Echuca's Brady Threlfall competed against the world's best long-distance runners in Saturday's World Challenge.LUKE MCMANUS March 26, 2014 4:04am
Brady Threlfall earned a first-hand look at some of the world’s best long-distance runners during Saturday’s World Challenge event in Melbourne.
Threlfall competed in the 5000m against Kenyan Isiah Keoch and a drove of Olympians in his first international athletics meet.
Keoch — fifth at the 2012 London games — won in 13:29 ahead of Australian’s Ben St Lawrence (13:46) and New Zealand’s Malcolm Hicks (13.47).
Threlfall endured windy conditions at Lakeside Stadium to finish 10th (14:29), beating home countryman Matthew Cox by less than a second in an endeavour ‘‘not to finish last’’.
Threlfall’s run was about 10 seconds shy of his personal best time and while disappointed with his performance, he remained resolute and said the experience was priceless.
‘‘It wasn’t my best result, I felt I could have raced a lot better and I didn’t push as much as I had wanted to,’’ he said.
‘‘I was in my own little race back there with Matthew Cox.
‘‘After running into the wind for the first 4km, I had nothing left and I dropped off a bit.
‘‘The run gave me a real good taste of what’s expected at this level.’’
Threlfall had his ideal race mapped out in his head and was determined to not let the occasion ‘‘get the better of me’’ after admitting to an under-par showing at last year’s Zapotek:10.
One could forgive Threlfall for succumbing to the hype however, after witnessing the champion Kenyan pull away at the 4km mark with ease and leave the rest of the field in his wake.
‘‘I’m still a good minute behind the leaders but it’s not a bad effort by a teacher from Echuca.’’
Even before the race, Threlfall had to pinch himself after rubbing shoulders with the ‘‘who’s who of Australian athletics’’ on the warm-up track and in the athletes’ lounge.
‘‘In the space of 20m, Sally Pearson was jumping over hurdles, John Steffensen had his headphones on listening to music and Craig Mottram was coaching,’’ Threlfall said.
‘‘It’s hard not to pull the phone out and start taking photos but I know I should be thinking about the job at hand because once the gun goes it’s a serious race.
‘‘It’s awesome to be a part of it and not just watch on from the stands.’’
Threlfall’s spectator days seem over with next year’s World Challenge firmly entrenched in his sights and is confident of shaving 15 seconds off his time.
Threlfall said he would keep using big stage events as ‘‘stepping stones’’ towards that goal, as well as his long-term dream of competing in a professional marathon.
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