Zatopek 10 delivers athletic brilliance

ZÁTOPEK:10 delivers athletic brilliance 

A crowd of more than 4,000 turned out for the On Track Nights: ZÁTOPEK:10 at Lakeside Stadium for a night of fast running and festival vibes to support some of the country’s finest middle-distance runners against the electric backdrop of a stellar DJ line-up.

In the feature race, a thrilling final lap saw Irish runner Andrew Coscoran take out the ZÁTOPEK:10 in a time of 27:56.37, running down Jack Rayner and Pat Tiernan on the final bend to power home down the final straight.

But as the first Australian over the line, Rayner (27:57:87) claimed his third consecutive National title to take out the Chemist Warehouse 10,000m Australian Championship and has the Paris Olympics firmly in his sights. Pat Tiernan was third over the line and second Australian home. Lauren Ryan claimed victory in the women’s event (32:54.00), trailed by Holly Campbell (32:54.94).

“To run with two legends of Australian distance running in Jack and Pat was amazing, and to take out the win is an added bonus,” Coscoran said.

“When I made a move I thought it would be enough to break Andrew, but it wasn’t the case. I tried again 80 metres in the end and couldn’t get there,” Rayner said. “It’s still great though to win the Australian championships, even though it was different compared to last year.”

Bendere Oboya stamped her authority on Australian middle distance, recording her first victory in the 600m Open at On Track Nights: ZÁTOPEK:10. Oboya made her first official race over the distance one to remember, charging home to win in 86.34. Despite falling just short of Tamsyn Manou’s 11-year 600m record of 85.79, Oboya was thrilled with first hit out post-retirement.

“I feel great. I loved the atmosphere, the last 100 metres because of the crowd I really lifted. I think everything was just great. I feel like if there were more events like this that On have done, it would attract more people to the sport,” she said post-race. “I wouldn’t say 600m is harder than the 800m or 400m. I think this is the perfect event for me. It was a great hit out.”

Oboya said the atmosphere of the meet was like no other she’s experienced in Australia. Rejuvenated and now under the tutelage of Craig Mottram in the On OAC outfit, Oboya, 23, has set her sights on running the 800m at the Paris Olympics.

In the women’s U20 3000m, rising star, high school graduate, and Paris 2024 hopeful Claudia Hollingsworth was victorious, crossing the line in 9:29.13. Ada Rand (9:30.25) and Aspen Anderson (9:33.33) finished second and third respectively.

“I didn’t really have a plan as its one of my first 3,000m so I wanted to be relaxed and really enjoy the race as it’s also my season opener,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s insane having the crowd, I feel like you usually have to go overseas in athletics for Australians to experience that. It’s great to have a big event like this here.”

To kick off the meet, Olympian Peter Bol joined Melbourne’s everyday runners with a lap around Albert Park Lake. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist was put through his paces by two 13-year-old Mentone Grammar School boys who picked their hero’s brain and took a few selfies along the way.

The 5km community run saw 500 runners race a lap of Albert Park Lake starting and finishing at Lakeside Stadium. The trio crossed the line with a time of 18:06 to raucous applause and the sound of Melbourne’s hottest DJs who are bringing the festival vibes never before seen at an Australian athletics meet. 27-year-old Cameron Swales from New Zealand crossed the finish line first in 15:22 and Leyla Liakatos was first female home in 17:15.

“It was a great run with the community involved and so great to see all the kids enjoying themselves,” Bol said. “It was actually a bit of a faster pace than I thought. I run 5000m in training and it’s probably something I want to do more of.”
​Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker made his shock return to competitive athletics in the 4x400m relay. Hooker was joined by close friend Brendan Cole (Olympian, Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 4 × 400m), Hugh van Cuylenburg (founder of The Resilience Project), and Simon Glendenning, who discovered a talent for running later in life inspired by his daughter. The Masters record, which has stood for four decades, remains intact but the team raised vital funds for the Community Spirit Foundation aiding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s education.

“I felt like we ran a really good race. I think the first race for us was to just get to the starting line. Four guys over 40 with all the preparation, and I think we put a really good race together,” the 41-year-old said. “They have done an incredible job putting this event on, and I’m excited to hear they have got it for another couple of years.”

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