Gemma Maini gains selection for IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March 2017

Gemma Maini Gains selection

It was a feeling of pure elation as I crossed the line in third place and broke down in tears. This third place automatically earning me a position to represent Australia in the World Cross Country Championships to be held in Uganda on March 26th, a goal Iโ€™d had since I competed at the same event in 2015 and a goal that had been in jeopardy only months before.

I finished the 2016 Australian Cross Country season on a high, finished second at the Australian National Championships and was feeling excited about the trials to be held 5 months later on the same course. Alas only a week later I was faced with a huge obstacle as I was diagnosed with a sacral stress fracture. I wallowed in self-pity for the first week and then decided that rather than feeling defeated, I had to plan my come-back now, so turned the negativity into motivation to complete the dreaded cross training and time consuming strengthening exercises.

Fast forward a few weeks, I was lacing up my shoes for the real comeback and remembered quickly that running isnโ€™t easy but with the big day quickly approaching, it was easy to push through the discomfort. Every session hurt more I remembered but it was a pain I was relishing in after the pain of being side-lined and knowing that with each session and run, I was one step closer.

12 weeks later I was lining up on the day Iโ€™d been keenly awaiting and was confident that I had done everything I could to be ready for the day. For anyone who has trained or raced at Stromlo will know how challenging the course is and on a hot day, I would be lying if I said the race was easy. It was a classy field of athletes on the start line, and in a cross country race, anything can happen. All the sessions Iโ€™d suffered through felt like a dress rehearsal for this big day so when it started hurting, I gritted my teeth and kept pushing and pushing until I crossed that finish line.

Gemma’s favourite socks to wear are the Aspire four and Aspire two.

You can follow her journey on instagram.