Sydney Track Classic REVIEW: Four national records as Jessica Hull defends

Published Sun 24 Mar 2024

24 March 2024


Four Australian records highlighted the 2024 Sydney Track Classic in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2700 spectators. Jessica Hull led 13 women to personal bests in the 3000m. There were spills and thrills in the men’s 3000m, while the photo was called to split Michelle Jenneke and Liz Clay in the hurdles.


Women’s 3000m: Hull unstoppable

Could anyone defeat defending champion Jessica Hull who earlier this month matched it with the world’s best over the same distance at the World Indoors? The race started much differently to last year with the pace slow, then erratic – hitting 73 seconds, then 67 over the first two laps. On lap two, Izzy Batt-Doyle had stepped in and got it moving for a few consistent laps splits around 70 seconds.


Hull’s lap splits in seconds: (Jess in 2023): 37 (33), 73 (68), 67 (71), 72 (69), 70 (67), 72 (68), 64 (69), 62 (67) - 8:37 (8:32).


On debut over the distance, 800/1500m specialist Georgia Griffith shocked even herself. Early on she had drifted back as far as 15th, while in contrast Linden Hall was always in the mix, near to the front of the field.


Hull wound the race up with a kilometre to go moving into third while Griffith also moved up - now in sixth. With 600m to go, Hull swung into the lead and started her long sprint for home. Over the last lap she was noticeable sprinting her heart out, clocking 62 seconds for the lap. Going with her at the bell were Hall, Davies and Griffith. Down the back straight Griffith set out after Hull and over the last 80m it was very obvious how much ground Griffith had taken off Hull and if the race was another 50m Griffith might have won. On the clock less than a second separated them, with Hull recording 8:37.18 and Griffith 8:37.85. Davies held on for the national medal (8:39.81) from Hall fourth (8:40.59).


Having never run a track 3000m previously, Griffith is now Australia’s second fastest ever.


Despite a slow start the final times were dazzling.
Some of the statistics: 13 PBs, 11 athletes under 9 minutes; four new athletes in the top-8 Aust all-time; World outdoor leading time – Jessica Hull 8:37.18; sixth consecutive National title for Jessica Hull (1x1500, 2x3k, 3x5k)


One to improve dramatically was Sarah Billings with a 66 seconds PB, moving from outside the Australian all-time top-100 to 12th.


Men’s 800m: Boyes goes sub 1:46

After four consecutive 1:46 times and three runner-up places, Luke Boyes nailed it, taking down Peyton Craig in a dip on the line 1:45.86 to 1:45.87.


“I couldn’t feel him coming, but knew he would be there eventually,” Boyes said. “About 50m to go I thought I need to dig a little bit deeper.


“I got kicked down in Canberra, then by Sam Tanner in Christchurch, I wasn’t going to let it happen again.


“The win hasn’t sunken in yet. I haven’t tapered yet and have been training through. That is a 0.4 PB.”


Men’s 3000m: Myers avoids the drama for the win

The men’s 3000m was full of high drama. After the pacemaker dropped out at the 1400m mark Cam Myers was left at the front and slowed up the pace resulting in the field banking up.


Down the backstraight on the penultimate lap, they were running four-wide with only a few metres covering the entire field. Myers, looked in trouble and was now behind Matthew Ramsden and Zach Facioni. In a post-race interview Myers said he was spent. But approaching the bell he snuck through to second place. Queenslander Jude Thomas, who was chasing a three-peat, had drifted back as far as 10th, but also was moving up approaching the bell. But unfortunately, he crashed to the ground a few metres past the bell, bring down two others, including Haftu Strintzos.


In the chaos Callum Davies was quick to react sprinting into the lead and away from the field. The current 1500m and 5000m National champion, was now looking at a unique treble adding the 3000m, but Cam Myers seemed to get a second wind and chased Davies, eventually passing him and going on for a strong win in 7:46.38, breaking his own Australian under-20 record with a time of 7:47.38.


It was the last event on the program and after numerous media interviews, the medal presentation, Cam Myers joined a patience throng of fans numbering over 100. He graciously signed every autograph and took every selfie, thanking each person for coming to watch him run.


Women’s 4x100m Relay: National record five-years in the making


24-years-ago, at altitude in South Africia, in the leadup to the Sydney Olympics, the Australian team of Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Rachael Massey, Jodie Lambert and Suzanne Broderick broke the National 4x100m relay clocking a time of 42.99.


In 2019, the line-up of Sally Pearson, Maddie Coates, Riley Day and Naa Anang scared the Australian record clocking the fastest time for 19 years. Over the ensuring five years the baton has been picked up by about 20 sprinters as they pushed for this record. Finally, the record, which was on borrowed time, went down last night in Sydney when the team of Ebony Lane, Bree Masters, Ella Connolly and Torrie Lewis combined to clock 42.94.


Bree Masters rightfully recognised the combined effort.

“The time solidifies how well our team is going. This record is just as much for the other girls as it is ours as they have been working hard behind the scenes too.”


Ella Connolly highlighted why they have been working well together.

“We are all friends off the track and I’m really proud of the girls.”

The Australian B team of Sam Geddes, Kristie Edwards, Mia Gross and Naa Anang clocked 43.45 – the 16th fastest ever Australian time.


Women’s 100m hurdles: swings and roundabouts

In 2022 and 2023, with Liz Clay injured, Michelle Jenneke was the clear number one Aussie. It was not because of Clay’s absence, but Jenneke was experiencing a resurgence in her career with four times faster than Clay had every run. This season Jenneke has been good, but Clay was back to her best with the season leading time of 12.93. The scene was set, and it delivered with just 0.003 seconds separating the pair, with Clay taking the win in 12.97, while Jenneke clocked a season’s best of 12.97.



  • In the B 3000m Michael Roeger smashed his own 10-year-old National T46 record by 20 seconds, clocking 8:12.30.

  • Three NSW athletes chasing their first world junior qualifier were close to the standards. Mitchell Hatfield in the high jump cleared 2.10 (standard 2.13m), Mason McGroder long jump 7.40m (7.56m) and Mia Toohey 3000m 9:33.76 (standard 9:32).

  • World Junior qualifiers: Olivia Inkster NSW 100m 11.76, Delta Amidzovski NSW 13.51, Tayissa Buchanan 800m 2:07.16, Calab Law QLD 100m 10.40 and Zarah Hagan QLD 100m 11.77.

  • The intrigue of the men’s 110m hurdles and Olympic prospects via world athletics points continued with 0.02 seconds separating the top-3: Chris Douglas 13.91, Tayleb Willis 13.92 and Jacob McCorry 13.93.

  • Victorian 200/400 champion, Cooper Sherman, 20, clocked a PB of 45.71 to win the 400m and enhance Australia’s growing depth.

  • Chris Mitrevski, hit his first 8.00m jump for two years to win the long jump by 1cm over Zane Branco’s PB 7.99m.
  • The Australian under-20 girls also broke the National record they had recently set in New Zealand. Clocking 44.34, the lowered the old mark of 44.49.


David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW

Image: Jessica Hull at the 2024 Sydney Track Classic (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)