Sinéad Diver 6th in Zátopek 10 in Melbourne

Sinéad in pre race interview (screenshot)

One of the biggest events on the Australian Athletics calendar is the Zátopek 10. It has been held for over 60 years, and is a benchmark for Australian distance running.

Today is Australia Day – January 26 – and the Zátopek 10 was the 2020 edition of the event, held in 2021 due to COVID-19.

It took place at Box Hill athletics track in Melbourne.

The schedule featured some of Australia’s most elite track and field athletes across a range of events – headlined by the men’s and women’s 10,000m, which doubles as the national championships.

Restrictions for public events applied with a limit of 1000 people within the venue in groups of no more than 100 people.

The women’s race began in 1976. Sinéad Diver won the 10,000 metres national title in 2019 with an impressive time of 31:50.98 which represented a new personal best.

Although Sinéad’s focus is on the marathon in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, today’s race was her second successive 10k since the elite London Marathon last October.

She finished fifth (32:16) last month on the road in a 10k at  Launceston, Tasmania. The winner that day was Genevieve Gregson (32:00) who went into today’s race as favourite.

A number of the runners were looking to get the Olympic qualifying time 31:25. Gregson led at halfway in 15:50 with Sinéad well up in third. However, as the pace increased Sinéad fell back to 6th over the next few laps. Gregson also slipped back but hung on for bronze behind the 21year old winner Rose Davies 31:39. Sinéad came home a very creditable 32.36 in 6th. Nine finishers came home in under 33 minutes.

Well done, Sinéad!

Zátopek 10 women’s finish times: