October 12, 2023
The Melbourne based record breaker will line up in just over 2 weeks’ time, at the race where he obliterated the Australian 10km road record last year clocking 27minutes 43seconds.
It was one of the most astonishing Australian athletics performances of any athlete in 2022, not only taking Stewart McSweyn’s course record (28:03) but crushing Craig Mottram’s national 10km road record of 27:54.
“I can’t believe it’s almost been a year, it’s gone so quick. I knew I was in good shape and wanted to give the 28min a good nudge. I felt good at the turn and thought why not push hard for Craig’s record too. I was flogging myself all the way to the finish to be honest,” Rayner said.
Not that any of his training mates gave him much when he got back to Melbourne. Including good mate McSweyn who’s record was taken.
“The reaction from my mates and training partners was good, but they didn’t give too much praise, we just got back to training. It was definitely nice to get that achievement under my belt, but I got more praise from friends and family outside of running to be honest,” he added.
2023 started with pulling on the Australian uniform for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships on home soil in Bathurst, in a run that he described as ‘brutal’. He then embarked on a series of track races overseas before taking out the Australian Road Running title in Adelaide last month.
“I’m in good shape again this year. I’ve had a few runs now and I’m running the half marathon in Melbourne this weekend. It will be nice to go close to 28min again at Burnie,” Rayner declared.
His win in Burnie last year made it a win at each of Tasmania’s feature road races, adding to multiple crowns at the Think Big Run The Bridge in Hobart and the McGrath Launceston Running Festival. As for what makes Tassie road races so good?
“The weather is always good and the roads are decent also, maybe there is something in the air. I’ve always loved racing in Tassie. They’re well organised events, it’s just all the right ingredients to run quick I think.
After the October 29 event, Rayner has his eyes on one thing in 2024.
“Zatopek:10 in December will be my first track race, then I’ll head to Falls Creek to train in the new year and do some 5km races in Australia. Then possibly I’ll head overseas earlier to try and get some qualifiers for the Olympics, as that will be my main focus for 2024,” he declared.