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Cross country champs show their mettle on road in 4km Junior Dash

Queensland’s Luke Gorski put daylight between himself and the rest of the field early in the piece to dominate today’s Health and Wellbeing Queensland 4km Junior Dash.

The former Victorian-now-Queenslander took the race by over 200 metres from Finn Watt and Conor Mathewson who took second and third places respectively after a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint to the line.

Elke Rayward was the first girl to hit the tape ahead of Grace Campbell and Savannah Bush.

For Gorski the win was redemption for his seventh place in the event last year and the latest step in a successful conversion from cross country to road.

And he says that he had a little help in the early stages of the race and creating such a large break around the halfway mark was always part of the plan.

“I looked around and I saw a couple of kids that are really good runners, and I went with them early.

“But I knew that I’d have to crank it up sometime to create a break, so I did that, just a little earlier than I thought.

“It was good running on the road instead of cross country because it helped me see where my running is at,” Gorski said.

Rayward’s win bettered her second-place last year and is the latest brick in the sporting wall of the Queensland beach run champion and junior Coolangatta Gold winner.

She’s also the Queensland junior 1500m and cross-country champion, national cross country bronze medalist, Australia’s number one triathlete in her age group and Australian primary school aquathon champion.

But that shopping list of experience doesn’t stop the odd nerve creeping in as the finish line approaches.

“I heard some people yelling ‘go Elka’ but I didn’t think I’d won it until right at the end.

“I kept looking over my shoulder running over the last 250 metres to make sure there was no one there,” she said.

Earlier, young speedsters Judah Magarey and Victoria Huang took out the boy’s and girls Health and Wellbeing Queensland Junior Dashes.

Huang’s time of 6:50 was a smidge outside of Imogen Stewart’s 2016 record of 6:47 which she says, while personally disappointing, takes little away from the win.

“It feels really good,” she said. “It was a good run, but I didn’t exceed expectations of what I wanted to do, break Imogen’s record.

“But the win is great; I’m really happy,” she said.

And showing her versatility, Huang’s next assignment will be tackling state and national cross-country championships.

Meanwhile first-time competitor Sam Mannion from Robina declared his first race an “amazing” experience and that straight line running is not for him.

“I loved running around the corners,” he said while mum Jasmine who ran alongside caught her breath.

“It was really good; I’m a bit puffed now but I’m good and I’m so proud of Sam and how he ran the whole way,” she said.

All results and race weekend information can be found at www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au

Posted in News.