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Being greeted by Greg Morrisey at Parkes East Primary School. Greg was the Sports Master for my tenure there 1980-1987.

Welcome to my blog “100 days to Rio”! This blog will be my chance to place pen to paper or tap away at the keyboard in sharing some of my reflections of the past 31 years of life as ‘a runner’. I hope to describe some of my favorite training workouts and perhaps unpack why I like them and how they could be used by others. My writing may be a little rough but with the help of spell check I am sure I will manage to publish something reasonable most days. So here goes……

Beginnings

Every journey has a beginning and as luck would have it I spent today in my hometown of Parkes NSW. I was there in my role with Athletics NSW to plan the Northparkes Rotary Fun Run to be held Sunday week. It was perfect timing when the Australian Olympic Committee announced Michael Shelley, Liam Adams and myself just as I was approaching the town yesterday. Talk about good timing!

Mayhem ensued; texts, calls, fun run a letter box drop, catch up with Parkes Champion Post, radio interviews, conduct fun run meeting, press interview, unpack event gear, conduct coaching clinic, dinner with my mum, bother and their family (French champagne may have been consumed), back to mum’s to bed. Big day!

Waking up this morning I was where it all began. The farm, “Glenbrook”, a land holding around 9km from the small village of Alectown on the Newell Highway between Parkes and Peak Hill. It’s a cropping and grazing property that my mum and late dad have farmed for the past 45 years and backs onto the Harvey Range National Park. It’s great for running having the best of both worlds; flat cropping lands at the front of the property and the undulating foothills of the Harvey Range at the property’s rear.

This morning I opted for the former. A tight schedule visiting 4 primary schools in Parkes (as a recently named Olympian) meant the run was merely a token effort so a lazy 8k to the ’bus stop’ and back was in order. A four kilometre run doesn’t sound like much now but in my early years of high school it was enough. The ’bus stop’ run usually meant I had no way of getting home, mum and my siblings were in town and I had opted to return home on the school bus. Mum would leave my shoes and a pair of shorts in a drum (that may had served as a mailbox for someone at one time) and I would exchange my loaded up school bag for the gear the drum yielded and off I would go. Happy to be free of the challenges that high school brings upon the adolescent.

Thinking about it now, running was very much how I coped with the teenage years. It was the space where I could be who I really was, just me and the gravel road crunching under my feet. Running the same road this morning as an Olympic bound athlete gave me great pride in the path I had chosen as a younger man. I wasn’t a ’freak teenage prodigy’ but I found joy in the act of running. In doing so I created a habit for life, and not such a bad one either…..

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It was great visiting my old school, Parkes East Primary. The kids are all pumped to take me down in the fun run next week. i think the question was “who thinks they can beat me over 2k? “!