Date: 4th April 2014

Commonwealth Games 400m gold medalist John Steffensen will head back to Central Park this Easter where he will take on a new challenge when he runs in the 550m for the first time.

Always a crowd favourite, Steffensen has chosen the WH Earle Handicap 550m event as part of his training regime for middle distance races, as he looks to make the transition into the 800m.

“At this stage of my career I need new challenges to keep things fresh,” Steffensen said.

“The 800m has always been an event I felt I could do. I know I certainly have a lot to do before I become a serious competitor at 800m and the 550m distance at Stawell is an ideal stepping stone for an old 400m runner like me looking to increase my range.”

This will be the third time the world champ has competed at the Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival, with Steffensen saying he was really looking forward to the atmosphere that the iconic event brings each Easter.

“I’ve always had a great time at Stawell, racing in the unique competitive environment of handicap racing on grass in front of a large enthusiastic crowd. There is no other athletics meeting like it.”

Steffensen will be joined on the start line by former Australian champion Lauren Wells and young gun Cameron Moss who took out the 400m at the Bendigo International Madison Carnival last month.

Steffensen will be in Melbourne this weekend for the Commonwealth Games trials where he hopes to qualify in the 400m event.

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