Green lands knockout blow in epic final


January 18, 2024

Words by:

Jordan Abell

Media by:

Holly Smee

STATE champion Max Green has heaped praise on teen prodigy Jack Woodberry after both pushed each other to the limit in the Tasmanian 5000m open final on Saturday at the Domain Athletics Centre in Hobart.

The dramatic men’s final capped off an incredible evening of racing at the Night of Fives, with more than 100 runners participating across six different divisions, with the state 100-yard championships also being held.

Woodberry jumped out of the blocks, with the 15-year-old setting a sharp pace from the front. Green appeared happy to sit on the shoulder of his younger rival and let him dictate terms, as they quickly settled into a groove and bridged a gap on the rest of the 10-strong field.

Jack Woodberry (ESAC) leading from Max Green (NWAC/KORC)

It was at the midway point multiple winning Tasmanian fun runner Nick Earl tried to mount a challenge, but he could never quite peg back the leading pair and it was a race in two as the final bell rang signalling one lap to go.

Woodberry tried on several occasions to step on the gas to burn off Green throughout the epic final, including down the back straight of the last lap.

But the more experienced Green stuck to Woodberry like fresh chewing gum does to the sole of your shoe and with a little over 100m to go, he put on the afterburners, peeling past the 15-year-old to salute the judges in a personal best time of 14:45.26.

Woodberry stopped the clock in 14:46.79, smashing the under 16 state record in the process in what was a gallant effort. He had to be helped up after collapsing on the finishing line from exhaustion.

Green also found a patch of grass in the middle of the track to catch his breath as both lay forlorn like two prize fighters who had just slugged it out for 12 rounds.

“Yeah, that was right up there (with the craziest races I’ve ever been involved in). It was certainly one of the hardest,” Green, 24, said post-race.

“And when you’re going up against quality like Jack Woodberry. He’s going to do huge things as he grows up, these will probably by my last year’s even contesting him, so I knew tonight it was going to take something pretty close to my best and I was just lucky I guess to get over him this time.

“Running is not even his discipline, he’s a triathlete, so he’s absolutely insane and we’ll see huge things from him.”

Earl (15:20.67) rounded out the top three, while pre-race fancy Grant Page pulled out on the second lap from what looked to have been a hamstring complaint.

Grant Page (NSAC) driving the pack, followed by Nick Earl (UTAS).

Green, an 800m specialist, said shadowing Woodberry for the majority of the race was by design.

“I know if I go out and try and lead against these guys, they’ll get the best of me. I’m better off just sitting in and using that speed from all the 800m work over the years. I know if I can hold on that if I’m there with 200m to go I’m a good chance and that’s what I tried to do,” he said.

“That was the game plan going in. You just have to back yourself. These guys are very fast runners over the longer distances, so you just have to be there and back your kick at the end.”

Green’s previous best time over that distance was 15:09. In winning, he shaved 24s off his PB and half a minute from last year’s Night of Fives triumph of 16:15.81.

“I wanted to run sub 15 and I thought I probably had that in me. We went out definitely on pace for that and slowed up a bit during the middle then came home really, really fast,” he said.

“I’m really happy with how we closed, and the last k was like 2:40 something. It feels good to fly home like that, to know your training has paid off and you’re strong this time of year.”

Green, who relocates to New Zealand in a couple of months, could have not been more glowing in his love of Knockoffs Run Club (KORC) and their efforts in helping bring together the Night of Fives alongside Old Virgilians Athletics (OVA) Club in what was its second year.

It was a fantastic night. I love the Knockoffs Run Club. I’ve been doing a lot of work with them this year. They’re such a great group and such a nice group of people,” the Ulverstone product said.

“Love the support from everyone up at the track and it’s so nice to see athletics get such a good following and so many people who wouldn’t necessarily be involved in a usual track race come up and support everybody. It’s awesome and good to see for the sport.

“It did make it scarier though. I felt the pressure to perform tonight in front of everyone. Usually it’s just us runners up here, so to get the turnout like we did is a credit to everyone involved.”

In the women’s state open final, it was Ruby Smee (16:07.18) from Sandy Bay Harrier Club who led from start to finish, beating home Karinna Fyfe (16:48.05) and Ruth Wilson (18:11.96). Smee’s mum Anna defied her age and left racegoers speechless to finish fourth in a time of 19:04.23.

Ruby Smee (SBAC) during the Women's State 5,000m race.

Earlier in the evening, KORC member Nick Sallmann cruised to victory in Race 1 to open the night’s proceedings in 21:29.92, roughly 30s in front of runner up Charlotte Faella (22:03.03), with KORC compatriot Hannah Lovell (22:38.32) next to cross the line.

Race 2 saw a photo finish, but it was Travis Round (21:25.11) beating Bridget Milne (21:25.44) by the barest of margins. Tom Hazi (21:30.27) was a close third.

KORC Tuesday morning track regular Ned Worledge proved that training really does pay off as he took home the chocolates in Race 3 in 18:15.72, upping the ante in the last couple of laps to narrowly edge out Brad Tilbury (18:23.84) followed by Ben de Rue (18:51.29).

Ned Worledge (KORC) in cruise control.

In the hotly contested Race 4, OVA Southern Saints and KORC member Tom Beard (15:16.01) showed he could’ve contested the men’s open final, setting the track alight to romp to victory in what was a blistering run. Angus Lennecke (15:48.92) and Michael O’Flynn (16:36.79) were the other placegetters.

Tom Beard (OVA) on his way to the race 4 win and a personal best.

Meanwhile, in the state 100-yard championships, North West Athletic Club’s Chelsea Scolyer torched the women’s field to win in a new state record time of 10.64, ahead of Kiani Allen (11.03) and Kiara Calvert (11.30).

Chelsea Scolyer (NWAC) taking out the Women's State 100 yard Championship.

Commonwealth Games athlete Jack Hale was far too strong in the men’s equivalent, blitzing home in 9.79, with Ryan Cooper (10.15) and Max Perkin (10.21) completing the podium.

Jack Hale (NSAC) striding out to a comfortable win in the Men's State 100 Yard Championship.

A special shout out to Jarrod from Athletics South (AS) / Knockoffs, thanks to the officials from AS, support from Athletics Tasmania, timing gear from Tasmanian Masters Association, the 100-plus entrants who took to the track, to the local support of On Running, Kieser Hobart and entertainment provided by DJ Sexy Lucy, Big Henry’s Food Truck and cold beverages from Breheny Bros Breweries.

We look forward to seeing you all next year!

For official Night of Five results, visit

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