Golden pair to run at carnivals

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 14: Ryan Gregson of New South Wales celebrates winning the mens 1500m during the Sydney Track Classic at Sydney Olympic Park on March 14, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

AUSTRALIAN golden middle-distance couple, Genevieve Lacaze and Ryan Gregson, are confirmed starters for handicap runs at Burnie and Devonport during the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival.

But the pair will bypass the Launceston event a day before arriving at Devonport for the first race on December 29.

Both Lacaze and Gregson have entered the 800m and 1600m in Devonport before backing up for the 1600m in Burnie.

Lacaze has recorded the fifth-best Australian time ever for the 3000m steeplechase runs and sits ninth on the all-time list for the standard mile (1600m).

The 26-year-old, who has attended the 2012 Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 IAAF World Championships, described racing on the grass tracks of Devonport and Burnie as a “fun way to celebrate entering the exciting season ahead”.

“I think I am in the best shape I ever have been at this time of year, so I should do well,” she said.

“The grass throws in a whole other factor for some, but I believe it will benefit me since I train on grass a few times a week.

“The head-starts will be tough mentally, but once the gun goes I am hoping I start catching people.”

Current Australian 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson is expected to run from scratch in both mile runs.

BEIJING, CHINA – AUGUST 24: Genevieve Lacaze of Australia competes in the Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase heats during day three of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 24, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

His inclusion should challenge multiple Olympian and Australian mile record-holder Craig Mottram.

“I’ve been putting a lot of work in at training, so my coach thought it was time we had a few hit-outs and the Devonport and Burnie Gifts came at the perfect time,” he said.

Gregson also holds the 1500m Tasmanian All Comers record of 3:37.35, set in 2008.

Later in the same year, he returned to the state to take out the Burnie Ten.

“I love racing in Tasmania . . . as soon as I heard about the Christmas Carnivals, I was keen to come back,” he said.

Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals dates:

December 19: Rosebery

December 26: Latrobe

December 27: Launceston

December 28: Westbury (criterium)

December 29: Sheffield (criterium)

December 29/30: Devonport

December 31: Burnie (criterium)

January 1: Burnie

January 3: Hobart

January 16: St Helens

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