The weather was beautiful for Illawarra Blue Stars cross-country groups as they competed on courses at Fairy Meadow, Bulli Beach and last weekend loops outside the Beaton Park Leisure Centre.
All courses have been different and offer a variety of terrain, the loop course at Beaton Park being a sprinter's dream over the shorter 2.26km distance.
Junior sprinter Zaiden Phan scorched over the course to record a smart 10min 13.83sec ahead of masters sprinter Andrew Roda and a fast-finishing Rebecca Dos Santos.
Over the longer distance Jessica Hogg ran 4.52km in 19min 52.16sec from Tim Martin in 20min 10.17sec and Corey Hogg in 3rd.
The previous week was a little overcast early in the morning but turned out to be a great day over a course that offers everything, at Bulli Beach. Flat terrain, onto a hard sand, then up stairs and up hills, to finish with a downhill run to the finish.
Chris Thurbon took the long course honours over the 5km course from Rebecca Dos Santos and under 12 athlete Imogen Anderson, who is showing a lot of talent over the long courses.
The short course quickest time went to Andrew Roda in 10min 34.19sec from Kaitlyn Neto and Rebecca Anderson in third.
The first round was conducted from the Fairy Meadow surf club. To many, it is one of the easiest courses but one that tests athletes out when they have had a break from the sport.
Short-course fastest time was recorded by Liam Ryan in 14min 51sec from Rebecca Dos Santos, 14.52 and Andrew Roda ,whilst the longer course time was set by Chris Thurbon with York Yu second quickest and Imogen Anderson third fastest.
Next weekend we will see athletes tested out over the beautiful and trying course at Minnumurra.
The course, classed as the toughest of all of the courses, offers everything, but it is the hard hills that see athletes suffer as they move from an uphill battle then into a low lying area that is just as tough.
But the surrounds make up for it and with a beautiful backdrop; athletes also class it as one of the best.
Blue Stars have been unable to move onto the Kerryn McCann Athletics Centre as yet, but we are hoping that the first winter track and field meet will be held in July. The club is preparing a Back to Sport submission and both athletes and coaches have to be patient and understanding that this cannot take place until we are given the okay by management and the council.
If the club returns to the winter track and field program in July, the format will be a two-tiered meet, with one in July and the other in August prior to the club moving into summer comp in September.
At the time of this column going to print, Athletics NSW is bringing together all clubs in a Zoom meet to notify clubs of:
a. Change of the winter program;
b. Coming up summer program;
c. The effects coronavirus has had on the sport in general.
It will be interesting to see the changed winter program as many events in years gone by were reasonably spaced out but with limited time left for winter comp, many athletes may have to choose due to the anticipated closeness of events.
Sad to hear the school sport has been cancelled with many athletes having their last years at school and the chance to represent. Athletics NSW will become the major events for school-age athletes and we hope that all events can go ahead as normal.