Highlight of the year with running?
I had so many highlights and new experiences last season, but I would have to say winning the bronze medal at World Juniors was definitely my favourite. I found it a very difficult preparation with trying to peak again and balancing this with adjusting to Uni life, so I was very unsure how I would go. It was a fantastic team and I think we all really lifted each other. To be able to do a victory lap, holding the Australian flag next to Margaret Wambui of Kenya and Sahily Diago of Cuba was so special and a moment I will never forget.
This was the first year you competed on the AA tour. What was this experience like, and what were the benefits of it?
I absolutely loved the AA tour and really thrived on the atmosphere. I loved the crowds and the music. There was a great energy that I was able to draw from, and we were all trying to get to that tartan couch – so much fun! It was almost surreal lining up at the STC amongst Olympians and Australian Champions, let alone the world champion, Eunice Sum. Although it was extremely daunting for a junior, everyone was so friendly it really helped me to relax. The middle distance girls are a great bunch. The experience was absolutely invaluable with the build up to WJC and I learnt a lot. The races were far more tactical, bunched and physical than any races I had previously experienced, but absolutely exhilarating. I learned so much from the AAT races, particularly in how to race in a pack and also how to deal with nerves under pressure. It also showed me how much I still have to learn and that every race is going to be different so you have to always be aware and concentrate.
How was your experience in Eugene, representing Australia in the World Junior Champs?
World Junior Championships was an amazing experience, and I learnt so much both on a personal and professional level. There is such a deep pride when you get to represent your country, it’s such a privilege. It was fantastic to be part of such a bonded team, particularly in an individual sport. Most of the team are still suffering withdrawals! There was a great atmosphere in Eugene and we all felt really honoured to race on the historical Hayward Field. We found the people of Eugene to be so welcoming to the athletes and their supporters and showed a genuine passion and understanding of athletics. Running three very tough 800’s in three consecutive days was really tough. I found each race was extremely different to the next, with some very unusual race plans. I learnt to be adaptable and I learnt to focus harder than I had ever before. Feeling that I was not at my peak fitness, I had to rely much more on tactics and mental strategies and my coach Kevin Wills and I were able to anticipate the race and come up with some great race plans. I attribute a lot of my performance to my mental strength and concentration on the day and how I was able to execute my race plan. I was absolutely thrilled to come away with the bronze, particularly in such tough competition. What made it even more special was crossing the line with my team mate Georgia Griffith who ran a fantastic race to finish 4th, putting the Aussie girls well and truly on the map! Of course it was also very exciting to run in the final of the girls 4x400m relay, I loved being part of a team in a somewhat traditionally individual sport. I was thrilled my parents could make the trip to Eugene, and share the experience with me.
Have you contemplated going to college in the US to study and run?
I had contemplated going to college in the US because it looks so much fun and is very tempting when you are offered a full scholarship worth thousands of dollars to some excellent schools. I had been on school exchange to the US in High school and loved it. Given that I cross train and do very low mileage, injury would have been a concern with the increased mileage. I was already really happy with my training and was getting some great results here at home and once I was accepted into Sydney University and given a scholarship with the Elite Athlete Program I was pretty content with staying in Australia. I am also extremely fortunate and excited to have a contract with Nike which I would not be prepared to relinquish to go to college in the US.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
Monday: AM: 1hour recovery swim
Tuesday AM: 20minute bike set, 20minute run PM : Track session on grass
Wednesday: Am: 1hour swim, small bike and track session AM: Gym session at NSWIS
Thursday AM: 20minute bike set, 20minute run PM : Track session on grass
Friday AM: Gym session at NSWIS PM: 20-30minute run
Saturday AM: Am: 1hour swim, small bike and track session PM: Beach run and Sand dunnes
Sunday: AM: 40-60minute road ride PM: 40-60 minute bush run It looks like a lot but Kevin and I work on a principle of completing small sessions frequently rather than having hard and easy days during the week.
Can you talk us through one of your favourite/key track sessions?
I would have to say that one of my favourite sessions is my long run on a Sunday afternoon. I would be the first to admit that most endurance sessions are my least favourite, but I do my long run through Boudi National Park which has some absolutely amazing views of the MacMasters- Kilcare area and some really great trails which makes running up 400 consecutive stairs much more enjoyable! It’s also really great that we get to go for a recovery swim at MacMasters beach after.
Do you have a role model, or some one you look up to in regards to running?
I have always loved watching David Rudisha run. He makes it look so effortless and fluid. I have also always looked up to Tamsyn Manou who dominated the 800 in Australia for so many years. I have huge respect for Kelly Hetherington who is such a tough competitor on the track, but one of the nicest people you will ever meet off the track. She always made me feel welcome, even when I was feeling out of my depth.
I love all food too much! If I go out for dinner, I won’t be ordering the salad!