Jessica Hull is ready for a home World Champs, and to make them count

Jessica Hull is one of the key members of the Australian team at this weekend's home World Cross Country Championships, racing the 4x2km mixed relay.

Jessica Hull is lucky enough to have two major world meets at home in less than 12 months. Having attended university at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, the World Championships last year were on her home track.

This weekend, she will suit up for Australia again, less than 500km from where her running career began in Wollongong. It will be a chance for family and friends to flock in droves to the course to watch her compete in the World Cross Country Championships at Bathurst.

Speaking at the announcement of selection, Hull was nostalgic about what it means to be running cross country in Bathurst this weekend.

"I grew up racing with Kimberley Joggers down [in Wollongong]," Hull said.

"We raced on the East coast and then our cross country course and their regional New South Wales towns and they were iconic. They were like narrow in particular is tough.

"It's not an easy walk in the park and I think going out to a different region in Bathurst, it brings back those little kid days where you kind of just went out there and ran hard and there was no kind of thinking about times or placing.

"You just kind of get the best out of yourself on the day. So going out to Bathurst, I think I'll embrace that."

Hull has had plenty of chances to embrace racing for Australia in the last few years, with the Tokyo Olympics, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the World Championships in Oregon.

She has made the final in her pet distance, the 1500m, at all three events, despite dealing with COVID-19 in Oregon.

This weekend however, she will race a different race, as part of the Australian 4x2km relay team, racing alongside Ollie Hoare, Abbey Caldwell and Stewart McSweyn.

For Hull, the prospect of racing with the fellow Australians, unlike her usual events where she races against compatriots Linden Hall and Georgia Griffith, is exciting.

Speaking exclusively to Edge of the Crowd, Hull was rapt at the opportunity.

"I think a lot of distance runners would be calling for World Athletics to add like a mixed relay on to our world championship program," Hull said.

"So to get a taste of it in the cross country, I mean, I hope it kind of like takes some momentum off and they kind of maybe added to the track later on down the track.

"It's pretty cool to kind of join forces with Ollie and Stewie and Abbey and just get out there as the best and see what we can do."

Hull's excitement isn't limited by that prospect though. She's looking forward to having a home crowd right behind her.

"I think what we did notice, once we started getting crowds back, was how special it was to have the crowd involvement and I ran in the NCAA, so I know what it's like to have a crazy crowds at a cross country course and you're running back and forth," says Hull.

"I'm expecting a very similar setup out there in Bathurst, because there's a lot of vantage points for the people that are there on the course and course-side and they can get to a lot of different points for the athletes."

Hull knows that she will be able to pick out specific voices, and will be looking for them as she runs the course.

"So I know there'll be familiar voices that we'll all hear out there. I think a lot of us have particular voices that we hear when we're running, whether that's a family member or your coach. It'd be pretty special to hear that voice in our home race as well," she said.

"I see my coach and my assistant coach Daniele Sullivan, and definitely, every time I race without a doubt I hear my dad.

"It doesn't matter what stadium I'm in and I remember my debutant senior team in 2019 walking out and hearing him as well and being like 'how can I hear my dad right now?'.

"I think just getting out there and kind of knowing that familiar voices and family members, they all stand out, especially when it hurts."

There's little doubt that Hull won't be the only Australian hearing family and friends on the course, and all will be hoping it drives them towards a gold medal on home soil.

The Australian team will race at the Bathurst World Cross Country Championships this weekend. The full Australian team is:

Men’s 10km – Jack Rayner, Matthew Ramsden, Brett Robinson, Rorey Hunter, Andy Buchanan, Ky Robinson.

Women’s 10km – Rose Davies, Leanne Pompeani, Caitlin Adams, Isobel Batt-Doyle, Holly Campbell, Ellie Pashley.

Mixed 4x2km Relay – Stewart McSweyn, Abbey Caldwell, Oliver Hoare, Jessica Hull.

Under 20 Men’s 8km – Logan Janetzki, Archie Noakes, Jack Coomber, Cael Mulholland, Ciaran Rushton, Bailey Habler.

Under 20 Women’s 6km – Amy Bunnage, Gabrielle Schmidt, Gabrielle Vincent, Aspen Anderson, Claudia Meaker, Fieke Van Der Kamp.