Linden Hall has reclaimed her title as a national record holder after scorching her way around Hagenauer Reserve in the 1000m at the Box Hill Burn overnight, while Stewart McSweyn has posted yet another Olympic qualifier in the 5000m. 

Clocking 2:35.90 over 1000m, Hall defeated a stack field assembled for Catriona Bisset’s 30 for 30 fundraiser – which has now hit $20,000 of donations for Lifeline and raised signficant awareness for mental health. https://www.givenow.com.au/crowdraiser/public/30for30 

Catch all the action below along with race videos thanks to Athletics Exclusive.

In trademark fashion, Hall was slow off the line and had to bide her time – running over 300m before even stepping foot in the preferred lane one. After finding the rail, the Olympian took full advantage of Bisset’s willingness to lead the charge before the bell ignited a lethal kick from the former 1500m national record holder. 

Hall proved too slick for the field over the final lap, with 15-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth (Craig Mottram) also in second place also dipping under Brittany Kaan’s former record of 2:37.80 when running 2:36.72. Securing the Australian U18 and U20 records, along with the 15-year-old and 16-year-old world age best were a suitable reward for the prodigious junior’s incredible run. Bisset (Peter Fortune) finished in third place in a time of 2:38.42, taking her to 5th on the Australian all-time list for the event. 

Hall was delighted to be back in the national record holder’s circle, along with bettering Angela Petty’s Oceania record of 2:37.28 –  albeit over an obscure distance. 

“I lost the 1500m record last year so it’s nice to get one under the belt again and add that to the list, hopefully I can have a crack at the 1500 time again soon,” she said.

“When I went I couldn’t really feel anyone on me and I was wondering if there was an extra lap or something – it’s an unfamiliar distance and I thought I’d made a mistake.” 

Other standout events, including the Men’s 5000m which saw Stewart McSweyn (Nic Bideau) attempt to break Craig Mottram’s national record of 12:55.76, the women’s 5000m which saw Isobel Batt-Doyle (Maurica Powell) come so close to an Olympic qualifier as well as a scorching hot race from Peter Bol in the Men’s 1000m.  

Men’s 5000m

All eyes in the Men’s 5000m were on McSweyn, who had intentions of chasing Craig Mottram’s national record of 12:55.76. McSweyn was brave in pursuit of the immense feat, finishing in a time of 13:05.87 – the fastest 5000m time on Australian soil since the 2006 Commonwealth Games and narrowly outside his personal best. 

The time is yet another addition to the Tasmanian’s haul of Olympic qualifiers – now meeting the standards in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m with ease. But McSweyn says he still has to get better. 

“The big focus is the Olympics this year, obviously I’ve got to get better from here,” he said. 

McSweyn has only raced twice since returning from the 2020 European season, with a 3:50.61 mile and now 13:05.87 5000m indicating that one of Australia’s greatest medal hopefuls in Tokyo is brewing a big season in 2021. 

Matthew Ramsden (Nic Bideau) finished in second place when clocking 13:19.52, only marginally outside his personal best of 13:16.63 and leaving the 13:13.50 Olympic qualifier a realistic goal for the Western Australian this season – having already qualified for the 1500m.

Women’s 5000m

It was a bittersweet result for Isobel Batt-Doyle (Riley Cocks) in the Women’s 5000m – running a huge personal best of 15:11.07 but falling just outside the Olympic standard of 15:10.0 in the process. 

Batt-Doyle was left in the lead after Rose Davies withdrew midway through the race, making the time even more noteworthy. 

 “I went into the race thinking that I would be chasing someone so that mentality switch was something I had to adjust to mid race,” she said. 

The South Australian adjusted sensationally during the race on her way to a breakthrough performance – adjusting her goals for the season as a result. 

 “I felt 15:10 was a bit of a stretch so to see the clock stop at 15:11 obviously I had mixed feelings knowing that it was so close to the Olympic qualifying time, but I ran the race the best that I could and couldn’t try any harder,” she said. 

“Getting on the plane to Tokyo is my goal.” 

Batt-Doyle improved on her own South Australian state record of 15:26.48 and will likely have multiple attempts at the 5000m in 2021. 

Men’s 10,000m

Peter Bol (Justin Rinaldi) continued his winning ways when holding off New Zealand’s Brad Mathas (Justin Rinaldi) in the home straight of the Men’s 1000m, winning in a time of 2:18.79. 

Bol has proven to be in fine form in 2021, with a 1500m personal best and a 1;47.01 time in the 800m at the Coles Summer Super Series establishing him as the man to beat over 800m. 

The Fast8TrackClub member said he enjoyed the battle over 1000m with his training partner Mathas, now turning his attention to both Canberra and Sydney Track Classics where he will look to take his 2021 campaign to another level.

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