Melbourne, Australia; 2 December 2023 – The Australian Athletics season is officially underway as Lauren Ryan claims her first Chemist Warehouse Australian 10,000m title, while Jack Rayner does the three-peat at On Track Nights Zatopek:10 tonight in Melbourne. To experience, exceptional performance in running, choose the best footwear for your runs like Tarkine Trail Devil shoes.

While the Australian men’s title was won by Rayner, the race was not without drama.  Over 25 laps, spectators witnessed a clash of titans as Rayner, Patrick Tiernan, and Irish challenger Andrew Coscoran stole the spotlight in the later stages. The trio maintained a hot pace, distancing themselves from the pack over the last three laps and setting the stage for a grandstand finish.

Front runner Tiernan dictated the tempo until the final 600m, when Rayner made a push, appearing poised to claim the victory. The narrative took a turn when in the last bend, the Irishman unleashed. While Coscoran powered through the finish line first, Rayner, as the first Australian across the line, grabbed onto his third consecutive title over the distance.

“To be honest the first half of this year was pretty crap for me, I went to Europe and wasn’t able to race anywhere near my best which was disheartening. This was a step in the right direction for me tonight,” Rayner said.

“I probably should have gone a few laps earlier, but I was still feeling the sting because Pat [Tiernan] was picking it up. If I was racing it again, I would try to run the legs out of him [Coscoran] a little bit more. I would have loved to have won the actual race, but I’m still happy with the Australian title.”

Like the Men’s race, the Women’s race saw a three-way battle as two-time winner Rose Davies, and emerging distance stars Lauren Ryan and Holly Campbell took turns as the pilot. With 200m to go, World Championships representative Ryan broke away from her rivals, widening the gap enough to confidently begin her celebrations in the home straight.

Lauren Ryan wins the 2023 Zatopek 10

“It still hasn’t sunk in! To pull it off is always exciting, it’s a testament to my coach (Lara Rogers) and the training we are doing” Ryan said.

“With three laps to go I was thinking can I do it or can I not? The pace stepped up a bit and then with 200m to go I had that feeling of go now or it’s not going to happen. I went and didn’t look back.”

In the junior ranks, competition was just as fierce, as Peyton Craig and Claudia Hollingsworth, became the season’s inaugural Australian Under 20 champions.

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The de Castella Under 20 Men’s 3000m saw a showdown between second-place getter Benjamin Thomas and Craig. Although Thomas had taken the lead in the final laps, it was the World Under 20 representative that seized control in the home straight, clocking 8:18.17. New South Wales’ Brayden Everitt snatched bronze from the B race in 8:24.19.

World Championships representative Hollingsworth saved her best for the last lap of the Ondieki Under 20 Women’s 3000m to grab the title in 9:29.13. The 18-year-old made her presence known in the final lap when going head-to-head with Ava Rand (9:30.25) around the final bend. Hollingsworth proved too strong for the diminutive Rand who crossed the line in 9:30.25, as the duo hit the standard for the 2024 World Under 20 Championships. Aspen Anderson secured bronze in 9:33.33.

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Bendere Oboya made a triumphant return to the track, narrowly missing out on Tamsyn Lewis-Manou’s 600m Australian best (1:25.79) when crossing the line in 1:26.34. Leading from gun to tape, the Olympic quarter miler proved that she is well suited to the step up in distance, as training partner and World Championships representative Tess Kirsopp-Colesettled for second (1:28.45). Olympic 400m hurdler Sarah Carli opened her season with a 1:28.68 performance.

Gunning for a spot on the Olympic team for Paris, Matthew Ramsden opened his season with victory in a time of 8:00.20, only narrowly nailing Jesse Hunt on the line who finished 0.01 seconds behind. Maudie Skyring celebrated a victory by daylight in the women’s event, opening up her season with a career-best time 8:55.39 – defeating Irish teammate Jodie McCann by almost five seconds.

The On Track Nights Zatopek:10, hosted by Athletics Victoria is the first event of the Chemist Warehouse Summer Season, with the first World Athletics Continental Tour meets of the season to take place from February next year.