Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) is in the form of her life, with career best times in the 800m and 1500m this season joined by a 14-second improvement in her women’s 5000m mark at the IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham (GBR) this past weekend.
Returning to her Olympic event, the women’s 3000m steeplechase, in Oslo (NOR) tomorrow, the 26-year-old is brimming with confidence and has yet another personal best in her sights after clocking 9:32.67 in the event in Rabat (MAR) last month.
“The PB in Birmingham gave me great confidence. The main reason I run other events is to do exactly that. Most of my personal bests were from a few years back so tackling them all one-by-one this year has been a huge boost for me and my steeples. The 800m and 1500m results demonstrate that my power is improving and my huge 5000m time convinces me that I am fitter than I have ever been,” LaCaze said.
LaCaze will be joined on the start line by national steeplechase champion, Madeline Hills(NSW), with entry lists for the Bislett Games confirming the start of a strong green and gold contingent, including Morgan Mitchell (Vic, 400m), Ryan Gregson (Vic, 1500m), Brett Robinson(Vic, 5000m), Sally Pearson (Qld, 100mH) and Hamish Peacock (Tas, javelin).
Mitchell’s ran a women’s 400m personal best of 51.25 from lane eight in Birmingham (GBR), while Pearson clocked 12.92 in Montrueil (FRA) earlier today to improve on her opening international time of 13.25. Peacock’s most recent outing saw him throw 83.17m, his fourth best ever distance and third Olympic Games standard, in the men’s javelin.
“I had a look at the start lists last night and its pretty much Madeline and I against all the Africans in the steeple. It’s a stacked field which is so exciting because it will be fast. I think we are both looking to run quick in Oslo so it will be great to do that alongside a familiar face,” LaCaze added.
Coached by Nic Bideau, the head of the Melbourne Track Club, LaCaze credits the environment she finds herself in for her continued development as one of Australia’s best female middle distance runners.
“It can be tough to be away from family and friends most of the year, but the Melbourne Track Club has such a professional camp schedule. We are always based in locations that benefit where we need to be at that time of the year. Teddington, where we base in the UK, has been home to many of the best Australian distance runners, and it allows us to continue our training in an environment that has everything we need,” LaCaze said.
After Oslo (NOR), attention turns to Leiden (NED), where Damien Birkinhead (Vic) will take to the thrower’s circle in the men’s shot put, and Geneva (SUI), with Steven Solomon (NSW, 400m), Brittany McGowan (Qld, 800m), Nicholas Hough (NSW, 110mH) and Tristan Thomas (Tas, 400mH) confirmed.
Linden Hall (Vic), who is qualified in the women’s 1500m for Rio 2016, will compete one last time in Portland (USA) before returning to her Melbourne (Vic) base, while Jeff Riseley (Vic) and Alex Rowe (Vic) will both continue their push for Olympic selection on 14 June in Nancy (FRA) and Lucerne (SUI) respectively.