Grace & Matt Crane win Middle Distance Championships.

Shane JenkinsNews

Grace & Matt Crane (Tasmanian Foresters and Canberra Cockatoos respectively) claimed both elite Australian Middle Distance Championships today. This was held on a new granite terrain area – “The Gib” near Bungendore, about 40 kilometres from Canberra.

Matt had a nervous wait as Simon Uppill stormed into the finish challenging his time. However Simon finished 7 seconds in arrears. While Matt had a consistent run, Simon ran faster on many legs, winning 10 of the 24 splits, but lost 2 minutes when he drifted off course going to no 5.

Grace Crane and second placegetter, Jasmine Neve both were well pleased with their runs. Grace said that she was really focused and spiking controls well on the first two thirds of the race but had to work hard thereafter to maintain concentration. Lizzie Ingham lost 3 minutes early on going to control 2 but steadied to take third place ahead of Kathryn Preston. Hanny Allston led the field to control 8 but lost time on several controls in the second half, most notably 5 minutes to no 16, which saw her slip to 5th place.

Junior World Championship team members filled the placings in M20, with Ian Lawford taking out his last national junior title before moving on to M21, with almost a 3 minute margin over Olle Poland, with Brodie Nankervis and Matthew Doyle both close behind.

Markita Novotna, a Czech international running for WA, again dominated the W20 elite class, with a 3 minute win over Kiwi Kayla Fairbairn, while Queenslander Heather Muir added another bronze to her collection of Australian podiums.