Inspirational Ipswich runner Clay Dawson out in open spaces where he loves to enjoy the purety of his sport.
Inspirational Ipswich runner Clay Dawson out in open spaces where he loves to enjoy the purety of his sport.

Top runner keeping fit at a safe distance

WHEN you're highly motivated like Clay Dawson, it's a massive setback being unable to train with big groups of mates.

Dawson was preparing for the Australian 50km championships in Canberra when the coronavirus impact became so serious.

He was about to taper for his latest national conquest in Canberra on April 4, a major stepping stone to the 100km world championships in Amsterdam in September.

He had trained for 12 weeks focused on that event, "feeling better than I'd ever felt before'' before receiving the race cancellation news.

However, the Ipswich runner and Rosewood State High School teacher is eager to promote the positive benefits of continued training, albeit with only a friend or two at a safe distance.

"Pretty much, it's keeping it isolated but the training hasn't stopped and the intensity hasn't stopped either,'' he said.

"Step back to the purity of the sport.''

The inspirational runner said with no competition in the foreseeable future, it was a chance to get in some extra kilometres and work on specific aspects of training.

"It's just keep the legs ticking over and take advantage of the fact that other people might not (be doing the same),'' he said.

"It's probably just for a bit of mental sanity as well, to get out and run.

"My friend and I went on a run, out in the trails, and that was quite nice to get away from the world and distance yourself from social media.''

That is important for everyone, including higher level athletes in Ipswich's ever-achieving NANCI running squad.

The highly motivated group often had 30 or more mates running together regularly in the morning and even more attend afternoon sessions around Ipswich.


Marathon master Clay Dawson.
Marathon master Clay Dawson.


Marathon master Dawson said at least everyone could stay in touch online and encourage each other while doing their own individual training a safe distance apart.

After the national 50k championships, Dawson had also tailored his training towards the Brisbane Marathon he has won or placed in a number of times.

That popular event has also been cancelled.

All that leaves his chance for a first world titles campaign uncertain.

"It's not looking great either,'' the Karalee athlete said.

As a teacher, Dawson knows how important it is to encourage fitness and well-being.

Aged 38, he always sets a fantastic example to his students about being dedicated.

"If they do quarantine us at school and work and stuff, it's almost like we're professional athletes. We train, we sleep, we eat, we train,'' he said.

"It is horrible what is going on (with the coronavirus) . . . but it's trying to stay positive.''

Running in a safe environment away from others is a good start.

"You forget how clean the air is and it feels good to get oxygen and vitamin B (from the sun),'' Dawson said.