ABOUT 1000 of Australia's best young athletes will be tearing around Symmons Plains this weekend.
Tasmania's V8 Supercar venue is hosting the Australian cross-country and road walking championships with participants from all states and territories braving the Tassie weather in search of national titles.
Hosting rights rotate on a seven-year cycle with Tasmania last staging the event at Pontville in 2006 and Symmons Plains last used in the mid-90s but event manager Richard Welsh, of Athletics Tasmania, was confident of a successful event which should also attract about 2000 officials and supporters.
"Tasmania has a proven history in hosting national events and only last year hosted the all-schools and knockouts in Launceston," he said.
"The venue also has a proven pedigree, having hosted the all- schools cross-country each year with 3000 runners taking part over two days."
However, Welsh said Tasmania's weather might surprise some of the mainland competitors.
"An extra dumping of rain at what is a notoriously wet venue could shock some of the northern states."
Athletics Tasmania president Mike Gunson added: "This is one of the largest national events on the athletics program and one which we're very excited about delivering for the nation's top endurance athletes."
Tasmania will have close to 100 athletes competing with the individual cross-country events on Saturday and the School Sport Australia relays plus race walks on Sunday.
A state-versus-state team competition will see David Thomas, Doug Hamerlok, Josh Harris, James Hansen, Dejen Gebreselessie and Brian Lyons representing Tasmania in the men's team, and Jacqui Dalwood, Carolyn Davis, Simone Fitzgerald, Lyn Saint- John, Francesca Smith and Karen Watson in the women.