A gold medal at the NSW Athletics Championships last weekend has continued a whirlwind month for talented walker Hannah Mison.
The 20-year-old has completed a move from Wagga to Newcastle, where she's started university this week.
She travelled to the Oceania and Australian Race Walking Championships in Adelaide competing over the Olympic distance of 20km, and has been crowned state champion in the open women's 5000m on the track.
The 5000m is a short walk by the standards of the sport where the 20km and 35km are the peak events.
But she was rapt to win in 23 minutes, 16.55 seconds, taking 43 seconds off her personal best, and more than a minute quicker than last year's winning time.
"It was good. I didn't really expect to win. I just went out and...yeah," Mison said.
"It's exciting. I got injured in November, that was very deflating. So now to be able to do PBs, it's like, wow."
Mison is coached by Frank Overton on the NSW Central Coast where she trains a couple of days a week with a group of talented walkers.
She tends to underestimate her ability when training with the men but the gold medal was a confidence boost that her talent is coming along.
"The boys are so much further ahead and seem to do it effortlessly... but I figured out there with some girls that it's good," she said.
Mison was fifth over 20km at the national championships clocking one hour, 44 mins, 32 seconds to knock 10 minutes off her time of 12 months ago.
It's helping her get a gauge on where she's at.
"It was good, that was a PB, so I was happy. And it wasn't such a struggle as the last 20k I did," Mison said.
"I have some work to do, but up here I feel like it'll be easy and fun to try to get there."
Jemima Montag (1:27:27) won in a new national record time. Mison wants to get her time down below 1:40.
A long-term Kooginal-Wagga Athletics Club member, Mison was disheartened about her walking in a COVID-wrecked 2020. Last year was exciting but still harshly hit in terms of events.
Now, she feels like she can aim for the stars again, albeit with her feet firmly on the ground.
"I feel like I'm not 'elite' like some of the girls are," she said.
"But I feel like I'm getting there. And in this sport you have a lot of time to progress. There's years and years and years... people are competing in their 30s.
"So I don't feel any rush to perform."
The former athlete spent most of January in a training camp in Canberra and raced in a couple of 10km events.
Consistent improvement in her personal bests is the aim for now, rather than setting goals for gold.
The national track and field championships are next, in five weeks' time where Mison will race in the 10,000m walk, after finishing fourth last year.
Gundagai's Indiana Cooper, 17, was seventh in the open women's ambulant 100m, clocking an impressive 14.61s.
Kippy Langat was sixth in the open men's triple jump (14.25m) and Lilly Hewitt ninth in the open women's shot put and 13th in hammer throw.
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