Bathurst’s relay side win category at World Athletics Cross Country Championships public race

Aaron Houston, Miller Rivett, Jenn Arnold, Stephen Jackson, Brandon Martin and Max Martinez following Saturday’s relay race. Picture contributed.

BATHURST’S Aaron Houston, Miller Rivett, Brandon Martin and Max Martinez celebrated a golden performance in Saturday’s corporate and public teams relay race at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships on Mount Panorama.

The Bathurst quartet, under the moniker of ‘The Punishers’, lived up to that title by being the winners of the open relay category in a time of 26 minutes and 37 seconds.

Only one other quartet among the 69 teams who took part were able to beat the home city squad, with just three seconds separating the Punishers and corporate team category champions Universal Strength & Conditioning.

The event brought together the four fastest local Bathurst parkrun competitors for the first time in a team environment.

Martinez, who originally floated the idea of forming the group, ran the final leg for the team.

He found himself in a great fight for the overall lead inside the last kilometre of the race and enjoyed the thrill of the chase.

“It was a pretty cool experience to run on the same course that the pros would be running on later in the day. The atmosphere was great, and having the Bathurst crowd behind us,” he said.

The efforts from Houston and Rivett were impressive considering they had raced all-out just a day earlier in the World Athletics Cross Country Championships under 20s golden ticket event.

With the top seven spots gaining a spot in the World Championship race Houston and Rivett put everything they had into it.

They weren’t far away from the top seven either.

Houston finished 11th in a time of 14:33, just 15 seconds away from the top seven, while Rivett was 15th (14:38).

“Aaron and Miller did really well considering they’d run a race before. It was impressive from them to help us run second,” Martinez said.

“We were around seventh when Aaron handed over to Brandon, and he and Miller made up a couple of spots. When Miller handed on to me the commentators were saying there was about a 100 metre gap between me and first place.

“I went flat out to try and see what I could do. I caught up to first place towards the end but I had nothing left on the uphill at the tyres because I’d used up all my energy trying to catch up.

“Before the race we thought if we could finish top 10 then we’d be pretty stoked. Doing that in our backyard in our hometown was special.”

The Western Advocate, by Alex Grant

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