Merewether’s Rose Davies looms as Australia’s top hope in the prestigious 5,000m event at this month’s Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne.
Five of the nation’s 10 fastest women in history, over the distance, will converge on Lakeside Stadium on Thursday 15 February.
And, they’ll face Ethiopian teenager and African under-20 record holder Aynadis Mebratu, too.
Aussie Olympic trio Genevieve Gregson (2:23.08), Isobel Batt-Doyle (2:23.27) and Eloise Wellings (2:25.47) all nailed the Paris 2024 qualifying standard at December’s Valencia Marathon.
Even though they’re dropping down in distance for the meeting, they don’t plan on merely filling the numbers.
Gregson and Wellings were both Games finalists in the discipline at Rio 2016 while Batt-Doyle raced the event on Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 alongside Davies.
In fact, the local runner has qualified for the 5,000m on four consecutive Australian teams.
With the Olympic standard set at 14:52.00 and only three Australian women having broken the 15-minute barrier, the numbers are not enough to deter Davies from a breakthrough performance on home soil.
“Last year was a big stepping stone for me,” she said.
“I was really happy with my race in Budapest, even though it was bittersweet missing out on the final by two spots.
“The 5,000m is my pet event.
“I’m feeling confident coming into this year… and I just want to race my best and to my full potential.”
Davies said her plan was simple.
“The goal is to run as fast as we can and drag as many girls as we can across the line,” she explained.
“Izzi (Batt-Doyle) and I obviously want the 5k time and it’s a good opportunity to run a quick race.
“So, that’s definitely the goal in the back of my mind.”
Meanwhile, the determined Gregson has proven time and time again that she is never to be written off, finding an added incentive to produce her absolute best at the Maurie Plant Meet after an altitude training block at Falls Creek alongside Davies, Batt-Doyle and Wellings.
“This meet is always going to be very special to me,” she said.
“Maurie Plant was always such a significant person in my career.
“He gave me so many opportunities.
“Not only that, Maurie was such a big supporter of Ryan (Gregson) and I whether it was a good day or a bad day.
“Of course, I want to try to win it.
“My heart is completely set on the marathon, but I genuinely believe I am in personal best shape for every distance.
“It would be really special to do that in the 5k after my personal best from 2016.
“It’s an opportunity to run fast and compete well… and I don’t feel that pressure on me.”
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