No picnic for runners at Rock

May 10, 2024 BY
Bendigo Bats XCR Hanging Rock

Capable: Echuca's Archie Reid (left) will be a key addition to the Bats this month, having placed second in April's inaugural Ballarat Half Marathon. Photo: ALEXANDER POLIZZI

IT will be no picnic as the Bendigo Bats contest Saturday’s second round of the On-backed cross-country series at Hanging Rock.

The iconic outcrop near Woodend is a new venue on Athletics Victoria’s XCR series.

Fifth on the men’s premier ladder after round one at Jells Park, Bendigo Bats will be aiming to climb the rungs in Heritage Round against metro and country teams.

At Jells the Bats fielded one of their youngest teams in premier division history.

Average age of the team was 18-and-a-half as Matt Buckell teamed up with Harrison Boyd, Jackson Eadon, Lewis Gillett, Avery McDermid and Logan Tickell for six-kilometre legs in a teams relay.

The Bats line-up for the top grade could be bolstered significantly for the Hanging Rock duel.

A key inclusion will be Echuca’s Archie Reid who did not race at Jells Park as he competed in the half-marathon (21.1 kilometres) and earned second place at the Ballarat Running Festival.

In the season opener, Andy Buchanan was racing the Hamburg Marathon and Bats’ team-mates Brady Threlfall and Nathan Stoate raced in the Ballarat Marathon.

Recovery from a gruelling 42 kilometres will determine whether they race at the Rock or not.

All four have played crucial roles in the Bats being premier division champion the past two seasons.

Bendigo has also stepped up to compete in women’s division two.

The team starts this round in seventh place.

Highs for the Bats at Jells Park were victories in the 50-plus women’s class, and second place in under-20 men.

The Bats also competed in men’s divisions two and five, 50-plus men, under-18 boys, and under-18 girls.

All four clubs in Athletics Bendigo Region are represented in the Bats squad as athletes from Bendigo University, Bendigo Harriers, Eaglehawk and South Bendigo join forces for the XCR series.

Athletes will race 12, seven or five kilometres on the Hanging Rock racecourse and through surrounding bushland. Action begins at noon.

Round three in the XCR series will be much closer to home for the Bats runners and fans as racing on June 15 will be at St Anne’s Winery in Ravenswood.