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The thrills of distance

CROSS COUNTRY KIDS: Two months of long, lonely 4km runs are over for Sonia Van Mol, Ashlea Bailey and Corey Selmanovic after they returned from the recent Queensland Secondary School's Cross Country Championship in Townsville.
CROSS COUNTRY KIDS: Two months of long, lonely 4km runs are over for Sonia Van Mol, Ashlea Bailey and Corey Selmanovic after they returned from the recent Queensland Secondary School's Cross Country Championship in Townsville.

WHAT goes through the minds of teenagers as they are running a 4km cross country course?

When asked, Biloela High School students Ashlea Bailey, Sonia Van Mol and Corey Selmanovic all laughed.

“This is stupidity,” joked Ashlea, 17.

“Why am I doing this?” 16-year-old Sonia Van Mal offered.

Shrugging his shoulders, 13-year-old Corey admitted “not much”.

The trio has just returned from the Queensland Secondary Schools Cross Country trials held in Toowoomba.

For the past few months they have been running 4km races and training sessions in the build-up to the State trials.

They started out at the school trials, which Ashlea said was “just a lot of fun”.

Then they progressed to the Port Curtis and Capricornia selection trials in Sarina, which Sonia described as a “bit more serious”.

“The high school cross country is a bit of fun, running against your school mates.

“When you start making the representative teams it is still fun, but it is different, because you are competing against other good long distance runners and you really want to test yourself against them,” Ashlea said.

“When you make the Port Curtis team, then you want to do well to make the Cap team so you can run at the States,” Sonia said.

While this is Corey's first time wearing the Capricornia colours at the State Secondary School trials, it was the third appearance for Sonia and Ashlea.

“I set myself the goal of going to Cap this year and achieved it,” Sonia said.

“I want to do it again next year.”

Corey earned a spot at the State trials starting line after coming fourth at the Cap trials and crossed the finish line a credible 31st out of 60.

Sonia finished fifth in Sarina and in the middle of the pack at Toowoomba, while Ashlea recorded a fifth placing and 38th respectively.

Corey said he liked long-distance running because he was good at it.

“I don't know why, I just am,” he said.

“You just concentrate on running at your own pace and then watch the runner in front of you, trying to close the gap.

“Hopefully, you have a little bit of energy left to sprint the last 100 metres or so.”

With their cross country ordeal behind them, the three are now preparing for the Port Curtis Athletics trial where they will feature in long and middle distance events.


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