Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 21st January 2016
1. Best memory from last year?
Hard to go past the mayhem of the first few hours after the final. The moment you cross the line, coming back on the shoulders of your team mates, accepting the trophy, celebrating with your friends and family, heading to the hotel ; it all still gives me a huge smile whenever I think about it . I guess when you’ve set a long term goal like Stawell, having been fortunate enough to have executed that just gives you this insane sense of euphoria that literally lasts for months after.
2. How did the win change your life?
Winning Stawell definitely brings with it many opportunities, especially in those first few months after the race: you meet and speak to some really fascinating people that you otherwise wouldn’t, get invited to some incredible events and functions and generally just lap it all up! So there’s certainly exciting changes in that regard and it’s actually quite hard to come out of that bubble going into the next seasonJ
I guess though when the smoke settled I realised that the Stawell experience had been most life changing in the way that it had rejuvenated my passion for the sport, and I’ve used that renewed vitality to re-dedicate myself to further training and progress my coaching and teaching
3. Are you coming back to defend your title this year, if so how is your preparation coming along?
Unfortunately I won’t be competing this year as I underwent surgery in January for an ongoing hip impingement issue, but no doubt I will return to compete many times in the future; the lure of Stawell is irresistible to us runners
4. Any advice you can give young athletes wanting to one day compete or even win at Stawell?
Success in pro running for me comes down to 3 factors- enjoyment, dedication and execution. Find a squad that makes you want to turn up to training every day and enjoy what you do – make sacrifices and push yourself to go further than you have before every session, continually learning as you go along – execute by getting to race day and simply trying to replicate what you do every day- trusting in the processes you’ve established through a season, finding that perfect zone on the track where what others are doing fades around you.
5. This year marks the 135th running of the Stawell Gift, what makes this event special in your eyes?
I remember distinctly the morning after last year’s gift coming into the hall of fame and being told some of the stories of past winners, and at one point the staff mentioning how historical the gift was when you consider it was older than the Anzac tradition – that really hit home with me –it just made me think about how many people over those 134 years have been impacted by the gift in some unique way – and it was just extremely humbling thinking about how the gift means so many things to so many people; that tradition is definitely part of what makes it so special. The other reason is hard to put in words, but it’s something about the mythical element the gift has – a beast so many try to slay but so few have- it’s what keeps so many coming back year after year!
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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