McSweyn wins 2K race at world cross trials

Australia will take a stacked team into next month's world cross country championships in Bathurst after the likes of Stewart McSweyn, Abbey Caldwell and Jack Rayner dominated the trials in Canberra.

With Australia hosting the world titles for the first time in mid-February, the cream of the nation's talented middle-distance crop all threw their hats in the ring for selection.

Commonwealth 1500m champion Olli Hoare was given leave to skip the trials but is all but certain to claim the discretionary spot in the the mixed 2km relay, where the host nation has legitimate gold-medal aspirations.

That left only one men's spot up for grabs at Stromlo Forest Park on Sunday morning and multiple Australian record holder McSweyn grabbed it with both hands, winning the trial in a time of five minutes and 10 seconds.

"This was a different type of race," said the 27-year-old McSweyn.

"Two kilometres sounds short, but there were a few hills in that second half and it made it tough.

"The mixed relay is going to be exciting.

"Any time you get to wear the Aussie guernsey is a huge privilege."

Backing up from a breakthrough 2022 campaign highlighted by bronze in the 1500m at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Caldwell claimed victory in 5:48 and the automatic women's spot in the mixed relay.

"I came in here not knowing what was going to happen," said Caldwell.

"It's the deepest field of distance runners I've seen in the women for a long time and it was really nice to be a part of.

""It was a huge privilege to cross the line first."

Australian 1500m record holder Jessica Hull was a close second and - like Hoare - is set to be handed the remaining spot on the relay team.

The 2023 world championships in Bathurst will mark the second time that the mixed relay has been included on the program.

The meet has long been dominated by African runners, with Benita Willis's historic gold in the 8km race in 2004 marking the only time an Australian has claimed an individual world cross country medal.

The host nation will also be well represented in the 10km individual races in Bathurst on February 18.

Rayner won the men's trial on Sunday in 29:26 ahead of training partners Matt Ramsden and Brett Robinson, who broke the national marathon record late last year in Japan.

Rose Davies crossed the line first in the womens' race ahead of recently-crowned Australian 10,000m champion Leanne Pompeani and Caitlin Adams.

The top three in both 10km trials earned automatic selection for the world championships.

The meet in Bathurst was originally slated for 2021 - and then 2022 - only to be postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.