Pole position for Adams as Essendon wins again at Sandown
Athletics Essendon’s Liam Adams recorded the fastest individual split of the day to guide his team to a dominant victory at the Sandown Relays on Saturday, July 11.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon representative clocked a lightning-quick 17min 41sec for the sixth and final leg of the 6.2km course to see his team stop the clock at 1hr 57min 15sec and secure victory in Division 2 by almost five minutes.
Adams was the only runner in any division to break 18min, in the process setting a course record of sorts, with organisers this year breaking with 50 years of Sandown tradition by having runners travel in a clockwise direction around the famed Springvale motor racing circuit.
Teammate Mitchel Brown (18min 10sec) was the next fastest in the individual standings, but it was strong performances across the board that set up the win for Essendon.
Seventeen-year-old James Wrout showed plenty of promise of things to come in his second hitout in the open ranks for the year, his impressive opening leg of 20:42 placing Essendon ninth at the first change but well within striking distance of the leaders.
From there, Adrian Phelan (20:48), Craig Semple (19:07), Jeremy Drake (20:47) and Brown combined to gradually move through the field and ensure Adams took the tag with the team already in the lead.
The result marks Essendon’s third straight Division 2 win in Athletics Victoria’s XCR’15 season of cross country and road racing and would have been good enough for fourth place in Premier Division, but the Division 2 premiership is by no means a certainty.
The club currently sits fourth on the ladder, eight points behind competition leaders Doncaster, on the back of some disappointing early-season results and will have to win all four remaining XCR’15 rounds to be assured of the title.
The XCR’15 season continues on Saturday, August 1 with the 16km cross country at Brimbank Park, Keilor East.