The NSW open 5,000m Championships were held in humid but still conditions. It was ideal for fast running and one athlete took the opportunity by the horns. It wasn’t the athlete most expected to be the star performer of the night, instead it was a rising junior talent in Kate Spencer that shocked the crowd with a sensational Commonwealth Games B qualifier.
Early running in the women’s event was lead by Olympian and new mum Eloise Wellings. This being her second hit out of the year, it showed confidence and class to run from the front. Tucked in for the ride was Spencer, aiming to achieve a qualifying time for the World Junior Championships. Both athletes looked fantastic early on and it wasn’t until around 3km that Kate made her move. It could have been seen as a little premature, but such was the ferocity of the move that she quickly left Wellings in her wake. Reaching the bell it was obvious she would achieve a huge PB and WJQ, though few thought she could close quick enough to sneak under the 15:47 she needed for the Comm Games B. 68 seconds later she crossed the line in a magnificent 15:46, smashing her previous best and securing a B qualifier.
“It was amazing to see how quickly she rolled home in the final kilometre. We knew she was going well, but this is a great surprise!” Said her coach Ken Green.
Kate too was over the moon “I felt really good from the start and knew that if I could hang in there with Eloise I could run a fast time. But to win and come away with the B qualifier is such a huge reward for all the hard work I’ve been doing in training”.
The open men’s race may not have been a fast one, however it was competitive affair. From the start James Nipperess went out like a rocket, following training partner and pacer Matt Cole through the first 4 laps. The remainder of the field seemed content to let him go and subsequently were all racing for silver. The chase pack was lead by various people, with the pace in the latter half of the race being taken up by Ben Moreau. In his first race of the season it was unknown how he would handle the track, particularly considering his focus is on marathon preparations. Taking advantage of this, last year’s title winner James Conner ran a tactical race and while Nipperess ran away with the win (14:24), Conner managed to outkick Moreau for second place (14:29) in a very close finish.
1st Kate Spencer 15:46.60
2nd Eloise Wellings 16:14:69
3rd Milly Clark 16:18:65
1st James Nipperess 14:24:59
2nd James Conn0r 14:29:51
3rd Ben Moreau 14:29:80