The first day of the Australia/NZ Test took place on Day 1 of the Queensland Championships near Maryborough, in hot and very dry conditions. In the incredibly fast but vague terrain of Wild Boar Creek Darren Ashmore and Neil Kerrison led a Kiwi dominance in the men’s event, each running under 5 minutes per kilometre for the almost 7 Km courses. Adrian Jackson was close behind for Australia but the win to NZ was 27 to 9 points. In the women’s event Australia turned the tables in a very close struggle. Susanne Casanova of Australia won her first national and international event with an excellent 6 minute/Km run and although she was closely followed by Rachael Smith from NZ the 4th place of Kathryn Ewels insured a 21 to 15 win to Australia. Day 2 will be a different test over much longer distances and a more technical course.
In the NOL event Canberra Cockatoos showed their depth with comfortable wins in both men’s and women’s races. Grant Bluett showed his ability to win the men’s event running under 31 minutes for the 6.7km course, beating Dave Shepherd by 12 seconds. In the women’s event, Jo Allison followed only 7 seconds behind Susanne Casanova. The junior NOL women’s event was dominated by Queensland with a great win to Laurina Neumann from Bridget Anderson. The junior men supplied the event of the day with recent O-Ringen winner Simon Uphill (SA) winning by 4 seconds from Ryan Smyth (Tas) and Kieran Sullivan (Qld) a further 11 seconds behind in third. It looks likely that Queensland will win the junior NOL on the day.
In other courses in the Queensland Championships Clive Pope showed that 70-year olds can still run under 10 minute/Km and at the other end of the age groups Gary Flynn flew round the 7 Km M16 course in 57 minutes. The M35 age group is a very close struggle between Lance Reid and Tim McIntyre who both covered the almost 9 Km in under 60 minutes, conquering the “horror” 2 Km leg over the vaguest part of the map. M55 looks like being a very close call between 6 runners led by Russell Creed. In the women’s divisions there were few stand out performances except for Krystal Neumann in W16 with 40 minutes over 4.9 Km, Jacquie Rand, 47 minutes for 4.9 Km in W50 and Gayle Quantock-Simson, 54 minutes for 5.8 Km in W40.
Tomorrow will see day 2 of the championships on the new Graveyard Creek map with the competition expected to be as hot as day 1.