125th NSW Cross Country Championships: wins for Ed Goddard and Aynslee Van Graan

Published Sun 18 Jun 2023

18 June 2023

125th NSW Cross Country Championships: wins for Ed Goddard and Aynslee Van Graan

At the 125th NSW Cross Country Championships on Saturday, we were treated to exhibitions of quality distance running by NSW’s two leading winter running athletes in 2023 - Ed Goddard and Aynslee Van Graan.

On a glorious winters day nearly 700 athletes flocked to Nowra, where the Gibb family property Willandra, hosted their 31st NSW winter state championship.

WOMEN Open 10km

Run Crew’s Aynslee Van Graan, continues to build a terrific resume of performances off the track to go with her numerous NSW track titles. This year already she was a close second in the Sydney 10 to Eloise Wellings and ran the quickest leg at the NSW XC relays, after starting the year with a breakthrough performance of 38th place at her second World Cross Country appearance in Bathurst.

Yesterday at Nowra, in the later stages of the women’s 10km event, Aynslee ran away from training partner Katie St Lawrence, to claim the title in 36:52, ahead of Katie with 37:18. Run Crew dominated the women’s event with the first four across the line. Niamh Allen won the bronze medal in 38:22 and Gemma Jenkins was fourth in 39:34.

Katie and Gemma were the big improvers on their 2022 form, clocking 2:56 minute and 1:16 minute faster times respectively. The Run Crew squad has an international flavour with Aynslee from South African, Niamh Allen from Ireland and Katie born in America.

MEN Open 10km

The men’s race was a comfortable victory for Ed Goddard (UTN), who claimed his third title, after wins in 2019 and 2020. Ed clocked 32:06 for a 15-second win.

Ed, who is in the middle of a busy build up to a marathon on the Gold Coast in two weeks, had a clear race plan.

“I had tapered down for Launceston last week, but still got some work done this week. I took it pretty easy in the last two days,” he said. “Today’s game plan was to take it out hard, the first kilometre was 2:37 or something, and if noone comes with me, I can turn the jets off at half-way. But if I do the opposite and run at tempo and then have to kick, I would burn more fuel than I need,” he said.

Six days ago Ed won the Launceston Half-Marathon in 63:10, but couldn’t miss the State title.

“I have mini-Moss tomorrow, my favourite fun run, but I just wanted to come and run at the State cross as it is such an important day and should be an important day for everybody’s calendar.

“I remember a DeJa’Vu moment, when I was under-15 and watching the open race and thinking it would be amazing to be in the front pack one day. I’m living my childhood dream."

The battle for medals, behind front running Ed Goddard, was thrilling. Drew Fryer was running strong in a clear second place with a mile to go, but Bankstown pair Hamish Longworth and Harrison McGill had other ideas and passed Drew in the later stages. Hamish clocked 32:21, from Harrison with 32:27, and Drew clocking 32:32. For Hamish Longworth, it was one step higher on the podium than in 2022 and a 20 seconds faster time.

Another athlete on the move, at age 44, is three-time winner (in the 2010s) Russell Dessaix-Chin (SYU), who with 10th place in 33:58, was 90 seconds faster than in 2022.


WOMEN open 10km

1.Aynslee Van Graan - Run Crew, 36:52

2.Katie St Lawrence - Run Crew, 37:18

3.Niamh Allen - Run Crew, 38:22

4.Gemma Jenkins - Run Crew, 39:34

5.Katie Porra – Act, 39:58

6.Amelia Gorman - Trt Running, 40:15

MEN open 10km

1.Ed Goddard - U.T.S. Northern Suburbs, 32:06

2.Hamish Longworth – Bankstown, 32:21

3.Harrison McGill – Bankstown, 32:27

4.Drew Fryer - Sydney University, 32:32

5.Daniel Dreher – Act, 32:43

6.Ben St Lawrence - Run Crew, 32:51

David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Ed Goddard (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)