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It was in October of 2010 that I realized I should never make assumptions when dining in a foreign country!

World Half Marathon Championships, Nanning, 2010

In less than 4 days, the starting gun would fire on the streets of Nanning in South Eastern China to see which female would become the World Half Marathon Champion. Meanwhile, six nervous but excited Australians decided to eat a dinner meal outside of the hotel for a change of scenery and a new cultural experience… ‘Little Bo Peep’ was the place of choice. As I sunk my teeth into a surprisingly doughy pork dumpling, it suddenly occurred to us all that the chilly/garlicky complimentary ‘soup’ in the middle of the table was in fact a boiling broth to cook our food in. Fortunately the raw pork didn’t do any harm this time but a lesson in Chinese dining culture was certainly learnt.

Invaluable lessons about the honour of representing one’s country, navigating unfamiliar streets on training runs (Anne Lord), team camaraderie, dealing with nerves and spontaneous drug tests before competition and preparing for an international race were also absorbed. A fourth overall team placing, a 24th individual finishing position and the exposure to this level of competition fuelled my motivation to pursue my running dreams and one day run a marathon.

Sitting on my bed, 3.5 years later, I feel very honoured to have been named in my second and Australian World Cross-country team after finishing second to Victoria Mitchell in the trials at Stromlo Forest a few weeks ago. The biggest team possible has been selected, which is exciting for the sport as