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Thursday, 18 February 2010 02:14

Interview with Jeff Hunt

After his spectacular marathon debut in Japan, a couple of weeks ago, we caught up with Jeff Hunt and chat about couple of topics that, we thought, were not covered in the media.

There has been a lot of coverage about Jeff's 2:11:00 marathon in Japan but mostly in athletics specialized media. In the mainstream media it is business as usual, the spotlight is on football and cricket.
The exception was Melbourne's Age article and Mike Hurst's article in Daily Telegraph who both emphasized magnitude of this performance and huge future potential of this runner.

Many people don't realize that Jeff works full time and trains twice a day and on top of that he finds time for such activities as being club captain and†active member of our club committee.

Q1: How Jeff Hunt fits full-time work and presumably training twice a day on most days? Can you describe you typical working day.

With a regular routine, a flexible boss and determination.† During the week i am up at 6am to run 8km before work.† I then work 8am-4pm, before going home and doing the main session of my day at about†5:00/5:30pm.† Its not too hard to do if you can get the right amount of sleep.† I work in an office, so its pretty relaxed, but there isn't really any time to spare throughout the day. By working full-time, I can focus on something other than running.

Q2: Would you consider becoming a Pro runner and what does it take to become one?

I would consider it if the possibility ever arises. However, i need to keep my mind active, not just for my sanity but also for alertness when it will come to racing. I don't know what it takes to become one. Run fast, be marketable and have significance to the masses. Sponsors need to see value in them investing their money in you, like any job.† what is their return-on-investment going to be? what do you bring to the table? i think from a running perspective, its getting their brand out there, and having people see myself, a sponsor and running as one. Like Tiger Woods, you think Nike and Golf.† You think Golf, you think Tiger Woods and Nike.

Q3: When did you start 'serious' training i.e running nearly every day and did you ever think you'll end up running marathons?

Running more than 3-4 times a week probably started in 2001 not long before i joined Ken's group. Training mileage quickly rose after a short 10 days at falls creek in the 2001/02 summer. Originally, I was a steeplechaser who always thought that would be my event.† I never ever considered running a marathon, nor did i really want to. I am truly glad that i have done one, as it is where i think that i can be the best.

Q4: Do you think you are on relatively low mileage for a marathon runner? Where do you see future improvements?

If you look at Mona and Deek, they were doing 200km weeks quite regularly. I'm now averaging 170km+ week-in-week-out.† So i am getting there. I would say at a minimum you need to be running 160-170km per week.† The key thing is your long run. You also need to remember that 30-40k of that 170km week is 8km easy runs. At the moment, i'm not sure what improvements can be made. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Perhaps the 1-per-centers, like stretching, recovery, ice-bathing, etc.

Q5: Describe your training environment and all the support that you have and maybe all support that you would like to have.†(Please elaborate here and include not only your training squad but also family, Club, sponsors, Athletics NSW, Athletics Australia, other mentors etc.)

My training environment is fantastic.† The people I train with give encouragement but also keep you grounded. Everyone that is involved with my running has helped in some way or another, directly or indirectly. e.g. Ken coaching me, Heidi massaging me, Jonesy adjusting me, or everyone in the squad who simply turns up and train and are great friends. †Athletics Australia has been supportive of my growth as a distance runner and have provided me with the all the opportunities to grow into an international athlete, taking chances on me which have so far been fruitful. Randwick Botany has also been fantastic in their support and recognition of not just mine, but all RBH athletes.† I think that a club who does that is one that will retain athletes and watch them go onto bigger and better things.

Mum and Dad are very supportive and only want the best for me.† I donít think they ever thought I could reach this level when I first decided to run. I suppose my older brother Daniel would have to be partly responsible for me wanting to be a distance runner.† He had PBs that I wanted to break. The only one I donít have now is 800m Ė a 1:51 Ė and I donít think I will be running that any time soon.

Heidi has been great with providing close support, and picking up where I slack off around the house. Haha. Her magic-massage-hands are great, and help keep me in good nick.† She makes life easier for me so I can concentrate a lot on my running. Iím looking forward to getting married this year.

Going forward, I would like to get some financial support through shoe contracts and other avenues, but I canít bank on it. I am hopefully going to be added to the NSWIS program come the end of the season, and that will gain me access to facilities to help me improve even more. At the end of the day, whether financially supported, or not, I will run. I love the sport, and thatís all there is to it. Iím in it for the Australian Jersey.

Q6: Your hopes for the future.

I hope to go on to emulate the feats of Deek and Mona. They were phenomenal athletes who really set the bar high for marathon runners.†What they did for Australian Marathoning really put Australia on the map. I want to run much faster than i have, make every major team possible and win medals at major championships. I really want to be one of the best distance runners in the world. As i have found, it takes a lot of training and patience. I am curious to see what I am capable of. †I will do everything to reach my potential.

I would like to be able to assist in bringing the public interest back to Athletics.† We have a great pool of athletes in Australia, and everyone is rapidly improving, in perfect timing for this years Commonwealth Games. Hopefully the general public can be interested in our sport more often than Comm Games or Olympics.

Q7: Lessons that you learned in your running and would like to pass to young runners.

Patience - becoming a good runner wont happen overnight, it takes years upon years of dedicated training.

Perseverance - Even when times are tough, look on the bright side.

Prevention - Take care of your body before problems happen. †Regular massage and treatments from osteos/chiros/physios

Practice - if you want to be the best, you need to train like the best. no taking shortcuts, doing all the 1-per-centers like stretching, drills, sleep, etc. you can't just take a lazy approach to training and then expect to train well.

Professionalism Ė You need to approach your sport with a professional attitude. Do everything you can, and donít cut corners, it will catch up with you.

Thank you very much Jeff for representing our club, you made us all proud. We wish you all the best in your future running endeavours.

Note: All photos courtesy of "The Mainichi Newspapers".