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Geraldton distance runners secure top-10 finishes at All Schools Carnival

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
The race starts.
Camera IconThe race starts. Credit: Thomas Campbell

About 3500 students from 79 WA schools descended on Perry Lakes Reserve in Floreat to compete for individual and school glory at the 57th Associated and Catholic Colleges of WA cross-country event last Thursday.

Three runners, Christi Bestry, Nicole Chamberlain and Samaia Friesen, all featured only two weeks after taking home top-10 finishes at the School Sports WA Cross Country Championships.

Bestry was the defending champion from last year when she ran a time of 15:13.43.

While Bestry would not finish on the podium this time all three runners had terrific meets to finish inside the top 10 of their respective divisions.

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Bestry finished in fourth place in the under-19 category finishing the 4km race in a time of 15:59.11 well off her personal best, 45 seconds off the podium and 1:14 behind the overall lead.

Friesen was close behind coming home in sixth place a further 21sec. further behind out of the 100 racers in the category.

Samaia’s sister Miela Friesen managed a respectable 25th in the under-15 race.

Chamberlain competed in the under-16s and took home fifth place with a time of 16:2.10 less than 1.5min. minutes off a podium.

ACC director of sport Kyle March said cross-country was a fast-growing discipline.

“I have had the pleasure of directing this event for the past 23 years and it has been wonderful to watch the event grow and develop and become the flagship event for the association,” Mr March said.

“There would have been around 16 schools and about 700 runners at that time.”

“Today the event is much more than a cross-country run. It is a celebration of community and physical activity, from each race’s start spectacle watching 400 runners charge across the reserve, to the inflatable finish arch.

For the first time, you could watch the finish of all the events on a live video stream through Streamer.

“What we have done is try to build an event that students want to be part of. It’s an event that gives them a challenge but also a fantastic day of fun,” March said.

While the Geraldton athletes finished outside of the medals it still represents a strong few weeks of competition with attention now turning to the Australian Cross Country Championships in August.

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