It was a double Tallent win at the IAAF Race Walking Championships in Hobart, with Jared (Vic) winning the men’s 20km open in 1:23:01 and Claire (SA) winning the women’s 20km in 1:32:58, an Olympic qualifying time. While Alana Boyd (WA) set an Australian record in the pole vault on Friday night in Perth.
In testing conditions, with the race starting at a searing 38 degrees, Claire Tallent sat alongside Regan Lamble (Vic) for the first lap before making her break and maintaining the pole position.
Beki Lee had held the third spot for majority of the race until Zuzana Schinderalova (CZE) went past her with just over two laps to go. Lamble went on to finish in second place in 1:36:31, with Lee taking the fourth overall but the third Australian spot in 1:39:16.
Tallent said: “My whole year has been about qualifying for the Olympics, my family and my nephews booked their flights a few months ago so it’s been about getting there.
“It was actually ironic as it’s the first year in three or four that we hadn’t done any sort of heat training through the summer. But having said that we’ve done enough preparation, for Beijing, Delhi and Daegu for the heat so we had our protocols down pat.
“The heat didn’t stress us so much, we had done all the work before we got here so just jumped into it and tried our best to get the job done today.
“Jared and I have now doubled up in 2010, 2011 and 2012. I had an amazing experience in 2008 going to the Olympics with Jared so the last four years have been working towards getting there again.”
In the men’s competition Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) made the early move in the men’s competition, with a quick break and lead but the trio of Jared Tallent, Adam Rutter (NSW) and Inaki Gomez (CAN) stayed close.
It wasn’t long before Tallent broke, and from then on the world championship 50km bronze medalist continued to advance.
Two-time national 50km champion Chris Erickson (Vic) made up good ground, having initially sat behind the trailing trio before powering through to second place, a position he held until the end.
Gomez crossed the line in third while Rutter came fourth, but the third Australian in 1:26:04. Bird-Smith finished in 1:28:12 to place fifth.
Tallent said: “It wasn’t easy at all, it was pretty brutal out there with the heat on the first 10km, that really took it out on me.
“I’m very proud of Claire. It’s our third Hobart race in a row that we’ve won together and my fifth national title in a row.
“It’s been a big thing for Claire, with the other girls coming through, so to see her race really well today and win was very special.
“Everything seems to be going really well this year, everything is on track for London. This year is all hopefully about winning at the Olympics after coming second and third last time. I have to pay tribute to my coach Brett Vallance, he’s been doing a lot for us to get ready for today’s hot weather with the pre-cooling and ice vests.
“Early on I just wanted to sit back and see where the others were and be conservative early on. I don’t know what the temperature was but it must’ve been at least mid thirties so was always going to take its toll on us.”
There was a third Tallent victory, in the women’s under 20 10000m walk, with Rachel taking the title in 49:28. Jessica Pickles crossed the line behind her in 52:45 and Shannon Jennings (NSW) was third in 54:25.
Blake Steele won the under 20 men’s 10000m walk in 43:46, a world junior championship qualifier, while Nathan Brill finished in 46:02. Jesse Osborne was third in 47:12.
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