LISTEN: 14-year old runner's hard work pays off in Tasmania
HEPTATHLON: Mack Geiger, 14, was back in the pack before 1500m final of the 2019 Australian Junior Combined Event Championships in Hobart.
But the hours and hours of early morning training, some of which included 5.30am sessions on the family farm, along with after-school programs, came to fruition on Sunday afternoon.
Trinity College student Mack paced himself to perfection to finish third overall in the under-16 heptathlon.
He won the 1500m final in convincing fashion in a time of 5:30-minutes ahead of fellow Queenslander Connor Duggan and Eli Taylor from Victoria.
The latter pair finished first and second respectively overall.
"I was pretty nervous because it was all kind of depending on that race and I think everyone just felt like we wanted to get the race over with," Mack said.
In a sport where math played a big part, Mack said he had to beat the third-ranked person (prior to the 1500m) in a certain amount of time.
"I had to try and get enough ahead of him and build up some points," Mack said.
Mack left his best to last - and with a medal on the line - that otherwise would not have deemed possible.
He bettered his previous personal-best time in the 1500m by 9.8sec which also included a 308-point PB since January.
Both the hurdles and the 1500m are Mack's biggest strengths and both these disciplines have the most points available to gain for the athletes.
"I was really happy with all my results and with a fair few PB results in the other events," Mack said.
BREAKDOWN OF EVENTS
Words by Gemme Geiger
Heptathlon is a seven combined event comp. Athletes all compete in the same seven events and earn points for either how fast they run it or how far they jump or throw. All the points are added to find out the place-getters
Mack was winning the hurdles, but then bumped the third-last hurdle that slowed him to finish it in second position. He went into the shot put (his worst of the seven events) and threw a 61cm personal-best, but was behind the next best by about 2m so got pushed back down to fourth place.
He went into high jump in fourth position (points-wise) and jumped an equal PB to finish the high jump in third which moved him a bit closer the third overall within 40 points, but still in fourth overall.
He finished day one with a 1.51sec PB in the 200m (getting second in that race) that closed the gap between fourth and third to nine points. Mack finishing day one in fourth position overall, nine points behind third.
Starting the day with Long jump. He was the opening jumper and jumped a PB in his first jump.
Then continued to jump better each jump. By the end of long jump, he had jumped three PB jumps to get second in that event. This was enough to push him back up to third position overall but only 40 points ahead of fourth.
Next up was the Javelin and everyone knew that the guy coming fourth overall was the best Javelin thrower. Well he lived up to expectation and threw a nearly 50m throw to move himself back up into third overall ahead of Mack by over 110 points. (Mack placed third in the Javelin with a solid throw)
It all came down to the 1500m run....
Mack had to beat the athlete currently ahead of him by at least 150m! Big ask but Mack has a knack for just finding something extra when he needs to.
So Mack currently in fourth position overall, 111 points behind third and 189 points behind second, he had to do his absolute best to get far enough ahead to get into medal contention.
He raced his heart out leading from the start and convincingly winning the 1500m by a fair bit and getting a 9.8sec PB time in the process.
He had done enough to get bronze! He beat the other guy by about 200-plus metres.
Mack earn't bronze at the National U16 Australian Heptathlon Championships with a 308-point PB overall. Seven events over two days.