After having a week off from XCR, we’re back in a big way at Lake Wendouree, the home of running legend Steve Moneghetti. Arguably one of the most challenging courses on the XCR calendar, athletes will have to battle not only distances of 6km (juniors) and 15km (opens), but also the natural elements which resemble that of the Antartic. Gloves are definitely a necessity for spectators and athletes alike.
Last year the Men’s Open Division saw Toby Rayner from Glenhuntly Athletic Club grab the win (in a time of 48:15) just ahead of Melbourne University’s Nicholas Earl (time of 48:27) in what was a tightly contested battle. Both athletes have been in fine form this year and will no doubt be looking for a similar result come Saturday. However, it won’t just be them who will be hungry for a solid performance. There have been plenty of athletes in the Men’s Open Division who have been running exceptionally well. Dejen Gebreselassie (Mentone) arguably prefers cross country courses to road races, but given his results to date, he’s someone who can shake things up with the leaders. Mitch Brown (Essendon) hasn’t been seen as much as we’re used to in the XCR competition this year, but after running (and winning) the Albert Park 10km Road Race a couple of weeks ago, we’re ever hopeful he’ll front up at Lake Wendouree and give it a red hot crack. Andrew Buchanan (Bendigo) seems to win everything he enters this year, so we assume he’ll be right there leading the way for the others.
The Women’s Open Division saw Collingwood’s Virginia Moloney power around Lake Wendouree in a time of 53:36 last year, ahead of Sinead Diver (South Melbourne) who crossed the line in 54:52. Virginia has had a great season to date, and come Saturday will be looking to go back-to-back. However, Alexandra Paterson (Old Xaverians) has had a breakout year, and after taking out the Albert Park 10km Road Race win a couple of weeks ago, will be full of confidence ahead of tomorrow. Gemma Maini (Frankston) is another who tends to prefer the road to the grass, and although has been struck with injury this year, definitely knows how to attack the 15km course, which was evident in her third placing last year with a time 55:42.
As it stands for the Men’s Premier Division, Box Hill (61 points) are sitting comfortably on top ahead of St Stephens Harriers (53 points) and Melbourne University (52 points). In the Women’s Premier Division, it’s Glenhuntly (62 points) who are sitting on top, clear of Knox Athletics (51 points) and Frankston (47 points).
A reminder on-the-day entries will be available for this event at the price of $50. So if you fancy a road trip with some of your pals, bring them down and experience an epic race which features some of Victoria’s most talented athletes!