breaks mum’s 27-year-old State record
There were records and personal bests
galore at the 2014 NSW 3000 metres championships held at Homebush on Saturday
It was a big night of running with nine
men’s heats of about 19 athletes, plus four women’s heats and first up a community
3000m, where Dave (Robbo) Robertson ran
holding a microphone and commentating - now you don’t see that everyday at the
The women’s 3000 metres was one of the
best fields assembled for the race. Five athletes had sub-9:20 personal bests,
but it would be a 13-year-old who stole the show. In late ‘80s 1987 Nicola Corbin was one of a powerful
group of distance running girls who ran for the Reebok club (now Sydney
Pacific). The group recorded stunning times as juniors: Suzy
Walsham (9:06), Julie Beckhaus
(9:21), Sharon Dalton (9:06) and Nicola
Corbin (9:16). In 1987, Corbin set the NSW under-16 record at 9:34.00. Now 27
years on, her 13-year-old daughter, Abbey
Rockliff (ASW), has been making significant progress in distance events,
but it was a tough ask for her to step up three age groups and attempt to break
an under-16 record, despite Rockliff recently running 9:49.93.
“It was only my second 3k so I was just
running to get a good time and see what I could do against the older and faster girls,” said Rockliff.
But could she really run that quick?
“I thought she was behind the record
pace, but over the last two laps she brought it home,” said her mum Nicola
But Rockliff was equal to the challenge
storming home in seventh place in 9:31.80, as she broke the record by 2.2
seconds, clocked a world youth qualifier (but is age-ineligible) and came with five
second of the world age record, which she has 11 months to chase.
“I’m wrapped. It is really nice for Abbey
to break the record that I held for so long,” said Corbin.
“I only recently found out about the
record, but it is pretty cool to break it,” said Rockliff.
The race was quick, being paced by Katelyn Simpson, a 4:18 1500m runner
who was a finalist at the 2011 world youth championships. After she dropped
out, Kate Spencer (SYU) led a pack
which comprised Bridey Delaney (STG),
Madeline Heiner (KEJ) and Celia Sullohern (MQH).
“I was a little boxed in at the start
and I was trying to stay with Katelyn the pace maker,” recalled Spencer.
“Over the last two or three laps I was
winding it up,” which she did well as she moved away from the field and stormed
home for a three second win in 9:09.29, slicing seven seconds from her personal
best. The time also moved her to number 11 on the Australian under-20 all time
list, past Benita Willis and now
just behind her world junior team mate Jessica
“I had a break after world juniors,”
said Spencer. “Then I resumed training and the routine so that was good. I ran
a pb (1500m at Uni Games) first up so that was great.”
Surprisingly Spencer comfortably beat Madeline Heiner (KEJ) who placed fourth
in the Commonwealth games steeplechase. The bronze medal was won by Bridey Delaney (STG) in a pb of 9:12.95.
There were also personals bests for:
fourth Milly Clark (SYU, 9:17.14, 7
seconds), fifth Celia Sullohern (MQH,
9:17.33, two seconds) and sixth Trychelle
Kingdom (UTN, 9:31.13). With Rockliff setting a personal best in seventh,
six of the top-7 nailed pbs.
MEN’S B RACE
In the men’s B race, Canberra’s 15-year-old
Josh Toley placed third in a 23 second
personal best of 8:25.51, but more importantly he smashed the Australian
under-16 record of 8:29.26, held by Michael Power set in 1992.
“The plan was to get stuck into the
race early, then hold it. I felt pretty good at the start and at the finish I
was thinking no pain no gain so kept on pushing. The record was a target and I
thought I’d be around it (the record) but didn’t think I’d run that fast,” said
the year nine student, who is coached by Philo
MEN'S A RACE
The men’s race was a win to Victorian
visitor, Tom Fawthorpe in 8:03.12;
as he just edged Josh Wright
(Randwick Botany) who ran 8:30.30.
“I had 8:10 in my mind, but to run 8:03
is a massive bonus,” said Fawthorpe.
Wright was also pleased with his
“I’ve only been back running for 12
weeks now, so to run a pb tonight was good.”
Third across the line was Jack Stapleton (Randwick Botany) in an
“We planned the pace around eight
minutes. The first k was good, then in the middle of the race the pace dropped
off a little. I took it up well in the last section. So it was good to run pb.”
Stapleton was having his first run
since the world juniors in July.
“Coming back from world juniors I felt pretty
disappointed. I then struggled for motivation to get back into training for a
few months. Hopefully I can run a bit quicker at Zatopek.”
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics
Image: Celia Sullohern, Madeline Heiner, Kate
Spencer and Bridey Delaney NSW All Schools (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)