as it was said that permission to run was requested too late.

Ron’s impact was appropriately summed up by Arne Kvalheim, President of the Bislett Alliance at the celebrations for the 50th edition of the Bislett Games in June 2015.

“There is, however, one athlete I want to pay tribute to right away, an athlete we had hoped to introduce here today. That is Ron Clarke of Australia. His fantastic world 10,000 metres record set the standard for our meets to come. 

“Ron ran in the first Bislett Games meet on 12 July 1966 and in five consecutive meets after that. He ran ten great races at Bislett and won all but one. Moreover, and even more important to the organising group, he sold an enormous amount of tickets. Ron Clarke was by far the most popular foreign athlete in this country 50 years ago. 

“Ron’s excellent running and great charisma combined with (Arne) Haukvik’s promotional skills and salesmanship got us off to a fantastic start.”

Later in the year Ron set world records for 10 miles of 47.12.8 at the Mentone track in Melbourne and for 20,000m in Geelong (59.22.8) during his successful attempt on the one hour mark, in which he achieved 20,232 metres.

Ron celebrated Australia turning metric by winning the 5000 and 10,000m national titles in Perth in 1966. In July there were more world records – for 3 miles (12.50.4) and 5000m (13.16.6) in Stockholm.

In August Ron went to his second Commonwealth Games this time in Kingston, Jamaica to face the new men of the sport – the emerging Kenyan distance runners. He collected two more Commonwealth silvers behind Kipchoge Keino (in 12.59.2) and Naftali Temu (in 27.39.42) in the three and six miles respectively. They were super races and marked the beginning of a changing of the guard in world athletics.

Back home around that time, Ron had drawn to the attention of the then Amateur Athletic Union of Australia (now Athletics Australia) that meeting organisers were so keen to have him at their events that they were offering him stipends which he feared could endanger his amateur status. Long-serving Honorary Secretary, Arthur Hodson, proposed that any funds so received by the federation be placed in a trust fund to provide assistance for other athletes needing assistance to travel to competitions and for other purposes.

Ron thought it was a terrific idea and agreed to lend his name to the project. The Ron Clarke Foundation was born and in ensuing years provided support to hundreds of aspiring athletes to pursue their dreams in the sport.

In 1967 Ron retained his national 5000m title and later that year set his first world two mile record of 8.19.8 in Vasteras, Sweden.

Another national 5000m title a year later delivered selection for the Mexico Olympics. Ron was in great form going into the Games after running 13.27.8 and 27.49.4 in London and setting another world two miles record of 8.19.6 also in the British capital.

However the rarefied atmosphere of Mexico City’s altitude destroyed the ambitions of many of the world’s best distance runners who came from sea level. The now far more prominent Africans from the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia easily won all the distance races.

Ron finished a gallant sixth in the 10,000m in 29.44.8 and fifth in the 5000m in 14.12.45. It nearly cost Ron’s life as he lay on the track being resuscitated with oxygen equipment – moments captured in some of the most memorable photos in Australian sporting history. Heart problems later in life were attributed to the rare air of Mexico.

Ron returned to home base, recovering to win the 1968 Zatopek 10,000m in Melbourne and then the 1969 edition. He won three more national titles winning the distance double in 1969 and the 10,000m in 1970. But there was still hope for a Games gold medal.

The 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh provided the platform and in one of the last races of his career, Ron tried his hardest in the 10,000m but was outsprinted by local hero Lachie Stewart and again had to settle for silver, his fourth, in 28.13.45. He faded to fifth in the 5000m in 13.32.4.

Those Games were not without controversy off the track. Athletics section manager, Graeme Briggs agreed that it would be a good idea for Ron as an experienced athlete to spend some nights away from the village with wife Helen. The decision saw both men incur the wrath of ACGA officials who demanded Ron return to the village immediately or both would be thrown off the team.

Whilst Ron never won Olympic or Commonwealth gold he without doubt revolutionised distance running with his 17 official world records. He showed generations of distance runners what could be achieved with hard work and courageous running.

In later life Ron again proved himself a champion as a successful businessman, politician as Lord Mayor of the Gold Coast, media commentator and author. He retained a strong interest in his sport, serving in various administrative capacities including as a member of AA’s Distance Commission.

He was among the inaugural inductees to both the Sport Australia and Athletics Australia Halls of Fame in 1985 and 2000 respectively. Recognition for his achievements as an athlete through national honours came with an MBE in 1966 and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

The Centenary Medal in 2001 acknowledged his distinguished service to eco-tourism – acknowledging, amongst other projects, his unique development of the Runaway Bay Training Centre which became a focal point for Australian and visiting team camps and competitions before and after the 2000 Olympics Games.

Ron was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2013, recognising his broader contributions to national life – in local government and philanthropy but also acknowledging a lifetime devoted to promoting the sport of athletics in any way that he could.

His life time of achievement and contribution to sport and to Australian society will be celebrated at a public commemoration at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 14 July 2015 – the fiftieth anniversary of his famous 10,000 metres world record in Oslo.

Prepared by Athletics Australia Historian Paul Jenes OAM with the assistance of Brian Roe

Queen’s Birthday Honours – Anne Lord

A number of members of the Australian athletics family have been named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list released over the weekend, including Athletics Australia Board member and former Australian international cross country representative Anne Lord.

Lord competed for Australia at World Cross Country Championships in 1981-1985, 1986 and 1987 and has served on both the Athletics Australia and Athletics Victoria Boards.  She was named as a recipient of the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division “for service to athletics as an administrator and competitor.”

Also named was Oceania Athletics President Geoff Gardner, who also received the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division “for service to the community of Norfolk Island through leadership roles, and to athletics.”

Also named was renowned ultra-marathon runner and politician Pat Farmer as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia “for significant service to the community through fundraising support for charitable organisations, to ultra-marathon running, and to the Parliament of Australia.”


Ms Anne Robyn LORD, Mitcham Vic 3132

For service to athletics as an administrator and competitor.

Athletics Administration: Board Member, Athletics Australia, since 2011; Member, Distance Running Commission, since 2006; Special Awards Committee, current; Nomination and Remuneration Committee, current. Team Physiotherapist, 1992-2003 (including at Commonwealth Games in 1994 and 1998, Sydney Olympics, 2000).

President, Athletics Victoria, 2005-2011; Board Member, 2000-2011; Chair, Championships Committee, 1990-1994; Member, Winter Committee, 2002-2011; Life Member, 2013.

Member, Cross Country Committee, International Association of Athletics Federations, since 2007. Chair, Cross Country and Road Committee, Oceania Athletics Association, since 2007.

Chair, Australian Distance/Out-of-Stadium Running Commission, 2004-2009. Team Manager/Physiotherapist, World Cross Country Championships, 1992 and 1993, 1996 and 1997, and 2001 to 2003.

Competitor: Australian National 10km Road Champion, 1981. Australian National 3000m Track Champion, 1980s. Member, Ringwood Athletic Club, since 1975. Competed for Australia at World Cross Country Championships, 1981-1985, 1986 and 1987.

Have you entered XCR’15 Round 4?

Will we see you on the start line this Saturday at Bundoora Park? Entries close this Wednesday 11 June at 12:00pm midday.

This bumper day of cross country racing incorporates the All Schools Cross Country Championships and also serves as the selection trial for the Australian Cross Country Championships. The open and overage men’s race covers 12km of the gruelling slopes of Bundoora Park, while the women’s race covers 8km. Juniors race over 3km, 4km or 6km.

For more information this weekends event please visit the XCR’15 Round 4 – Bundoora Park webpage.

If you’re having any issues entering this weekends event please email or call AV on (03) 8646 4500.