27 May 2018
Waratah Relays men’s open race - A classic
The men’s 4x4km at the 2018 Waratah Relays was one of the most exciting races in the history of the event. Any of five teams could have grabbed victory, but it is about consistency and Sydney University with just 22 seconds difference between the fastest and slowest in the team took the honours. After the Sydney Striders club led at the half-way mark in the event, it came down to a race between two Dick Telford squad training partners, Hugh Williams (SYU) and Jordan Gusman (BAN) on the final leg.
Gusman has been in red form, smashing his 1500m and 5000m personal best in America this month, meaning the 4km distance was perfect for him. However, he didn’t find the course to his liking.
“I’ve never run this course before and I found it quite technical and it didn’t really suit me too well, I prefer to be able to stride out with long straight.”
But that didn’t stop him giving it a shot. Leading into the last leg were Sydney University and Randwick Botany, with Gusman’s Bankstown 1:08 minutes behind.
But Williams’ was wary of his training partner.
“Gusman is a quality runner and even a minute would be possible. He is a 13;35 guy and a talent, so I had to make sure I didn’t easy off too much.
“The boys did all the hard work and I had to just sit on Kirk (Fryer running for RBH) for the first little bit and when it was time to move I made the move count and hope that Gusman didn’t have enough room to pull me back.”
Gusman and Williams’ could monitor each other at various points on the course where they doubled back.
“We actually had a wave to each other sort of saying I know I’m not going to get you and he waved back, so it was good fun,” recalled the Canberra-based Gusman.
“I really enjoy coming here and seeing everybody else enjoying themselves. It is good to still be a play a part of it.”
This is how the race unfolded.
The first leg included many of the fastest in the team. State cross country champion, Ed Goddard (UTN) wanted to run the first and fourth legs, but the rules only allowed one leg, so he opted to run solo on the opening leg before joining his team for the anchor. He led a strong pack including teenager Kieren Tall (SSR) and Jack Colreavy (SYU).
12:13 Ed Goddard (invitational)
12:14 Kieren Tall (SSR)
12:23 Jack Colreavy (SYU)
12:27 Bryce Sinclair (ILL)
12:35 Ruiridh MacDonald (UTN B)
With another leading Australian junior distance runner on the second leg, Josh Phillips, Sydney Striders maintained a 12 second lead in the race at the mid-way point. They were ahead of Illawong, who similarly had been served by two great legs by Bryce Sinclair and Brady Goodyear. Eventually the teams would place sixth and eight respectively. Sydney University was one minute behind the leaders, while Bankstown were two minutes back.
12:32 Josh Phillips (SSR)
12:32 Bryce Goodyear (ILL)
12:35 Ed Vining (RBH)
12:37 Joe Burgess (SYU)
The shape of the race changed dramatically on this leg, courtesy of Luke Schofield (SYU) and Jeremy Roff (RBH), they moved into the equal lead. Also UTS Norths made gains and was now third, just ahead of Bankstown.
12:19 Rorey Hunter (BAN)
12:27 Jeremy Roff (RBH)
12:40 Charlie Doherty (UTN)
12:44 Luke Schofield (SYU A)
Although Jordan Gusman (BAN) would clock the fastest split of the day, 11:47, it would not be sufficient to overhaul the 68 seconds Sydney University had, as Hugh Williams ran a steady leg to guide his club home. Goddard, who anchored UTS Norths, ran 12:43 after have a 25 minutes following his 12:13 opening split.
11:47 Jordan Gusman (BAN)
12:22 Hugh Williams (SYU)
12:43 Ed Goddard (UTN)
12:56 Keith Macpherson (SGD)
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Jordan Gusman who clocks the fastest leg of the day (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)