MAUDIE SKYRING: My Story, from the beginning

When asked to write my first blog, about anything in my running life, I was a little stuck. Where would I begin? So I thought, why not start as the beginning, especially since it wasn’t too long ago.

I began training almost 3 years ago,when I was 15, with my coach Paul Micale. Coming into athletics and cross-country late, has been challenging but rewarding, and has come with many ups and downs.

I have always had a love for running, I use to compete at all the school levels, but my ‘training’ consisted of running a few laps of the park with my dad and stopping when I got slightly tied. But as I began to love running more and more and when I made the final at state all schools with no real training, I was inspired to improve!

From then on my life has really changed, I have progressed and had so many amazing experiences.

In 2013 I ran my first ever NSW races for my Club Kembla Joggers. Everything was so new to me and I was racing all these people who had been doing it since they were tiny. My first Nationals were cross-country in Launceston in 2013. Making a New South Wales team and wearing that blue uniform had always been a dream of mine, and making it after around half a year of training and just joining the sport, was overwhelming and truly exciting. I ended up placing 21st in the U18, which I was delighted with. Then came the athletics season, which consisted of PB after PB in almost every single race I ran and another Nationals in Sydney, where I competed in the 1500m and 800m. Followed by that I went to Albany for Cross-country nationals, I loved the place and the course really suited me (as it was flat) allowing me to place 14th!

Then the next athletics season began, with NSW All-schools, and the last and first time I could qualify for All-school nationals. I ran in the 800m and came 3rd and then in the 1500m and 3km where I came 2nd meaning I made the NSW schools team for the 1500 and 3k. This was a trip to Adelaide where all the team must stay together, this trip has been one of my favourites as it allowed me to bond with so many of the distance girls and boys and make heaps of new friends in the athletics community. I was over the moon to come home with a silver medal for the 3km! I raced lots of the club premiships leading up to junior nationals trying to shave seconds off my PBs. I was also lucky enough to compete in my first ever Track Classic at Hunter where I got a massive PB in the 800m bringing it down to 2.11. Then came along nationals where I had an absolute blinder in the 1500m, running a 2second PB in the heats and then another 8 second PB in the final getting me my PB of 4.32.

Unfortunately my stellar nationals ended there, running a disappointing 800m and missing out on the final. Missing out on the final at nationals and not running a good time made me lose a lot of my confidence, especially since I had been planning on going to open nationals if I had raced well. I spent the weeks that followed junior nationals contemplating and changing my mind about whether I would go, many negative thoughts came through my head, but in the end I decided, what have I got to lose! With my eyes still set on trying to break the 2.10 barrier in the 800m I headed off to open nationals in Brisbane, a scary and incredible experience running with the best girls in Australia! Unfortunately I failed to run a PB, as I was hoping to do, but I left the track still smiling and with an important experience under my belt. On my 18th birthday I was greeted with the news I had made the Australian opens team to compete at the Oceania championships in Cairns, I was so excited to compete in the green and gold and to travel and stay with a team again. I ended up placing 3rd in the 1500m and 4th in the 800m, the places where not what I was hoping for and leaving me a little down. I was then lucky enough to get to run in the 4x400m team, with girls all way older then me, nevertheless I ran one of my most fun and thrilling races ever and my team came away with an exciting 2nd! Being disappointed about not running a personal best at a major competition, I looked back on a extremely long season and realised how much I had achieved and remembered some great times I had run! With it being such a long season, filled with several major competitions, I was fatigued towards the end. This year I’m going to start the season a little slower and later as I progress in to opens and after the HSC and my end of school celebrations.

Just recently I had nationals cross-county in Melbourne, making my first and last school cross country team was exciting and staying with the team allowed me to form new and strong friendships! It was a tough race ran in the pouring rain and although not the place I was hoping for the time was fast and I was much closer to my rivals and friends than ever before.

Looking back and realizing how far I have come is quite amazing, but I know I still have a lot of improving to do, especially if I want to be competitive with the best girls in Australia. I’m very excited for the athletics season ahead and motivated to make some big improvements!