The Oceania Cross Country Championships where held alongside the Australian Cross Country Championships over the past weekend. Over 1200 athletes competed over multiple age groups, classifications and distances.
Word had spread far and wide before the race about the testing terrain of the course. With barely any flat ground, the course was particularly tough for those Pacific Island contingent who have had little experience with hills. Conditions were perfect with the predicted rain holding off until the evening.
The Oceania Championships where contested in the Under 18, Under 20 and Senior divisions. There were 7 Federations represented across 6 different races.
Australian Olympian Madeline Hills lived up to her pre-race favouritism with a comfortable win over Caitlin Adams. Lara Hamilton finished in third place.
Hills agreed that the course was difficult.
“Very very tough course, we heard it was going to be hilly and I don’t think there was anyone that turned up here today that wasn’t surprised and terrified,” Hills said.
“So yeah it was tough, I was counting down the kilometres. But I am very happy to have conquered that one.”
In the men’s race, Victorian Andy Buchanan became the first athlete in 20 years to defend the Australian Title he won last year in Wollongong. He held off Riley Cocks and Ed Goddard (NSW). Despite his win he said that the race didn’t go to plan.
“It’s incredible really, you don’t realise until a few days after when it really starts to sink in that you are the national champion,” Buchanan said. It was an interesting race though, it didn’t play out as I thought it would at all – I thought there would be a big pack through that first two or three kilometres. Because it was so hilly, I thought everyone would be a bit stand offish but Harry Summers, who is known to be a front runner, charged out and I went with him and didn’t let him get too far away but then I found my self in the lead and just kept on with it.
In the Under 20 Boys race, it was Haftu Strintzos, who pulled away over the final half of the race to defeat Chekole Getenet and Jackson Sharp. Whilst in the Under 20 Girls race, Ella Heeney, took line honours in front of Brielle Erbacher and Rose Davies.
In one of the most competitive events of the day Nikita Moore was a surprise winner in the Under 18 4km event. She held off Commonwealth Games 800m representative Keely Small to take 2nd place, with Kirstie Rae from New Zealand placing third.
Youth Olympic-bound New Zealander, Murdoch McIntyre dominated the Under 18 Boys race with a commanding victory ahead of Australian’s Matthew Rankin and Jude Thomas.
Full Results:Oceania Cross Country Championships 2018 Results