Collis taking strong form into Australian Half Marathon Championship

Collis Birmingham is in the form to thrust himself back into the national athletics spotlight.

READY: Collis Birmingham glides to the line at Lake Wendouree on Saturday in a perfect prepartion for the national half marathon championships. Picture: Kate Healy

READY: Collis Birmingham glides to the line at Lake Wendouree on Saturday in a perfect prepartion for the national half marathon championships. Picture: Kate Healy

The Ballarat dual Olympian has reinforced he is on track for a big run in the Australian Half Marathon Championships on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday, August 19.

Birmingham is the defending champion, having won at the same venue last year.

He showed he is back in form by taking out the Athletics Victoria XCR’18 Series 15km road race at Lake Wendouree on Saturday.

This followed a fifth in the Albert Park 10km in the previous XCR’18 Series round.

“My prep has been going well, after an up and down few months after World Half Marathon,” Birmingham told Athletic Australia’s website.

“I have been able to string together some good training and a few races over the past eight weeks.” 

The 33-year-old says Jack Rayner, who finished ahead of Birmingham in the Gold Coast Half Marathon early last month, is the one to beat.

Rayner has also won two XCR’18 Series events and the Sydney Harbour 10km.

“Jack’s going great,” Birmingham said.

Birmingham is the third fastest Australian in history over the half marathon, having run 60 minutes, 56 seconds in Japan in 2013.

Birmingham's win at Lake Wendouree has him in equal sixth position in the XCR'18 open men's aggregate with one individual event - the Burnley half marathon, which doubles at the state championship - on Sunday, September 2.

Harry Summers from Box Hill leads after his second to Birmingham.

The Ballarat Region Athletic Centre representative has also climbed to equal third in the open men country championship, with fellow BRAC competitors Nic van Raaphorst and Tom Hynes also in the top 10.

Ben Ludbrook and Ben Mornane are best placed of the Ballarat athletes to take out an aggregate championship.

Mornane has a three-point lead in the under-14 boys' division, with a maximum 11 points up for grabs at Burnley.

He is on 36 points after competing in all four point-scoring rounds.

Kane Marriott (Diamond Valley) is his main danger. Marriott has won all three events has contested. Archie Caldow is fourth.

Ludbrook is equal first in under-16 boys' with Lake Wendouree winner Dharam Deol (Knox).

Each is on 37 points, with third-placed Darcy Williams from Ballarat on 20.

Other Ballarat athletes in top 10s:

Michelle Hawkes: open women's country championship, 3; 40-44, 9

Rachel Gibney: open women's country championship, 5; 45-49, 4

Rhianna Watts: under-14 girls, equal 9

Georgina Mees: under-16 girls, 5

Lily Gilbert: under-16 girls, 6

Eliza Lepair: under-18 girls, equal 8

Harry Sharp: under-18 boys, 3

Matthew Catterson: under-18 boys, equal 7

Andrew Amor: under-20 men, 3

Tom Walker: under-20 men, 10

Christine O'Halloran, 55-plus women, 4

Alistair Ham: 55-59 men, 3