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: http://athsvic.org.au/event/xcr15-round-1-cross-country-relay-championships/
XCR’15 Season Guide http://athsvic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/AV_XCRHandbook2015_WEB.pdf
Social Media: @athsvic | #XCR15