Kelsie Youman has hit the track and is on her way to reach her peak for the Oceania Championships at the end of this month.
The Guyra athletics star will represent Australia at the meet in Fiji.
For Youman, it will not be the first time she has raced in Fiji, having represented regional Australia last year on the island.
But it will be the first time she has worn the green and gold.
“It feels a little strange being the only Armidale athlete in the Australian team,” she said. “However I am very honoured and proud to have the chance to wear the green and gold which I may never get to do again.
“The regional Australia team and Australian team all travel together sand stay at the same accommodation so I should still be spending a lot of time with my training partners which is great.”
She will compete in the 800 metres and the 2000 metres steeplechase after posting impressive qualifying times and results at the nationals.
Dedicated to her sport and her studies, Youman is undergoing her HSC but is managing to train three days a week in Armidale with coach Jay Stone as well as helping her mother, Nadine, train Guyra athletes every Wednesday.
She also tests her endurance once a week with a longer run and is building up her core strength to be in top shape for Fiji.
“Preparation is going well and is finally coming together,” she said.
“I was scared that I was not going to be able to work my way back up to the fitness level I was in for nationals in time for Fiji but at the moment my times I have been getting at training are the fastest I have ran since I have been in the Viper squad which is a good sign.”
This year’s meet will include more countries than the 2016 event and Youman is set for some heavily contested races.
“The competition is slightly different then last year, which was Melanesian, and this year it is Oceanic,” she said.
“Because it won’t be the same competition, I’m not positive what my chances are or how I will go placing wise.
“However, I am feeling fit and healthy and my training is going well so I am aiming to get PBs in my races which I believe I can achieve.”
She hit her peak for the nationals this year and was on her way to a podium finish in the 800m when she stumbled and fell.
She is ready to ramp it up in Fiji and achieve her personal best time in the 800m.
“Because I fell at nationals, I didn’t get to see the time I could have gotten with the training that I had put in,” she said.
“So to be able to complete a full race, full out to get a PB and see what I am capable of, would be great.”
For the athletes, the competition isn’t the only attraction – it is also a chance to meet other like-minded young stars and explore another country.
“I have been very excited about heading over to Fiji this year and am looking forward to competing,” Youman said.
“I'm again looking forward to meeting new people, not only from other countries but also from within Australia as I only know very few people that are in the Australian and Regional Australian team this year.”
With the weather in Fiji a bit warmer than Guyra, she will head over on June 26, a few days prior to the opening ceremony, to adjust.
Youman said behind all her success is a dedicated team of people.
“I would again like to thank my family and everyone else who supports me. I appreciate it a lot,” she said.
“Also my mum, who does everything for me and supports everything I do.
“And of course I would like to thank Jay Stone for everything that he does for myself as well as all the other athletes he coaches.
“He is truly amazing and I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have doing the things that I am without him.”