The Bacchus Marsh Little Athletics Centre Cross Country season kicked off on Saturday morning at Bostock Reservoir, Ballan.

Centre President, Sandra Ibrahim welcomed everyone to our 2024 Cross Country season and introduced our new Cross Country Co-ordinator, Andy Johansen.

We had our biggest ever turnout at Bostock, with 93 athletes toeing the start line in their allocated races.

Once again, this season we welcome Melton City Little Athletics Centre, who will join us for our weekly runs. Melton had 27 athletes compete this week. The Ballarat Little Athletics Centre was represented by 3 local athletes.

The morning’s competition commenced with the Under 6 athletes competing over a 500m distance. This was these athletes first taste of cross country running. The field took off quickly, taking advantage of the downhill start. At the turnaround point, athletes begun to string out. Mannat Kaur Deol was the first athlete home for Bacchus Marsh, very closely followed by Lenni-Rose Missen.

38 athletes contested the Under 7 & 8 1km event. Athletes jostled for their position on the start line and a flying start saw a few athletes chop and change for a clear running path. Athletes headed out into the pine plantation before the 500m turnaround. Under 7 athlete, Jordy Fenwick, in his first Cross Country run, was neck and neck with the Melton athlete and was just pipped on the finish line, Jordy was declared the winner for Bacchus Marsh.

The Under 9 & 10 athletes ran over a 1.5km course, with 25 athletes contesting the course. Under 10’s Harry Johansen was pushed to the finish by the visiting athletes but claimed victory for our Centre. Emilia Ibrahim looked comfortable over the distance and was a clear winner in the girl’s category.

The Under 11 & 12 athletes raced over 2kms. Iyla Robinson was a standout performer and in her preferred distance running, looks set for another successful season, recording a good win. Josh Askew, who also enjoys the longer distance, was the first boy across the finish line.

The senior runners completed a 3km course which saw athletes take a conservative approach to the start of their race before athletes proceeded out through the pine planation, along the gravel fire track. Athletes turned just prior to the roundabout whilst taking a slight detour through the pines before the return run along the gravel road. The gruelling uphill final 500 metres was a tough finish for athletes. Nicholas Ibrahim was first boy home for the Marsh while less than a second separated Lily Norman and Mathilde Grant for the girls.

All athletes enjoyed a free Ballan Butcher sausage at the conclusion of their races.

Thank you to all parents who volunteered, either on the BBQ, start/finish line, course marshals or rabbits/turtles, ensuring the morning ran very smoothly. And a big thank you to everyone who came out and cheered on the athletes.

Next week’s Cross Country meet will be held at Lake Dewar.

Directions – Take “Pykes Creek/Greendale” exit off the Western Freeway, turn left and follow the road past St. Anne’s Winery. Continue on this road (part gravel) to its end and enter through the iron gates at Lake Dewar and follow our signs to car parking.