Olympic goals: Aaron Stubbs. Photo: Melissa AdamsTwelve months ago Aaron Stubbs was a good, quick runner who trained like a club shuffler yet expected to get results like a member of the Jamaican sprint team. His thoughts.
He watched the national titles and realised he should be running, not watching. No, not running – he should be winning, not watching.
So, at last, he started training seriously. On Saturday in Queensland he ran a personal best 10.24 seconds for the 100 metres. It was just .08 outside the qualifying time for the Rio Olympics.
In the months since he started to train properly, he has cut his personal best for the 100m from 10.56s to now 10.24s.
It only gives him a taste of how quick he can be. He feels he can not only break the 10-second barrier but he can do so soon, as in soon enough to do it and get on the plane to Rio.
“I feel there is so much I am not doing right yet but in nine months of solid training I have gone from 10.6 to 10.2,” he said. “It’s a huge improvement and just goes to show the talent I have been wasting.”
On Saturday, had it not been for a false start in the lane next to him prompting a re-start, he thinks he would have bettered the Rio qualifying time. His start in the next race was “atrocious” but in the first race it had been excellent.
The start is one of the technical aspects he thinks he can significantly improve on and take him into the tantalising rarefied air of sub-10s. To date only one Australian – Patrick Johnson – has run a legal sub-10s 100m.
“I am a couple of kilos heavy at the moment, because I like cheesecake, but I don’t see if things go right that I cannot break the 10s barrier,” he said.
“Josh Clarke has been running well and I expect him to run 10.1s this season, I would be surprised if he didn’t. So I think to win nationals this year it will have to take a 10.0 or 10.1s run.
“The target for me has always been the nationals not the qualifier, I am not targeting these races to get a qualifier but I am 100 per cent confident the qualifier will come by nationals. I can hopefully get to Rio by then and push on to that 10s barrier.”
In 2009 Stubbs won the Stawell Gift as an 18-year-old. He said it was the best and worst thing to happen. He felt sure after the gift win that the results would naturally flow. They didn’t.
“Stawell for me you can look at it as a blessing or a curse. I won Stawell as an 18-year-old as the third youngest person ever and in the second quickest time at the time and I expected things to come easy and for that reason I struggled for five or six years and you can’t do that and train like that and expect results,” the now 25-year-old said.
“The guys you are racing against are not doing that, they are not out drinking or doing things, they are training. I was not acting like a professional athlete but then I was expecting the results of a professional athlete.”
Now that he is training like a pro he believes those lost years of under-training mean he is only “just starting to touch the limits of what my body can do and this season there is no reason I cannot break 10s”.
Meanwhile, in New Mexico at the weekend, world long-jump silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre jumped 7.88m with his first and only legal jump to win an invitational meet.
More encouragingly, Lapierre felt that the two jumps after he got on the board would have cleared 8.30m but for the red flag going up.
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