Birtwhistle still setting records interstate

FOR the second time in as many weeks, Launceston's Jake Birtwhistle has set Tasmanian records while competing at athletic meetings in Victoria.

Fresh from setting a new time for 5000 metres, he also has the Tasmanian junior 3000-metre record to himself.

Competing at the Zatopek meeting held at Melbourne's Albert Park stadium, Birtwhistle set a new time of 8:09.12 when he finished third in  the 3000-metre under-20 men's event.

The 17-year-old went out as the early leader and was just outgunned by Victorians Declan Wilson and Zac Patterson at the finish.

``Jake set the pace from the gun and was responsible for a quick time by James Hanson as well,'' Athletics Tasmania official Richard Welsh said.

The race was named after former marathon champion Rob de Castella and is regarded as the most coveted junior distance event in Australia.

 Welsh said Birtwhistle was one of Australia's most talented young athletes and expected him to continue to combine running with his other sporting love of triathlon.

A week after setting a personal best of 2:10.89 at the Australian all-school championships, Hobart's Claudia Nicklason made her senior debut at national level in the open women's 800 metres and ran third to Anna Laman from New South Wales. Her training partner, Tessa Johns, ran in the under-20 women's Ondieki 3000 metres and finished  seventh to South Australia's Tasmin McMahon.

Josh Harris and Grant Page both ran unplaced in the 10,000 metres and the John Landy Mile and then returned to Tasmania in time to run in the 5000-metre road race held in conjunction with the Stan Siejka Cycling Classic on Sunday night.

A highlight of the Zatopek meeting was the unveiling of a special room named in honour of former world and Olympic champion Cathy Freeman who was a guest at Albert Park.

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