Yarra Ranges athletes excel at national champs

The Under-18s half way up ''Heartbreak Hill'' at the Australian Cross Country Championship.

By Jamie Strudley

 Yarra Ranges Athletics excel at National Champs

This year’s Australia All Schools Cross Country Championships was held at Maleny Golf Club in the Sunshine Coast hinterland on the weekend of 25 and 26 August.

The conditions were near-perfect for the five Yarra Ranges Athletics athletes selected to compete for Victoria at the championships.

A very tough course – tougher than any course seen before for a national championahip – greeted more than 2000 athletes from throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The course rose 24 metres in the last 600 metres, providing a very challenging finish to a championship race.

First up was the Yarra Ranges trio of Under-14 girls who raced over 3000 metres.

Maddie Laven ran a spectacular race, powering up the hill to finish in fourth place, only a few strides away from a medal.

Kiara Flavel finished in 15th place and Indigo Linde 24th in a field of 80 athletes.

Maddie and Kiara were part of the silver medal-winning Victoria team.

The next race was the Under -18 boys, racing over 6km, two laps of the tough 3km circuit.

Harry Norman was always close to the lead pack, eventually finishing in 16th place.

Harry was rewarded with a team silver medal and some outstandingly-sunburned legs.

Georgia Laven completed the action for YRA athletes, running a superb race to finish 23rd in the Under-18 girls 4km race.

Georgia will line up in this age group next year but with many of the athletes who finished above her having moved up an age group.

Congratulations to all YRA athletes who competed at the Wonderland Trail races in Halls Gap, especially to Harrison Van Duuren for a convincing win in the 8km trail race, backing up the next day to help Mum through the tough 20km race.

Attention now returns to AV XCR with round nine on Sunday 2 September at Burnley.

The fastest half marathon in Victoria promises to attract big fields and provide opportunities for fast times and PBs.

It’s a great warm-up for anyone planning to do the Melbourne Marathon.

Entries are open to members and non-members at athsvic.org.au.

YRA little athletes await the start of the summer track and field season in late September.

The club welcomes all athletes of any age or ability. Visit yarrarangesathletics.org.au.