My move to Maitland in 1998 brought me into contact with local running coach Hans Tiller. Hans demonstrated a passionate for distance running, was a level 4 coach (the highest level of coaching which can be achieved) and also the registrar of Hunter Track and Field, the regions prominent athletics club. Within a month of my arrival in the region I was a signed up member of the club and had taken possession of my locally custom made “lycra” club singlet. This singlet would do me for the next 18 years and is still holding up pretty well!

Hunter Track and Field has been my club for close to 20 years and during that time we have only put a senior men’s relay team on the park on a few occasions despite the best efforts of Hans. For the club officials there is nothing better than to have strong representation at Championships than submitting competitive relay teams. It demonstrates a healthy club that has depth to its membership. In NSW there are several championship relay events to choose from including;

–          NSW Track and Field Relays (includes all track and field events as relays)

–          NSW Cross Country Relays

–          NSW Road Relays

–          NSW All Schools Relays (for high schools)

Today was the NSW Road Relays where open men’s and women’s entered teams of 4 to contest a 4km leg. It’s a lot of fun and takes the focus off individual performances. Han’s had done wonders in putting forward teams for several of the junior categories and an open women’s team which included my good friend and former training partner and almost 40 Angela Leadbeater.  Whilst I still live in some kind of timewarp practicing the workouts that we did together almost 20 years ago in the same locations Angela now does most of her training from her Lake Macquarie home between work and the comings and goings of 4 kids.

Fortunately for me I am not performing these workouts solo and three training buddies in Guy Walters, Pat Moore and Conner Stevenson were all keen to put a team together for today’s relay. Happy for the diversion from the typical marathon workout Saturday I agreed and the result was a sneaky bronze medal in the open men’s category. The boys all ran well and although we couldn’t match the firepower of Randwick Botany and UTS Norths Athletics Clubs they showed plenty of promise.

Along with the bronze medal from the Hunter girls team of Angela Leadbeater, Anna Grant, Reggie Jenson and Laura Simon that perhaps there are some happy days ahead for Hans Tiller!