For the third consecutive year, on Sunday Adelaide’s City-Bay Fun Run hosted the Australian Road Running Championships over 12km.
On the flat and fast course in Adelaide, super-fast times were the order of the day, with Sinead Diver breaking the race record and Jack Rayner running the second fastest time by an Australian in the history of the race.
The extraordinary season of Sinead Diver continued in the women’s race as she won with ease, to add the title to her national half-marathon win last month.
“I was really happy to get the win yesterday. It was a stacked field, so the pressure was on,” Diver said.
She clocked 37:54 minutes to break the 19-year-old race record of 38:05 set by Tasmanian Kylie Risk in 1999.
“I wasn’t aware of the course record going in, so to get that was an added bonus.”
Diver’s time also blitzed terrific recent winning times by Eloise Wellings 38:28 (2014), Jess Trengove 39:03 (2017) and Susie Power 38:35 (2001).
Second was Glasgow Commonwealth Games representative Emily Brichacek (ACT) in 38:54, just ahead of Melissa Duncan (VIC) 39:00. First South Australian home in the women’s was Izzi Batt-Doyle who was a close fourth in 39:10. The Washington University student heads back to America shortly to complete her final year of study.
For Diver it was her third Australian title and seventh national podium, which has included cross country, marathon and the half-marathon since her first in 2012.
Diver has compiled an extraordinary series of races in 2018 including 31:59 over 10km and a half-marathon world masters record of 69:20. She looks destine to wear the green and gold again, and follow her highly successful previous appearances in 2015 at the world championships (21st marathon), 2017 world championships (20th marathon) and 2018 world half-marathon championships (23rd).
In the men’s race, the favourite was Jack Rayner (VIC) ahead of Rio Olympian and the fastest Australian on the City-Bay course (33:44 from 2015), Liam Adams (VIC).
Rayner and Adams broke away early from a following pack of five athletes including SA’s Canberra-based Paralympian Michael Roeger.
“I went into the race with the aim of winning, but I knew Liam Adams would be my main rival so having him there in the first half of the race helped out a bit,” said Rayner who stepped up the pace around mid-race, putting a 40m gap between himself and Adams. Rayner extended this margin further over the later stages.
“I realised I was close to the race record with 3km to go so I tried to pick it up but it just wasn’t quite enough in the end.”
He finished full of running in a very quick time of 33:47, just outside the race record of 33:42 set by Mizan Mehari’s in 1998. Rayner’s time was also just short of the fastest few winning times, Liam Adams 33:44 (2015), Joseph Waweru 33:46 (1999) and Michael Shelley 33:57 (2009).
Liam Adams ran on strongly to place second in 34:27, with Michael Roeger third in 35:11.
It was an amazing performance by Roeger the T46 (arm amputee) 1500m and 5000m world record holder who looks on track to give the world marathon record of 2:26:54 a good scare in Melbourne next month.
“Jack and Liam got away from the start and from then on I knew it was a race for that third spot,” Roeger said.
“I was very patient throughout the whole race and tried to stay pretty relaxed. I was in a large pack through 8k, I felt very comfortable at 9km with a couple of us increasing the pace fighting for the that third spot, I backed myself and my speed in the last kilometre coming down Jetty Road and got myself clear.
“I was very happy with my run in a quality field to come third in my home state and in 35:11 - a time which would have won the last few years race which surprised me a little.”
Although Roeger had missed some training recently, if highlights the benefits of solid training background.
“Even though I've had a rough few months I have been very consistent over the last 15 months and have been training and racing really well.”
“The performance gives me a lot of confidence going into the next month of training and racing, kudos to me team around me and the man behind it all Philo Saunders (his coach).”
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia