State champion sprinter Katie Smee VN of Warners Bay Vet in NSW has her eye on the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“The 100-metre and 200-metre sprint have been my specialty since I was a child. I trained and competed until I was 18 years old but gave it all up when I undertook my vet nursing studies. Then the Commonwealth Games of 2018 happened. I was watching runners that I used to compete against, and it reignited a spark in me. I started training again but it was a really tough journey to get back to the level of fitness I needed to seriously compete.
“When I was younger, I made it to the state championships most years I competed. In 2014 and 2015, I went to the Australian national championships, and won silver and bronze medals for both years. In 2020, after my return to the sport, I won state champion in the 200 metres. After all that hard work, winning the gold was very rewarding.
“The past 12 months have been pretty rough. I’ve been dealing with medical issues, and I’ve been very injury-prone. I’ve got a lot of work to do for the next season, but I feel confident that I’ll get some good results.
“In the past, I’ve tended to think it was silly to shoot for the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics. However, my whole mindset has changed. Why not go for it? All it’s going to do is improve my personal bests. In fact, last year, I ran a PB .01 of a second faster for the 100-metre sprint. I hadn’t broken my PB for six years. I’m training in a new gym called Urban Base Fitness and have made massive progress. I’ve also got a nutritionist, Nutter by Nature, and a great team around me. After all, I’ll only be 27 for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
“I’ve recently completed my foundation coaching course with the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association. I’ve made the decision to organise my own training while continuing to develop my knowledge and ability. I’m also training some fantastic young athletes and I’m really excited to see what they can achieve in upcoming years.
“There’s a lot I love about sprinting. You get to challenge and critique yourself while being out in the sun and getting exercise in the fresh air. I love my job and I love what I do, but it’s important to have something beyond that, something that helps keep you physically and mentally healthy. For me, that’s sprinting.”