Commonwealth Games athlete Victoria Mitchell spoke to us about her path to this year's Games and her love of Mini-Mos.
1. Firstly, congratulations on being selected in the Australian Commonwealth Games team. How did you find out?
I knew when I crossed the finish line first at the National Championships/Commonwealth Trials that I had secured automatic nomination for Commonwealth Games. I had made the team.
2. How did you feel when you were told? Did you do anything to celebrate?
I felt relieved that I had performed under pressure. Also satisfied and happy. I didn’t do anything to celebrate apart from having the next day off training.
3. You will compete in the 3000m steeplechase, for those who don’t know, can you explain what this race is exactly?
The steeplechase is like distance hurdles except the hurdles are called ‘barriers’ because they don’t fall down and there is a water jump each lap. We jump 35 times, 7 of those being water jumps in which we need to clear a barrier and an expanse of water.
4. When did you first get into athletics?
I did Little Athletics, so I’ve been competing in athletics since Primary School age.
5. When you were in primary school, did you ever imagine you’d run at the Commonwealth Games one day?
I never thought of competing in Olympics or Commonwealth Games until I was in high school. I set the goal of running in the Olympics when I was in Year 7 or 8.
6. At what point did you know you could compete professionally?
When I won a silver medal at the University Games in Izmir, Turkey.
7. I read that horse show jumping had a bit to do with your chosen event?
I grew up riding and competing in equestrian. I made the Victorian State Show Jumping Squad but when I went to University in Ballarat I had to stop riding. I always had a ‘natural eye’ for jumping which meant knowing where the take off point is and how to get the horse there in a good position/frame. I feel that translated to when I ran and jumped on foot too.
8. What or whom has supported/inspired you along your journey as a professional athlete to get you to where you are today?
I was encouraged by many people along the way beginning with my High School P.E teacher Steve Ward. I was supported largely by my Mum early on, taking me to training and competitions as I couldn’t take myself. All my coaches in order; John Routledge, Richard Huggins, Rod Griffin, Joe Franklin, Nic Bideau, Tim O, Sean Williams and my current coaches Pete and Ris Good.
9. What’s your training schedule like in the lead up to the Games?
My training schedule remains similar to what I usually do but will include a taper leading into the Games.
10. What do you do to relax and have fun?
To relax I meditate, go to the movies, get Thai foot massages and sleep, chill out. For fun I like to dance, play games, trivia, hang with friends and family, visit the farm, hang out with my nieces and nephew and engage in different activities like rock climbing etc.
11. What’s it like competing at the Commonwealth Games? Will this one be different because it’s on home soil?
It is a great vibe, especially when it is on home soil. I competed in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the support was amazing. It has a similar feel to the Olympics due to the village set up and being multi-sport.
12. You’ve been to two previous Comm Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, what’s the athlete’s village like at such events? Any cool things you can share with us?
The Village is like ‘living in a free world’... you don’t need to pay for anything and there is everything you need. The dining hall is 24/7 and caters to all cultures etc. There are no curfews and you can mingle. It’s normal for athletes to party after their events but be respectful to others that might still be competing. Each country has a big building and you can recognise them as they are decorated with the countries flags etc. The buildings are generally high rise and there are many apartments, usually with 3-4 rooms which are generally twin share.
13. Is competition all about winning?
Competing is always about giving your best on the day. Although no-one is unbeatable and it can be your day, winning is always just a bonus and never guaranteed. You can always guarantee giving your best, that’s up to you.
14. You’ve competed and won the Mini-Mos 10k a few times now. What keeps you coming back?
The Mini-Mos is a challenging course and works well as a hard tempo which is always a great strength-endurance training session. The awesome prize money is definitely a major factor for my participation as well. I am not a funded athlete and I have no sponsorship so it is always very handy to help with my preparations for major events.
15. What do you think about the Mini-Mos 10k course?
The Mini-Mos course is a hard 10km but it is also interesting to run with all the ups and downs and twists and turns. There are also some good views.
16. We don’t want you to reveal all your secrets, but what’s the number one tip you could share on preparing for the Mini-Mos 10k?
The best preparation someone can do for the Mini-Mos is to train hard for the distance and terrain. So some hill intervals and long threshold runs would be a good addition to someone’s running program in the lead up.
17. What would you say to all the kids who may be thinking about running at this year’s Mini-Mos?
Kids usually don’t know how to pace themselves very well so I’d say not to go out too fast! Get into a nice strong rhythm and build up your pace, hold it and then try and ‘empty your tank’ at the end in a fast finish. It might help to think of the time it will take to cover the distance and then think of how fast you can go for that amount of time.
Thanks Victoria, and good luck in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. We'll be watching!