IT has been a hell of a year for Orange runner Mitch Williamson.
The experienced middle-distance athlete has had a couple of big wins in regional events, including the Bathurst 10km and the Cheetah Chase 10km event in Dubbo, as well as selection for the Australian team at the Oceania Athletics Championships.
He has had his share of knocks too, the biggest of which was a groin injury that prevented him from going to Tahiti to represent his country.
Both the good and the bad will be forgotten tomorrow morning when he lines up at the start of the 7.5km Edgell Jog where he will be looking to go one better than last year’s runner-up finish.
By his own admission Williamson (pictured) isn’t a long-distance runner, and he has focused almost exclusively on events around the 10km mark in recent years.
He came within one minute and 21 seconds of last year’s Edgell Jog winner Philo Saunders.
“I’m mates with a few runners from Canberra where Philo is from and as far as I know he will be coming back again this year,” Williamson said.
“I really don’t know whether I can win or not, a lot of that depends on who turns up but I do believe I can go faster than last year.
“To be honest I think if Philo runs and is at his best, I don’t think I can match him but I am going to try.”
Williamson’s preparation has been hampered as he tried to return to full fitness after his injury but results-wise it hasn’t hurt him yet and he couldn’t have been happier with his Dubbo performance.
The difference in the courses, though, means that he will have to change his approach to the Bathurst run.
“I came back as quick as I could after getting hurt and have gone pretty hard,” Williamson said. “I did a five kilometre race in Mudgee and probably trained too hard for it and felt a bit flat, though I did win it.
“In Dubbo last week, it was a bit of a rhythm run because it was fairly flat and I had had a lighter preparation. I felt like I ran well. But the Edgell Jog is completely different with the hills.
“You do have to run in surges, it takes a big effort getting up Esrom Street though you do have the luxury of being able to conserve a little bit on the downhills.”
Williamson naturally would love to win tomorrow’s race but did add a footnote to that, an understandable one for somebody who has been picked to run for his country.
“It would be just awesome to win, I’m relatively local being from Orange and I work in Bathurst so I know how big this race is,” he said.
“But you want to be able to say you beat the best. It would be a bit of a let-down if we didn’t get some top-level guys here. You’d always prefer to win a race like that if you know there are some really elite runners that you’re up against.”