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Sporting Schools School Yard to Sports Star: Chris Hamer

Athletics with Chris Hamer

Image: Marathon runner Chris Hamer enjoys a Sporting Schools visit with students from Sts Peter and Paul Primary School in Garran.

Victorian runner Chris Hamer started athletics as a middle distance specialist. But a change of coach changed that.

Thanks to one of Australia’s greatest distance coaches, Dick Telford, Chris now runs marathons. His first marathon time was fast enough to qualify for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Chris talks about his early days playing a variety of sports during a Sporting Schools visit prior to embarking on a training camp at Noosa to get used to Queensland’s the humidity before the Games.

What's your funniest sporting memory?

The first marathon I did was in Amsterdam and I didn’t know what to expect. After it my legs were completely destroyed – I couldn’t walk anywhere. After the marathon, we did a bit of travelling. I spent the next week making my wife carry all my bags around which was pretty humiliating. We went on a bus tour. I got off the bus, but my legs were so tired I couldn’t get back on, I had to get a couple of the older ladies to give me a push up the steps… that was pretty embarrassing, but I can laugh about it now.

Were you always good at running?

I always did lots of sports when I was growing up – tennis, hockey, athletics, coming from Melbourne, AFL – I was Ok, but I was never the best but I just stuck at it. We lived next to a little athletics track, so I did Little Athletics when I was primary school age and my high school had an athletics team.

When did you decide you wanted to do athletics competitively and put all your energy into it?

I’ve always done it to some extent but I starting taking it seriously towards the end of high school when I started to getting a bit more professional I guess. A bit more focused on the training.

How often would you train?

I’d still run every day, some sort of running, it wasn’t necessarily specific training or sessions, it might just be going out for a couple of Ks, then kicking the footy at the end of it with my Dad.

What are your top tips for children playing sport?

  1. Definitely pick a sport that you enjoy. If you’re not enjoying it there’s probably not much point in doing it. There’s so many different sports these days that everyone can find a sport they enjoy.
  2. Try to do it with some friends as well, it just makes it more interesting and a bit more enjoyable. It’s also a great way to make friends.
  3. Play as many sports as possible – you never know what one you will like best.

The men’s marathon will be held on April 15, which is the last day of the Commonwealth Games.

Athletics Australia offers flexible primary school and secondary school programs to meet the individual needs of schools. IAAF Kids’ Athletics for primary school students and Active Aths program is designed for secondary school students in Year 7 and 8. For more information check out the Athletics Australia page.

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Athletics with Chris Hamer