Records fall at Melbourne's home of running
Ever since the digital clocks were installed years ago at The Tan, the lap records have been targeted by eager amateurs desperate to see how they stack up. The most famous record belongs to Craig Mottram, and has stood since 2006, while Gen Gregson broke the women's record in 2020.
Run The Tan marks the first 'official' pro race around The Tan (Athletics Victoria hosts Tan Relays each year and there are some other races that make use of the course), offering up $2,500 for the winners and bonuses for broken records. This, along with a great competitive spirit in the Melbourne running community saw the pros come out to play.
Both the men's and women's races boasted Olympic finalists and Australian record holders. The women's race also boasted two of the world's premier marathoners in Sinead Diver and Ellie Pashley.
The men's race kicked off at 9am, with the elite women setting off 2 minutes later at 9:02am.
One of the quirks of racing The Tan is the 'road furniture' as they would call it in cycling. The Tan isn't a space that can technically be closed off to the public, meaning the runners had to contend with hundreds of other Melbournians out for a morning jog. or stroll.
Anyway, by the time they hit Anderson St, Stewy McSweyn was doing #stewythings, and had established a handy lead. Meanwhile, the women's race was starting.
The men's chase group was made up primarily of Dave McNeill, Ryan Gregson, and Jack Bruce.
In the women's race, the hill sorted out the pack and established an order to the field - Linden Hall and Gen Gregson setting the pace, with Georgia Hansen and Melissa Duncan not far behind as the pack neared the crest.
As Stewy split halfway in 5:05, a record seemed almost inevitable - the back half of the course predominantly downhill, McSweyn needed only a 3 second negative split to set a record.
The move had been made in the women's race - Hall pushing on after the hill and taking the lead, with Gregson and Hansen behind.
As the clock ticked up towards 10 minutes, anticipation for McSweyn's imminent arrival was building. It was going to come down to the second, McSweyn eventually rounding the corner into the chute just 1 second shy of Mottram's famous record. Ryan Gregson put in a huge run for 2nd, followed by Dave McNeill.
While McSweyn missed out, Linden Hall made it a record breaking day at The Tan, stopping the clock in 11:35, taking 19 seconds off the record set by Gen Gregson in 2020. Georgia Hansen was second, with Gregson coming home 3rd.
Finally, a massive shout out to Jaryd Clifford for setting a new benchmark for para athletes. Jaryd had to switch guides halfway around the lap because there are very few athletes who can keep up with him. Jaryd clocked 11:09 and continues to show why he is one of the world's best.