Running fast times aim for Chignell

Oli Chignell runs on at the Caledonian Ground yesterday as he prepares to leave for two months of racing in Europe. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Oli Chignell runs on at the Caledonian Ground yesterday as he prepares to leave for two months of racing in Europe. Photo: Peter McIntosh
It has been a long time coming, but Europe finally awaits.

Dunedin runner Oli Chignell departs on Saturday for Leuven, Belgium, where he will spend two months racing in European competitions.

Oli Chignell
Oli Chignell
Meeting him there will be fellow Dunedin runner Sam Bremer.

Bremer (23) has been working on ball-tracking animation at televised golf tournaments in the United States for the past two months.

After planning the trip for nearly a year, Chignell (21) said it had ''snuck up on him'' in recent weeks.

He will stop off in Townsville for the Oceania Championships, before flying on to Europe.

''It's definitely a lot of emotions,'' he said.

''Definitely exciting, because it's a brand new experience and I know I'm on course to run really well over there.

''But I'm also a wee bit nervous; just the anticipation. I haven't really been away from family or my girlfriend for that long.

''But having someone like Sam there is good. If I get a bit too stressed out he can tell me to chill out a bit.''

Running fast times was the goal of the trip - particularly in the 5000m.

He is aiming to get as close to 13min 40sec as possible - nearly 30sec below his personal best.

That is also the time to become a carded athlete, which would financially make future trips easier.

In the 3000m he wants to go close to the 8min mark, whilein the 1500m he wants to push 3min 43sec.

It is something for which he is on track.

Training had gone well and, after taking a few weeks off to travel to England, he had a ''poor man's'' altitude block in Australia.

He has increased his mileage this year and has recently been operating on a 10-day schedule, having one hard day followed by two easy ones.

''The hard thing about not racing that much is you don't know your potential.

''I'm quite minimalistic when it comes to training.

''I've only jumped on the track a handful of times, but since I've jumped on the track my expectations have gone through the roof a bit.''

The pair will stay in a university hostel about 1.5km from the track.

They are planning to travel around - Chignell has races lined up in Belfast, Cork, Watford, London, Manchester and Vienna, as well as Belgium.

Having both been prominent on the national scene in recent years, this is the next big step.

Chignell said international racing and altitude racing were the two big steps for distance runners to take.

This was the first of those and the level of competition would be unlike anything either had seen before.

''At the point I'm at now, the training's been so hard, by the time I'm at the start line it should be just going out and delivering the goods.

''It'll hurt, but it shouldn't be too hard, considering the kind of work I've been doing.''

He was unsure how long he would be gone, although it would probably be until mid to late August.

The plan was to make it a regular trip, although he would see how this year went first.

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