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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Collis Birmingham ready to go at Hunter TC

Collis Birmingham ready to go at Hunter TC

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1 Collis Birmingham ready to go at Hunter TC on Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:12 am

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http://www.nswathletics.org.au/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=NewsItem&NewsID=17030

Hunter Track Classic: It’s Birmingham or bust
ANSW Website
12 January 2011


Australia’s best distance runner Collis Birmingham will contest the 3000m at the Hunter Track Classic on January 29. Birmingham finished sixth in the Commonwealth Games 5000m in Dehli and has a personal best of 13:10.97 for the distance. He holds the Australian record for the 10000m clocking 27:29.73 in 2009, to surpass the great Ron Clarke’s and more recently Sean Creighton’s marks.

``Add to this his regular sub 4 minute mile performances and you have a very special athlete,’’ Track Classic organizer Scott Westcott said.

Birmingham’s coach Nic Bideau said Collis used his great natural speed to advantage.

``He’s like a diesel, once he gets rolling he doesn’t stop,” Bideau said.

``He is training for his debut marathon in London this April and we want something to break up the monotony of marathon training.

``The Hunter Track Classic is perfect timing and Collis is never far away from being at his best over 3000m”.

A 7:42.39 set last year in the IAAF Diamond League in London is Collis’ personal best for 3000m, a mark that would supersede the Hunter Sports Centre record of 7:46.23 set by Kenyan Stephen Cherono in 2001.

But it won’t be all plain sailing for Birmingham with American stars Craig Miller and Jack Bolas travelling from the USA for the race and a stint in the Australian sun. ``These guys are from Wisconsin,’’ Bideau said.

``It’s freezing over there and when they had heard about the quality racing and training in Australia they asked me if they could come out for a few weeks.’’

Both Millar and Bolas are college graduates who are beginning their careers as professional athletes. They will be joined by Australian Dehli 5000m representative David McNeil (Melbourne) and regular World Cross Country representative Liam Adams (Melbourne) in the 3000m. Newcastle University student Paul Hoffman, a 1500m specialist who lives in Merewether, will wave the local flag.

Hoffman moved to Newcastle 12 months ago to study engineering. “It will be a great opportunity to get into such a good quality race here in Newcastle. I can’t wait,” he said.

Australia’s only two distance runners at the Dehli Commonwealth Games Eloise Wellings (5000m and 10000m) and Kaila McKnight (1500m) along with Sydney 2000 Olympics representative Georgie Clarke will contest the women’s race.

``To have both of our Commonwealth Games representatives in the women’s race and a group of internationals in the men’s field is an outstanding stamp of approval for the Hunter Classic,’’ Westcott said.

The Hunter Track Classic is on January 29 at the Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale. First race at 5pm. Tickets are available at Greater Building Society branches and online at www.huntertrackclassic.com.au

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