THE 2019 SEASON HOTS UP IN NEW SOUTH WALES
Track season in Australia can dish up anything. Two of the last three Zátopek meets have had rain, while the Steigen Spectacular just a week later was held in perfect conditions on a cool summer evening.
By late January, summer is in full effect and temperatures can be uncomfortable for spectators. The Hunter Track Classic, now in its 10th year, took place about 15 kilometers west of Newcastle on the New South Wales coast.
While not officially part of Athletics Australia’s ‘Summer Super Series’, the meet has always attracted some big names, including fan favourites Michelle Jenneke, Morgan Mitchell, and Luke Mathews.
All three showed their class throughout the evening - Jenneke couldn’t take a step off the track without being mobbed, Mathews invited local kids to join his cool down jog, and Mitchell had a scrum around her that would rival a Lebron James media pack.
First up was the 100m hurdles, which Jenneke took in 13.82. It’s early in her season, and she noted that she’s recently started an internship - meaning training fits around a 40 hour work week, no easy feat for a world class athlete.
The next event on the cards was the men's steeple, won by Adelaide runner Max Stevens in 8:52:29, from Matt Clarke (8:58:88).
Up next was the women's 100m, with Michelle Jenneke again the warm favourite. She didn't disappoint, clocking a 12.23, 2 hours after her hurdles race, pipping Monique Quirk.
Campbelltown athlete Anas Abu-Ganaba took out the men's 100m sprint and was justifiably buzzing with his performance after the race.
The women's 1500m boasted a big field, as 13 women took to the track, including 14 year old prodigy Imogen Stewart (in the Vaporfly's!).
Finally, the men's 1500m was a competitive field. Luke Mathews was racing for the first time since injuring himself in the US in mid-2018, with James Hansen and Rorey Hunter promising fireworks as well.
Finally, crowd favourite Morgan Mitchell took out the 600m; an uncommon event but a good hit out for Mitchell as she transitions to a season of 800m racing.