Top Notch 400m Squad Coming
Mike Hurst knows a thing or two about sprinting.
He’s one of the most respected coaches of 400m athletes in Australia, having guided athletes to five consecutive Olympic Games, including current Australian men’s 400m record holder Darren Clark.
This summer he’s opted to bring his squad of stars to the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, adding depth to a rapidly deepening pool of mainland backmarkers.
Among them will be Australia’s 4 x 400m anchor pair of Ian Halpin and Ben Bennett from the World Athletics Championships in Doha last year.
They’ll be joined by the top two NSW 400m Hurdlers in Matt Crowe and Tom Hunt, along with fellow one lap leaper Scarlett Pye.
Bennett will be reunited with her relay team member from last year’s World Championships, Bendere Oboya. While Oboya raced the series last summer, this will be Bennett’s first appearance in Tasmania and first race of the season. The entire squad are set to cram 3 days of racing over the 5-day trip, taking in both ends of the state.
“We’re all super excited to compete in Tasmania. We can’t wait to head down and explore the state and compete at Hobart, Penguin and Burnie. It will be my first run for the season after having a chunk of time off this year,” 21-year-old Bennett said.
Halpin said he was excited to compete at this stage of the season given all that athletes have missed out on in 2020.
“This will be my first trip to Tasmania. I am eager to breath the cleanest air in the world. I've never had a handicapped race before. This will be a totally new experience for me. I'm excited,” said Halpin who carries a 400m lifetime best of 46.39.
Crowe last raced as a junior in Tasmania and will be looking for a more positive experience compared to his debut performance on the southernmost states soil.
“I’ve competed in Tasmania before back in Hobart for all schools’ nationals in the 400m and got disqualified for running on the line. I expect it to be a competitive scene with a different atmosphere to what I’m used to.
“I’m excited for a new type of racing and the experience that comes with it. I have heard about the meets but not much. I’m going to try my best and hopefully come home with some money,” Crowe laughed.
Hurst also coaches Hobart athlete Amy Pedder by distance. Pedder played a key role in convincing the squad to experience the thrill of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals this summer.
The Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania will be supporting the following carnivals this summer;
29 November - Richmond (Running)
5 December - DAC/MVCC (Running/Cycling)
13 December - PCCCT/CBCC (Running/Cycling)
19 December - Rosebery (Running/Cycling/Woodchopping)
27 December - Hobart (Running/Cycling)
28 December - Launceston (Cycling)
29 December - Penguin (Running)
30 December - Georgetown (Cycling)
31 December - Burnie (Running/Cycling/Woodchopping)
10 January - TAL (Penguin) (Running)
24 January - DAC/MVCC (Running/Cycling)
31 January - OVA (Hobart) (Running)