A sign of the increasing depth in Australian women’s middle distance running, the women’s 1500m will be the most anticipated event at next week’s Hunter Track Classic.
Although the field is missing world championship finalist Zoe Buckman, it boasts the rest of Australia’s top athletes vying for places in this year’s Commonwealth Games. There are two marks that the athletes will be chasing: the A-standard of 4:07.00 and B-standard of 4:10.75.
Kaila McKnight is the most credentialed of them over the metric mile, having competed in the event at the 2012 Olympics, 2011 world championships and 2010 Commonwealth Games. With a personal best of 4:05.61 she is the fastest in the field by close to five seconds.
National 800m champion Kelly Hetherington, who had a breakthrough year in 2013 by competing at the world championships in the two lap race, will open her season over the longer distance. She will be competitive, with a personal best of 4:10.55.
Also in the mix will be Eloise Wellings, who is returning to competition following the birth of her first child last year, and the upcoming Bridey Delaney and Melissa Duncan.
The Australians will be joined by the Irish champion, Laura Crowe, who boasts a personal best of 4:12.06.