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Wednesday 15 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Athletics, Sports


Raro duo set for World Champs
From left, coach Greg Gustafson and athletes Maya Postrzygacz and Andrew Logan at the Rarotonga International Airport. SUPPLIED/23021421Postrzygacz and Andrew Logan at the Rarotonga International Airport. SUPPLIED/23021421

Athletics Cook Islands farewelled two athletes who will represent the country at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia later this week.

Andrew Logan and Maya Postrzygacz will take part in the championship to be held from February 17 to 19.

In a statement Athletics Cook Islands said: “This is a great opportunity for the Pacific Nations to participate in the World competition as they are usually held in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Athletics CI was able to hold two time trials with the results from Round Raro 2022 10km race added to find a suitable male and female athlete.

Logan, a regular runner in the Cook Islands, will be competing in the Senior Men 10km. 

“It is a younger age grouping for him, however, due to the quota given by Oceania he is ready to meet the challenge,” the statement said.

Logan said working in his training around his job as a pilot had him “running Tahiti, Aitutaki, Melbourne, Rarotonga”. 

“Feel fitter and thinner and looking forward to the race and being around the

world’s best runners.”

Young Postrzygacz has been living and running in Rarotonga for years and her family recently gained their permanent resident status.

She has a strong background in triathlon racing and has recently tried her legs on the track with 800 metres and 1500m. 

“The cross-country distances suit her well and she will be competing in the

Under 20 age group 6km event. She has a good solid running base and fitness.”

Postrzygacz is looking forward to the new experience of cross country running in a new location. 

“The training has improved my racing and self-discipline. Looking forward to meeting athletes from around the world,” she said.

The cross-country course will be a 2km loop race for all age groups. It consists of running through a vineyard, across a beach, a bog and off road – all sorts of terrain designed to reflect the Australian landscape.

February will be hot for racing and most of the overseas competitors will be out of their usual winter season and dealing with the southern hemisphere sun and climate. 

Both athletes are coached by Greg Gustafson who is an American qualified middle to long distance track and road racing coach.

Gustafson has been coming to Rarotonga to race himself for the past 30 years. He has been helping with the youth development programmes and adults and masters age groups who are wanting to do interval running training on the track at the stadium. 

Gustafson said since the time trials, both athletes have progressed hugely. He is expecting them to get large personal bests in all their races. 

“Both are new to the type of terrain, running and distances but they are both tough athletes who will be able to handle the challenges of sand, mud, crowds and heat.”