A beautiful night in Geelong
The Steigen Spectactular, held at John Landy field in Geelong, is by any measure a small meet. Less than a decade old, the schedule boasts six track races, two junior races, and pole vault.
The Steigen Spectacular is also what Australian athletics needs more of. It feels like a country carnival; free entry, families enjoying picnics, plenty of laughter, and the opportunity to get close to the action on the track. It also just so happens that the meet attracts Olympians, national record holders, and future hopefuls. Sure, a lot of the athlete talent is drawn by the generous prizemoney on offer (something else Australian athletics needs more of), but one gets the impression the athletes genuinely love coming to this meet, hosted just a couple of days out from Christmas.
We were there for the women's 5000m, the men's mile, and the men's 10000m.
The women's 5000m was dominated by Sinead Diver and Melissa Duncan. Diver, fresh off winning the 10000m national title a week ago at Zátopek, has shown remarkable range - it was only two months ago she won the Melbourne Marathon in a course record time.
As the bell sounded, Diver made her move and stretched Duncan ever so slightly. Diver crossing the line in 15:23.65, with Duncan close behind in 15:25.02.
The men's mile was headlined by Jordy Williamsz, with MTC teammate Jack Rayner also in the race - which was to be paced by Lachie Barber.
There was extra incentive to go quick, with $1,000 on the line for 1st place, and another $1,000 if the winning time was sub 4.
Williamsz took the win, breaking clear in the straight to edge out his mate Rayner. Williamsz in 4:00.94, with Rayner stopping the clock in 4:01.24.
Finally, the men's 10000m. After the Zátopek 10000m last week (which doubles as the national championships), the field for this race is typically aimed at the next tier - and usually sees extremely competitive fields around the 30 minute mark.
The buzz this year was around Olympian Brett Robinson - fresh off an unsuccessful marathon debut in Fukuoka, Robinson was the hot favourite to win here.
Robinson eventually shut the race down with a couple of laps to go, moving away from Joel Tobin-White to take the win in 29:13.18, with Tobin-White coming in at 29:25.04.