|No. 4 June 1997|
|Trio Overcome Lonely Sport was written by Chris Wilson and appeared in Tuggeranong's community newspaper The Valley View. Scott Thomson at Sydney University was written by Scott's father Bert and will appear in SCTAC's June Tuggie Athlete magazine.|
Trio Overcome Lonely Sport
by Chris Wilson
First published in The Valley View June 3 1997
Middle distance running is often described as a lonely sport. The shock of feet pounding the surface shudders through the entire body, as the chest grips tighter and the breaths get shorter. No one can share the pain - the isolated runner must continue on alone.
But three young Tuggeranong runners have successfully given this individual sport a taste of teamwork, with their support and encouragement for each other, promoting an enjoyable training environment and successful results.
Kelly Roberts of Monash, Erin Sutcliffe of Wanniassa and Richardson's Michelle Ward-Pearson are members of a small training group based at Calwell Playing Fields. The talented trio recently completed an outstanding season in middle distance track competition and cross country running, with all three collecting the 800m and 1500m ACT Titles in their respective age-groups.
Kelly has been regarded as a talented running prospect for a number of years, but had her best season in 1996/97 to emerge as the Under 16, 800m and 1500m ACT Champion. Her time of 2 minutes 11 seconds to win the 800m title was the second fastest time ever run in that age-group at the Bruce athletic track. She then turned her attention to the Summer Series Cross Country events where, after winning two events, she finished outright second in the Open Women's Series.
Kelly's performances did not go unnoticed, with the 16-year-old collecting a Tuggeranong Rugby Union Club scholarship, the 1997 GIO Australia Women's and Girls' Fun Run Scholarship, and being NAMEd the ACT Athletics U16 Outstanding Winter Athlete.
Erin Sutcliffe, 14, concentrated primarily on track running over the past season and, as the U14 800m and 1500m ACT champion, she went on to win a silver medal in the 1500m at the National Track and Field Championships in Brisbane.
Erin was given both the Summer and Winter Outstanding Athlete Awards for 1996/97 ACT Athletics seasons and also finished third in the Summer Series Cross Country pointscore.
Michelle, 13, only joined the group this season and, in her first year of athletics in the ACT, she claimed the 800m and 1500m U13 ACT Little Athletics Titles. Michelle was subsequently selected to compete at the Australian Teams Championships for Little Athletics, finishing a creditable sixth (out of 16) in both middle distance events. Michelle also claimed bronze medals in the 800m and 1500m events in the U14 category of the Senior Athletics Championships.
Since joining the group last year, Michelle has improved her 800m time by 25 seconds, and her 1500m by 1 minute.
But the small training group's positive effects cannot simply be seen by ACT titles and improved times. The smiles that overcome the girls' faces when they train together symbolise the camaraderie and friendship they share, allowing them not only to be successful at their chosen sport - but to enjoy it.
Select photo to view large image
Kelly in the 1997 Women's and Girls' Fun Run. [35k]
Erin Sutcliffe, Jessamy Hosking and Michelle Ward-Pearson. SCT's winning team in the 1996 ACT CC Championships. [31k]
Michelle running a 4x4 leg during the 96/97 Interclub season [25k]
Erin Sutcliffe running in the 1996 Canberra Grammar 3km cross country event [40k]
Michelle after running in the 1997 GIO Women's and Girls' Fun Run [21k]
Scott Thomson at Sydney University
by Bert Thomson
First published in Tuggie Athlete magazine June 1997
Scott Thomson, last year's Junior Athlete of the Year, has been noticeably missing from the starting line of this years ACT cross country races. This has been due to Scott now attending the University of Sydney where he has commenced a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) degree. He is, however still training under the instructions of Gary Hosking, and recently won the 1500m and 5000m in the Rawson Cup competition which is an annual event strongly contested by the various residential Colleges within the campus of Sydney University.
Scott is a resident of St Andrew's College which has, as the NAME suggests, a Scottish origin. The 5000m race provided a unique experience for Scott which is probably only experienced in international competition and one which he will remember for a long time to come.
At the half way stage in the race three runners were well ahead of the field. These were Scott, representing St Andrew's College, and representatives from Wesley and St John's College. Another few laps saw the Wesley College representative fall back thus making the event a two horse race between Scott and the St John's representative who was an exchange student from the USA College system and who had previously competed in the NCAA Division 1 athletic competitions in the United States.
Feeling the effects of the 1500m race, which was held an hour earlier, Scott started to drop back and lost about 30m. With two laps remaining the large number of St Andrew's supporters commenced to sing "Flower of Scotland" in accompaniment to the bagpipes. This stirred some dormant nationalistic feelings (Scott was born in Scotland and came to Australia when he was four years old) and he found some additional energy to pull back the 30 m and eventually won the race by about 30m amid jubilant cheers from the St Andrew's students.
Scott says he has never experienced anything like it before as the St Andrew's supporters lined the track and were encouraging and cheering him in all the way. A football team stopped training in the adjacent oval when they heard the the noise and they also joined in the support.
Scott's aims are now to continue training and compete in a few C.C. races in the Sydney area and when possible to run in ACT races when home on holiday as he did at the Easter break when he won the 5km race at Ginnindera.
Select photo to view large image
Scott stretching prior to the 1996 ACT CC Championships. Note the kangaroo in background. [38k]
Scott (left), Michael Meyboom and Shaun McCabe. SCT's winning team in the 1996 ACT Cross Country Championships. [32k]