Batt-Doyle and Clarke win 5000m State Champs

Published Mon 29 Nov 2021

Tokyo Olympians, Isobel Batt-Doyle and Matthew Clarke sprinted away from their competitors in the final stages of their respective State 5000m Championship races to claim back to back title honours.

Returning to the track for the first time since their Olympic debuts, Batt-Doyle and Clarke joined more than 100 runners in registering for Saturday night's State 5000m Championships at the SA Athletics Stadium. 

Running in her Olympic 5000m event, Batt-Doyle of the Flinders Athletics Club won the Open Women's race in a time of 15:41.29, ahead of Hills Districts duo Caitlin Adams (15:49.42) and Jessica Stenson (15:52.79).

Two-time Olympian, Jess Stenson, 965, leads Caitlin Adams, 4, and Isobel Batt-Doyle mid-way through the Women's State 5000m Championship race on Saturday night. Photograph: @andystevenphotogrpahy

Batt-Doyle, Adams and Stenson ran alongside eachother from the gun, before Batt-Doyle started to stretch their break-away group out in the last 1000m.

Batt-Doyle opened up a 30m lead on Adams at the 400m mark and charged home strongly. 

"I am very happy with the run, to win this race means a lot," she said. 

"This year's State Champs was very different for me (when comparing it to 12 months ago), last year I was going for a PB and the State Record, but this time I was all about running the race and getting the win.

"I wanted to practice racing differently - those who have watched me run know that I like to race from the front, but today I wanted to do something different - I tucked in behind Caitlin and Jess and let them do the work.

"I went around Jess when I sensed that she was letting a gap go with Caitlin and I tried to cover the moves as they presented.

"I was feeling comfortable and I had good momentum so I thought I would give it a crack with 600m to go and I really kicked down."

Batt-Doyle said her effort on Saturday gave her a sense of nostalgia, as last season's State 5000m kick started her pursuit on the Olympic Games.

"I wasn't running for a particular time (on Saturday), I was running the race rather than the time, but it's funny as a year ago my PB was 15:41 so to run that time again is interesting," she said. 

"I love racing out here, especially being in America (College) for five years, I missed a lot of racing at home. 

"It is rewarding to come back, and not only that, it's rewarding to run at the same meet as some people that I coach through Run As One."

Open Men's State 5000m

A huge male contingent registered to compete on Saturday night, which saw the men's State 5000m Championships split into three heats. 

Matthew Clarke won the Open Men's 5000m title on Saturday night. Photograph: @andystevenphotogrpahy

Open and U20 title contenders, including Olympic 3000m Steeplechaser Clarke, recent Burnie 10 winner Isaac Heyne, 2021 State Cross Country Champion Max Stevens, Adrian Potter, interstate runners Sam Clifford (Tasmania) and Joe Burgess (NSW) and U20 Cael Mulholland ran in Heat A.

Last season's race had the fastest winning time in the country (Clarke's 13:52.86) and the most number of runners breaking the 14-minute barrier (three), and Clarke's effort will go close to repeating the feat. 

Clarke (Hills Districts) took out the title with a PB time of 13:40.39, ahead of Hills teammates Heyne (PB 13:44.66), Stevens (PB 13:51.02) and Adelaide Harriers' Potter (14:04.01)

Clarke, Heyne and Stevens, Potter and Clifford established a strong pace, running as a break-away pack for the opening five laps.

In the middle portion of the race Clarke, Heyne and Stevens pulled away from Potter and Clifford, and with 1600m to go Clarke and Heyne started to drag out the gap on the third placed Stevens. 

At the 400m mark it was a race between two as Heyne led Clarke when the bell rang, but in an incredible turn of speed at the 350m mark Clarke bolted around Heyne, who couldn't respond. 

Clarke powered over the line with a four-second gap back to second. 

"This one was really tough, I wasn't overly confident coming in," Clarke said post race.

"The pace was set at 3:45 and I was pretty hesitant.

"Isaac was looking so good out in front and I know what that guy can do in the finish, while Maxy is as fit as he's ever been - so I felt a bit embarrassed to storm home like that after doing the least amount of work during the run.

"I kicked at 350m, and I usually go a bit earlier, but as Isaac is such a strong finisher so I couldn't go early - luckily I crossed the line first."

Photograph: @andystevenphotogrpahy

Clarke said he was thrilled to claim the title for the second straight year. 

"Distance running in SA is really on the rise - Izzi (Batt-Doyle) and I went to the Olympics and the runners that my coach (Adam Didyk - Team Tempo) has at the moment in Isaac, Max, Dan Canala, Caitlin and Jess (Stenson) are flying so to be spearheading that is special." 

Adelaide Harriers athlete Mulholland claimed the Men's U20 title in 14:42.88, while Caitlin Slobedman (Hills) won the U20 Women race in 17:53.51.

Other champions included Michael Nitschke (O35 Men), Lisa Davis (O35 Women), Pieter De Wit (O50 Men), Jennifer Robertson (O50 Women), Timon Sideris (Para Men) and Stephanie White (Para Women).

See the full list of results here

The State 5000m Championships followed Copyworld Toshiba Interclub 4, with results, photographs and reports to be uploaded tomorrow (30/11/2021). 

Caitlin Adams, left, and Isobel Batt-Doyle.