Sunday’s Leonora Golden Gift Elite Mile women’s race came right down to the wire for Zoe Buckman, who claimed victory in a time of 4min.47.25sec. after previously winning the event in 2013.
Buckman is a 2016 Olympian and world championship finalist who ran in the 2017 world championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games.
She is the fifth-fastest Australian of all time over 1500 metres.
Buckman, Natalie Rule and Lizzy Duncan were running shoulder to shoulder for much of the race as the crowd along the barricaded main street of Leonora cheered them on.
The heat and direct sunlight did not spare the runners as they completed the three laps constituting the mile, with Lizzie Duncan showing the way in the second lap.
Buckman was being stretched by Duncan and Rule following closely behind, with the golden nugget and $7500 prize money waiting for the winner at the finish line.
But as Duncan reached towards the finish line, Buckman kicked into another gear as she sprinted, brushing past Duncan as she stepped over the finish line.
“I’m happy and it was a good experience too, this has been a really great weekend,” Buckman said.
She advised young athletes who were attending the event to not take it too seriously when they were young, and to focus on being consistent.
“Surround yourself with people who support you and support your life balance as well,” Buckman said.
The winner said she would look at competing in cross-country events and was looking to getting back on the track “as soon as possible”.