Australian 10,000m champions to be crowned with Ron Clarke Medals

Australian 10,000m champions will be crowned winners of the Ron Clarke Medal for the first time at the Zatopek:10 this Saturday 5 December.

Celebrating the contribution that the distance running great made to athletics in Australia and across the globe, the renaming of the national championship trophy has been confirmed by Athletics Australia as anticipation continues to build ahead of a men’s and women’s race that will double as the Olympic 10,000m nomination trial.

“Ron Clarke is an icon of athletics, and his contribution to the sport over the course of his extraordinary life was unrivalled. He is perhaps most famous for his outstanding achievements as a 10,000m runner and for this reason we have decided to rename the Australian championship trophy in his honour,” Phil Jones, Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, said.

“Clarke’s career as a runner was remarkable. He broke the world record in the 5000m and 10,000m on multiple occasions, won a bronze medal at the 1964 Olympic Games and a further four silver medals at the Commonwealth Games. Off the track he lit the cauldron at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games and commendably served as Mayor of the Gold Coast during the period in which they were awarded the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Athletics will forever be in the debt of Ron and we look forward to welcoming his family to Melbourne this weekend to see the inauguration of what will become a perpetual medal that forever remembers him.”

Determined to see their name etched into the history books as maiden winners of the Ron Clarke Medal are Eloise Wellings (NSW) and Brett Robinson (Vic).

A finalist in the women’s 5000m at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, Wellings will become the first woman in history to win back-to-back Australian 10,000m championships on two separate occasions if she reigns supreme in the women’s race.

The 33-year-old won the gold medal in 2009 and 2010, as well as last year, and will start after returning from a volunteering opportunity in Uganda and altitude training at Falls Creek (Vic) in recent weeks.

Charlotte Purdue (GBR) will be one of the international raiders in the mix for line honours. After limited racing in 2013 and 2014, the 24-year-old has returned to the road and track in 2015 and will line up with a personal best of 32:03.25 over 10,000 metres. The 2015 City2Sea winner Makda Haji (ETH) will be another.

2015 World championship representatives Melissa Duncan (Vic) and Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) will be pacemakers for women’s Zatoepk 10,000m event.

Robsinon will also ensure consecutive success in the national championship race if he is the first Australian past the post.

On the hunt for a time faster than 28:00.00 to ensure his automatic nomination for selection to the Australian Olympic Team for 2016, he will be challenged by London 2012 Olympian David McNeill (Vic) and Glasgow 2014 starters Liam Adams (Vic) and Harry Summers (NSW).

IAAF World Cross Country Championships representative, Mitchel Brown (Vic), will head into the national 10,000m with confidence after an impressive win at the Victorian 5000m championships last week.

Highlights off the track will be Australia’s leading women pole vaulter Alana Boyd (Qld) starting her summer season in the Steve Hooker Pole Vault challenge.

Melbourne kick starts #SummerofAths with Zatopek:10 and Australian All Schools

The summer of athletics is upon us and anticipation ahead of the Australian All Schools Championships and Zatopek:10 in Melbourne (Vic) this weekend has reached fever pitch.

Entry lists for the All Schools confirm the start of more than 1100 athletes in both able-bodied and para-athletics events, headlined by Australian under 18 100m record holder Jack Hale (Tas, long jump, 100m), IAAF World Youth Championships medallists Darcy Roper (Qld, long jump) and Samantha Peace (NSW, discus throw), Commonwealth Youth Games champion Amy Harding-Delooze (NSW, 800m, 1500m) and Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships starters Jaryd Clifford (Vic, 3000m) and Erin Cleaver (NSW, para-athletics 100m, long jump).

At the Zatopek:10, both Eloise Wellings (NSW) and Brett Robinson (Vic) are on the hunt for back-to-back success in the Australian 10,000m Championships, with victory in a qualifying time all but ensuring their automatic nomination for selection to the Australian Olympic Team for Rio 2016.

Hale set the athletics world alight at the Australian All Schools Championships in 2014, clocking a wind assisted 10.13 (w: +3.4) to win gold in the 100m before going on to also take victory in the 200m. In 2015, the 17-year-old has added the long jump to his timetable of events, with recent results delivering him qualifying performances for the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships.

“I’m really looking forward to the All Schools this week. Last year was such a great buzz, with all the hype around the 100m, and I can’t wait to get out there again,” Hale said.

“My recent form has been good. At my home All Schools in Tasmania I ran a 10.43 in the 100m and jumped 7.65m in the long jump so I am happy with my preparation. All going well, I should be close to a personal best and if I can do that then it’s been a successful weekend.”

Hale will duel with Roper in both the 100m and long jump at the Australian All Schools Championships, as well as Lachlan McDermott (WA) in the sprints.

Roper won long jump silver at the IAAF World Youth Championships earlier this year, soaring to an Australian under 18 record of 8.01m (w: +0.5) in Cali (COL) to ensure his position on the dais. At the Queensland All School Championships last month, he reigned supreme in the 100m in a time of 10.93 (w: -1.0) before adding a second gold medal to his personal medal tally with a 7.49m (w: +0.4) leap in the long jump.

McDermott donned the green and gold of Australia at the Commonwealth Youth Games, advancing to the semi-final, before running a new career best of 10.81 (w: +0.1) at an interclub event in Perth (WA) last month.

Peace won bronze in the discus throw at Cali 2015 earlier this year, with her personal best throw of 50.59m achieved at the championships.

Looking to improve on the silver medal she won at the Australian All Schools Championships in 2014, she will need to contend with Samantha Lenton (Qld), who has qualified for the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships, and Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist Bianca Hansen (Vic) before claiming victory.

The winner of both the 800m and 1500m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia (SAM) in September, Harding-Delooze will be tough to beat in the middle distance events this weekend.

Boasting personal bests of 2:06.84 and 4:18.02 respectively, the 17-year-old will be joined on the start line by her twin sister Lily Harding-Delooze (NSW), as well as Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad members Maddison Caulfield (Vic) and Georgia Evans (NSW) and Cali 2015 starter Olivia Burdon (NZL).

In para-athletics events, both Clifford and Cleaver will start after making their Australian Flame debut at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha (QAT) in October.

Clifford, who is visually impaired, will start in the able-bodied 3000m event, while Cleaver, who has cerebral palsy, will duel in the para-athletics long jump and 100m with the national title in her sights.

For more information, including entry lists, technical information and a complete timetable, please follow this link to the event sub-site at athletics.com.au.

Ensuring a bumper weekend of athletics, the Australian All Schools Championships will be held alongside the Zatopek:10.

A celebration of athletics hosted by Athletics Victoria, the timetable for the event on Saturday 5 December features the Australian 10,000m championship for men and women, which double as the nomination trial for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

For more information on the Zatopek:10, including entry lists and the event timetable, please click here.

For more information on the Australian athletics season, featuring the Australian Athletics Tour, please click here to visit the #SUMMERofATHS hub at athletics.com.au