Telstra Australian Mountain Running Championships
Mt Majura, Canberra
Saturday 16 June
North Canberra-Gungahlin Athletic Club’s Scott McTaggart is primed to take out his third successive Australian mountain running title this Saturday but is expecting a fierce duel with Wollongong’s Stephen Brown of the Kembla Joggers Club. A former Australian junior champion, Brown has been in scintillating form this year after representing Australia in the senior ranks during the last two years and performing well in the World Mountain Running Association Grand Prix series last year. Former Australian representative Adam Leane of Weston Creek and former Australian junior cross country champion Mark Bourne of Woden Harriers will be contenders for placings, with Melbourne University’s Daniel Kolsky and 2006 Australian representative Stuart Doyle of South Canberra Tuggeranong also in the mix.
Two-time world long distance champion and defending Australian champion Emma Murray will be absent as she focuses on training to defend her world title in September in the Jungfrau alpine marathon in Switzerland. In form Canberra runner Vanessa Haverd is pre-race favourite with Sarah Scrivener of Mingara Athletics Club on the NSW Central Coast, 2006 Australian representative Jessamy Hosking, former Australian representative Angela Bateup, and Queenslander Hubertien Wichers other contenders.
The junior championships feature two world class competitors in Ben Guest and Veronica Wallington. Two years ago Guest of Gosford Athletics Club finished 11th in the World Junior Mountain Running Championships as a 16 year old. He is now older, stronger, fitter and more experienced internationally after competing in the 2007 World Junior Cross Country Championships. The placings should go to his well performed clubmates Kevin Batt and Cameron Page.
The junior girl’s championship field includes the brilliant Veronica Wallington of Canowindra, a member of St George Athletics Club. Wallington smashed Emma Murray’s open course record by over a minute in the ACT Championship in May and has the talent to be up in the top ten in the world junior championship.
The veterans’ championships include world M50 long distance mountain running champion Trevor Jacobs and two runners who won bronze medals in the World Duathlon Championships only a fortnight ago, W60 Caroline Campbell and M75 Rad Leovic. Seventy-nine year old Leovic is one of five runners in the M70 field who will be running a 4.4km course to the Majura summit and return.