Sydney University Athletics Club member Paige Campbell finished a creditable 31st of 90 competitors in the Women’s 10km at the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday.

Campbell, who is a member of the Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness Elite Athlete Program, earned her Belgrade berth after winning the Australian 10km Cross Country Championship in Canberra last month in 35:22, ahead of Melissa Duncan (35:32) and Maudie Skyring (35:38). Duncan ran 53rd in Belgrade.

Campbell first came to notice representing Australia at the 2019 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, but was then plagued by injuries. Having returned to racing this year, she won the Australian title with a telling final lap to solidify her place on the Australian team for Belgrade – her second World Championships.

“I haven’t had the best couple of years, it’s been really rough, so to start to get a few performances on the board is really good and I owe a lot of that to my coach Dick (Telford),” she said after the Australian titles. “I think I came 29th at World Cross Country Championships in 2019, so I’m hoping to get in the top 20 – anywhere around there is pretty damn good.”

Kenyans Beatrice Chebet (31.05), Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (31.08) and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (31:09) claimed the top three places in Belgrade, with Campbell (34.19) improving on her Australian title time.

Campbell also competed in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase at the 2019 World Athletic Championship in Doha Qatar and has represented at two World University Games. She won two gold and a silver medal (5000m and Steeplechase) at Oceania Championships in 2019 and 2022. “It’s a privilege to wear the green and gold for Australia,” she said.

She was also a Target Tokyo (Olympic Games) member and is a Target Paris (Olympic Games) beneficiary with SUAC.