Tue, 04/10/2011

Mary recently opened the 2011 School Sports Association Cross Country Championship which brought more than 500 young athletes from all over Australia to race at the Rob De Castella-designed-cross country course at Stromlo Forest Park.

“It’s the first time that the Championships have been held in Canberra since 2004 and the first time ever since these championships have been held, that they have been held at this world class venue.

“Given that Rob De Castella is regarded as one of Australia’s finest ever distance runners, it seems only fitting that the course designed by Deek is the venue for this year.

“The championships provide a great opportunity for so many of our up and coming athletes to compete in this prestigious event on a course that is fast developing a reputation for being among the best in the world,” Mary stated.

“If not for the Canberra 2003 firestorm devastating the former pine plantation, it is doubtful that a facility such as this would ever have been built on the site. As is often the case, out of disaster good things can happen,” Mary said.

“How fitting it is that this course has been designed not only by our greatest ever distance runner, but also by a man who sadly lost his family home on that fateful day.

“Who knows, this weekend may just be the start of another athlete’s running career that may rival that of the great Deek!”