Gregson breaks long-standing Tan record

Melissa Woods
Two-time Olympian Genevieve Gregson reacts after becoming the fastest woman to run a lap of The Tan

It's a long way from Tokyo to the Tan.

But with her Olympic dream on hold, leading Australian middle distance runner Genevieve Gregson consoled herself by breaking a 14-year-old record on Tuesday.

Gregson made the most of perfect conditions at the famed inner Melbourne running track to beat Melbourne Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sarah Jamieson's mark set in 2006.

Gregson, 30, said she needed to let off some steam so jumped at the chance to break Jamieson's time of 11 minutes 57 seconds for the 3.827km distance around the Royal Botanic Gardens.

With Australian marathoner Sinead Diver as her pacer, she duly stripped three seconds off the mark.

Diver posted the fifth-fastest recorded time, crossing the line in 12:08.

Australian 10,000m record-holder Stewart McSweyn was also set to challenge Craig Mottram's 2006 men's mark of 10:08 around the Tan, but decided he wasn't up for it mentally after learning of the impending postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

Gregson said she needed a new, albeit much smaller, goal.

"Olympic athletes, or any type of athlete, we're goal-orientated and we strive for things ahead of us; it's like chasing a carrot" said Gregson, Australia's female team captain at last year's world championships.

"And when the biggest thing you're looking forward to for four years is dangled for a while ... and then completely taken away for now it's really hard.

"It's really cool to knock off a time faster than Sarah Jamieson and this is like my little Olympic trials."

While disappointed to learn that the Olympics were set to be put on hold for 12 months, given she felt in the best shape she had for years after finally shaking a swag of injuries, Gregson was trying to remain positive.

"The first feeling for me was frustration ... but my goal is to keep this ball slowly rolling," Gregson said.

"If the worst thing is that I've got to wait 52 more weeks for the Olympic Games than I'm definitely doing alright.

"I will definitely be there next year, this is not going to slow me down."

She said the pain of putting her third Olympics on ice was made easier with some perspective about what else was unfolding due to the coronavirus crisis.

"What's made this experience so much easier is that there's people so much worse than us than what we're dealing with," she said.

"We can focus now on people on the frontline to make sure they are looked after, supported and we get Australia healthy again."