My last blog post was the day that I was notified that I had been selected to travel to Poland and run for Australia, from that day right up until the big race, I did almost everything right with some great sessions that gave me confidence going into the event. I travelled to Poland with a great group of people that bonded really well. It was great having the Ballarat Project guys Collis Birmingham and Brett Robinson on the team, also Liam Adams, a regular on the Australian team for World XC. They provided great advice going into the race with their previous experiences. I loved spending time with the team I was involved in, the junior boys, made up of Morgan McDonald, Jake Birtwhistle, Jack Curran, Sean Guiney and Stewart McSweyn. A great group of lads that provided so many laughs and quality times, also some of the biggest shit talkers I know. On race day we all stepped foot on the start line together in the sub zero degree temperatures and fought through the snow, ice, mud and 100+ people from many different nations. I just cracked the top 50, finishing 49th, in a time of 23.38 for the not quite 8km course. I was very happy with this result, as it was my first, and hopefully not the last, international event.

After returning back to Australia I took a two week break where I just jogged with no intensity whatsoever, it was a much needed break as I’d been training very hard in the months leading up. Athletics Victoria’s XCR 13 season was my next focus, and that kicked off with the XC relays, followed by the Sandown road relays, where Ballarat Region’s Div 1 mens team finished in the top 5 on both occasions. There has now been two individual rounds of the season (where I compete in U20 Men), one in my hometown, where I finished 3rd and one at Brimbank Park, Keilor, where I finished 2nd, but was awarded gold, due to an invitational runner taking the race out. My next focus is on the Victorian All Schools XC on June 22, where I will race for a spot on the Vic team to travel to Tasmania for the National Champs.

My training group has grown over the past few months with a fair few young people joining the group, which is always good to see. Just have to hope they stick with it because some have huge talent. The ‘elite’ of my group is Duer Yoa, he is dominating at the moment winning Run for the Kids and has been right up there in all the AV XCR rounds. He is good to have at training because he pushes us younger boys. Jack Birmingham, Jesse Fullerton, and Ryan Norman, are all going along nicely, they are currently leading the XCR team points table in the under 18s. Then there is my training partner… some call him daddy long legs, many call him the mayor of King Island, or simply the big rig. Stewart McSweyn, boarding in Ballarat, and originally from KI, is who I do 90% of my training with. We have a lot of laughs, and still get the quality training done. We are all coached by Rod Griffin. Rod has coached me for 4-5 years now. I am grateful for all the work he puts in and the support he gives. We do our sessions at a park ten minutes out of Ballarat in Buninyong. It is the ideal training venue for speed work with its smooth gravel surface and we normally have it to ourselves.