The Australian Long Distance championships was blessed with amazing weather and the excitement of a new Neil Barr map that combined some great granite and gold mining complexity. Master course setter Roch Prendergast took us into the granite first and then set complex closing legs through the mining when everyone was tired but needed to hold their concentration. This complexity and the physicality of courses with lots of climb brought the cream to the top with wins from known legends of the sport like Grant Bluett, Greg Barbour, Marina Iskhakova, Jo Allison, Cathy McComb, Rob Walter and Jenny Bourne.
The M20E was decided first. Ewan Shindler led early but a mistake at control 19 put Sam Woolford ahead which he held till a small mistake at 23 gave Ewan back the lead which he held through the last 6 gold mining controls to win by only 44 seconds in an 87 minute race. Nea Shindler and Mikayla Cooper had a great race in W20E. The lead alternated between them but Nea had a great long leg at 13 and got back the lead by a minute which she was able to hold through the mining.
The Men’s open elite looked like a race between Aston Key, Patrick Jaffe and Angus Haines . Patrick led early but Aston reeled him in and then ran an almost perfect race. Patrick had two small mistakes and Aston cleared out seven minutes ahead. Patrick was a clear second nearly nine minutes clear of Angus in third. The Women’s Elite was a closer and more open affair. Caitlin Young posted a great time for the “clubhouse lead” but Grace Crane seems to relish this type of complexity. She took the lead at number five and extended it to over two minutes at times. Aislinn Prendergast was in second in the middle of the race but held third, a minute behind Caitlin, to grab third.
Victoria had other wins through Daniel Stott in M35, Alison Radford in W70, Alex Tarr in M80 and Dale Ann Gordon in W80.