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BEING A TEAM PLAYER

For many years I wondered how athletes in individual sports could get the same enjoyment as those participating in team sports… that sense of pride as a team-mate pats you on the small of your sweaty back after an intercept, joining several other hands as you reach into a container of juicy orange pieces that your friend’s Mum had cut earlier that morning, huddling in a tight circle to perform ‘three cheers’ and then dragging your feet back onto the court for an exhausted warm down lap or two with the team and screaming your lungs out to “We are the champions” following glory on Grand Final Day… how could an individual sport match that?

From the age of ten I enjoyed (if I could think of a stronger word I would use it) playing netball for a small town called Kybybolite, just outside of original hometown of Naracoorte. Basketball, Volleyball and more netball were among the team sports that I pursued when I moved to Adelaide in 2003. It was a very challenging decision to hang up my netball bodysuit at the end of the 2008 winter, in order to focus on my running. I felt as though I was making a choice between being a member of a team and a close circle of friends versus taking on the ‘lonely-man’s’ sport. In the five years since my decision to pursue running I can easily and excitedly say that I feel like I belong to one of the most closely-knit teams I have ever been a part of and an even wider team in the local and Australian community.

In my experiences, running is far from a lonely sport… most of the time! In my average week of training I run anywhere between 1-3 hours on my own and even those runs are in partial company with dog-walkers, construction workers and friends tooting as they drive to work! You can’t get away with anything in Adelaide. I am fortunate to have a partner, Matt or ‘Ferbs’, who also loves to run middle-distance events. In an average week I run 2-4 hours with him. The bulk of my training however is the 8-10 hours per week that is done with my training group, Team Tempo; which also includes Matt. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to run in company so often and it makes me appreciate my alone time when I do have it. A solitary run is a nice time to listen to a favourite playlist, solve the world’s issues, think about the day ahead and take in your surroundings.