World Stage for Emma

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World stage for Emma

Sydney University Athletics Club runner Emma Mahon has been selected in the seven-member Australian team to compete at the 2022 World University Cross Country Championships.

The 22nd running of the Championships will be staged at Aveiro, Portugal, on March 11, 12 and 13, when Emma will contest the gruelling 10km women’s cross-country event.

A product of Redlands School in Sydney, 18-year-old Emma has just started Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees and entered the Sydney Uni Sports and Fitness Elite Athlete Program (EAP). “The program has already been really helpful with arranging tutors and lectures as I prepare to go to Portugal,” Emma said.

So how did an 18-year-old starting out on a double degree at Sydney University get into long-distance running?

“I didn’t start in Little Athletics like most youngsters,” she said. “My parents didn’t want me in a hyper-competitive environment. But when I started Primary School, we had fitness runs, and I started beating all the boys. The teachers thought I had some promise, so they spoke with my parents, and they immediately signed me up with Little Athletics.” By Year 5, Emma was running at the nationals and has been competing in the NSW and Australian cross-country championships every year since. She came to notice as a 15-year-old when she finished third in the 3000m at the Australian Under 20 Championships.

Last year she finished sixth in the 1500m at the 2021 Australian Under 20 titles on the back of a fourth placing in the 3000m at the 2021 NSW Championships. She also won the Illawong Track Challenge (1500m) in the lead-up to the state titles. But it was her quick time in the Sydney 10km cross-country meeting that caught the eyes of Athletic Australia selectors. “I was selected for the World University Championships on the back of my 2021 performances, particularly when I ran a quick time in the Sydney 10km meeting,” Emma said.

“Athletics Australia advised us well before the team was publicly announced last week that we’d be going to Portugal so we could plan our training for the meeting. In preparation for the 10km cross-country, Emma has been undertaking special training six days a week; including three hard sessions, a rest day on Friday and a long run-on Sunday.

Athletics Australia General Manager of High-Performance Andrew Faichney said he was looking forward to seeing the seven-strong team take the next step in their endurance careers. “The World University Cross Country Championships is an important steppingstone for athletes striving to make it onto our most elite teams, and in fact, it’s been the first senior teams for some of our most prolific marathoners including Jessica Stenson and Steve Moneghetti’s first senior medal,” he said.

The three-day event includes the Opening Ceremony on day one, the men’s and women’s races on day two, and presentations and the Closing Ceremony on day three. Bring on Portugal.