Another dominant display by the Victorian women highlighted an exciting weekend at the MCG, with the Australian & Victorian Championships being decided at the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival.
Having taken out both the Half Marathon and Cross Country team titles, our women were looking for the 2016 clean sweep – with home town advantage on their side. Once again it was 26-year-old Collingwood Harrier, Virginia Moloney, who lead the way taking overall victory and the Australian & Victorian Championship titles.
Moloney’s stellar rise in 2016 has been nothing short of remarkable, with a win at the Australian Cross Country Championship, coming off the back of a streak of XCR road victories from 10k to the Half Marathon. Crossing the line on the hallowed turf of the MCG in a time of 2:34:27, Moloney has staked an early claim for selection for the 2017 World Championships in London, the windy Melbourne conditions making this an even more impressive performance.
South Melbourne athlete and team captain Sinead Diver once again provided the back up for Moloney, taking second place overall in 2:41:15. An interrupted lead in certainly didn’t help Diver, but the character that saw her perform so well in the Beijing World Marathon Championships certainly shone through over the challenging second half of the course.
Marathon debutant Ellie O’Kane from Deakin completed the scoring team running consistently over the 42km to finish fourth overall in a time of 2:46:11, just 9 seconds shy of third. In her first foray over the marathon distance, O’Kane indicated this may well be the event for her.
So with positions 1,2 & 4 the clean sweep became a reality – once again demonstrating the strength of distance running in Victoria and the importance of the XCR series as a key part of preparation for national events.
Western Athletics’ Nardine Bainbridge filled the next position for Victoria followed by Glenhuntly’s Tarli Bird and Tracey Austin from the Malvern Harriers. Bainbridge’s time of 2:51:47 was a 90 second improvement on her personal best from the Gold Coast Marathon earlier in the year.
The Victorian men settled for second position in the team event behind a strong contingent from New South Wales. Victorian Half Marathon Champion Zac Newman from Melbourne University trumped a number of the pre-race favourites to lead the team in with a well judged race, seeing him finish fourth overall in a time of 2:25:21.
John Dutton from Frankston AC was next to finish for the Big V, crossing the line 9th in 2:28:06. Rounding out the top 10, team captain Steve Dinneen from Box Hill finished in 2:28:37. Ballarat YCW’s Nic Van Raaphorst rounded out the team placing 14th in 2:32:51.
Overall winners and Australian Championship placings:
1st Virginia Moloney (VIC) 2:34:27
2nd Sinead Diver (VIC) 2:41:15
3rd Victoria Beck (QLD) 2:46:02
1st Tom Do Canto (NSW) 2:20:53
2nd Jack Colreavy (NSW) 2:23:16
3rd Matt Cox (NSW) 2:24:04
Australian Championship – Teams
2nd Western Australia
1st New South Wales
1st Virginia Moloney – Collingwood Harriers
2nd Sinead Diver – South Melbourne
3rd Ellie O’Kane – Deakin
1st Zac Newman – Melbourne University
2nd Julian Spence – Athletics Chilwell
3rd Dane Verwey – Frankston