Andy Buchanan’s race report – Zatopek – Australian 10,000m Track Championship

Mel Douglass

Congratulations to UNI’s Andy Buchanan on his superb run in his first Zatopek 10,000m, running a new PB in a time of 29.08.89 and finishing 7th in a high quality field. Olympians, world championship athletes and national titles were aplenty among the fields the athletes faced.

Andy has kindly written a race report for your reading:

Andy’s race report:

Zatopek 10; Australian 10,000m Championship; 2018 Commonwealth Games Selection Trial, or simply put, 25 laps of Lakeside Stadium. I was lucky enough to gain selection into Zatopek 2017, arguably the most prestigious race on the calendar. Zatopek was the third ‘A race’ of the year (Gold Coast Half, National XC been the other two) which allowed for plenty of time to think about all of those laps. With a possible automatic spot on the Comm Games Team up for grabs there was a strong field with a number of Olympians, World Champ Reps and multiple Australian Champions lining up. I was lucky that while there was a high quality at the top, the middle and back of the back wasn’t quite as strong as pervious years (going on PB’s) and there was no pacers assigned. Training prep involved a lot of laps of LUBAC, sorry Greeny a few (every) of these laps were in Lane 1. With a few sessions on the tracked involving 10x1k, 4x2k, 2mile-800m-1mile-1mile. Which essentially was trying to get me used to running lap after lap after lap or as I’m convinced, trying to make me stupider. As race-day grew closer, I was surprised at the high level of interest by the broader running community. This interest grew as Teleah was also announced in the women’s event and a number of juniors also getting a spot in the U20’s 3000m. Race-day arrived and again I was surprised at the number of Bendigo people that had travelled down to Lakeside to watch the Teleah, Yasmin, Taryn and myself run. Sitting in the call-room, it is a strange feeling, after training so hard for the last few months for this one race and then having Pat Tiernan (11th at World XC 2017) sit right next to you. I was reasonably relaxed, I’m not one to get too nervous and I knew that there were 25 laps ahead of me. As the race started I didn’t want to get shuffled to the back, but didn’t want to run in lane 2 for too long so I quickly found a spot on the rail. Once we went through the first lap in 71-72 seconds I knew the boys were chasing a fast time. The first 5k was pretty uneventful, going through in roughly 14:40 and a large lead pack. I kept finding myself behind a few runners who were finding the pace too quick with gaps appearing when we were running with the wind and then closing as the lead runners slowed running into the wind. Small gaps can quickly become big gaps so this kept me on my toes and slowly shuffled myself into 10th(I think) at 5k. A few different people went to the front to push the pace throughout the next few km’s which lead to a bit of surging and slowing. I was feeling good but not great, but knew that someone soon was going to make a move. With 4 and half laps to go, Pat made a surge, the race had begun. I saw the move and was nearly left standing still. I battled hard to the runner in front of me as the 8 other runners in front of my tried to latch onto the back on Pat. It is amazing how quick the last 4 laps go after already running 21! I held my own over the last mile, passed a few guys and didn’t get passed and finished in 7th in 29:08. Stewy McSweyn ran a lazy 4:08 for the last mile and stamped his Comm Games ticket by outkicking Tiernan in the last 100m to win. Post-race I was happy, 7th in a good field and a PB in my first Zatopek. The next day I thought my race was a ‘pass mark’. I had really wanted sub 29 and if I had my time again would of chased the pack harder when the break was made. But a PB with plenty of Bendigo people around is always a good race. A big thank you to all those who supported the Bendigo team down there in person or through messages. Hopefully this is just the start of the Zatopek Roadtrip!

Further reading is a report prepared by Craig Green on the Athletics Bendigo website and facebook page.