Mitchell 400m personal best secures Olympic qualifier

Western Athletics Morgan Mitchell  ran a 400m personal best of 52.04 seconds to stake a claim for selection to the Australian Olympic Team at the Hunter Track Classic.

Crossing the line more than 0.2 seconds faster than her previous quickest time, Mitchell set her one-lap race up on the back straight before storming home to cross the line victorious from fellow Victorian Monica Brennan ( 53.87) and Molly Blakey (NSW, third, 54.36).

“That was amazing. Conditions were perfect and I pulled it off, so I am really happy,” Mitchell said.

“I’ve run pretty well here before, and I had hoped for a 51.0 when I looked at the clock but it wasn’t to be. Seriously though, a personal best is great.

“I’m going to back this up with a run at the ACT Athletics Championships next week and then I’ll consider my options to be my best at the Nationals. There is tough competition in the women’s 400m this year, but I want the individual spot in Rio and am happy to keep working for it.”

In the longer middle distance events, it was Australian 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson (VIS) and up and coming talent Jenny Blundell (NSW) and Luke Mathews (Vic) who shone.

Moving to the front of the pack in the last lap of the men’s 3000m, Gregson bettered his personal best to cross and win in a time of 7:47.73 from Sam McEntee (WA, 7:48.35) and Zak Patterson (Vic, 7:51.36). The first eight finishers were quicker than eight minutes.

Blundell dominated on the last lap of the women’s 1500m to steal the win from Beijing 2015 starter Melissa Duncan (Vic, 4:09.70) in a personal best time of 4:09.67, while Mathews capitalised on an extended stint of altitude training to win the men’s 800m in a time of 1:46.35, just 0.35 outside the Olympic qualifying mark.

The Australian Athletics Season continues in Canberra (ACT) next weekend, with the nation’s capital to play host to the first leg of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix series of the International Paralympic Committee. For more information, please click here.

The Australian Athletics Tour then returns on 13 February in Hobart (Tas), with the Briggs Athletics Classic to welcome a plethora of our best athletes for competition at the Domain Athletics Centre. For more information, please click here.

To view and download results from the Hunter Track Classic, please click here.