Watching South African Wayde van Niekerk set a new world record in the men's 400m at the Rio Olympics inspired Ian Halpin to take up running again at age 23.
The Wentworth Falls raised athlete had been a strong cross country runner in his Wentworth Falls Public and Katoomba High school days. Now 25 and living at Leonay, Halpin's been coached by Mike Hurst for more than a year and he's seeing the results.
"It's been a pretty big journey," he said, noting he ran a PB of 46.39 seconds in the men's 400m at the state championships in Sydney in March.
Halpin and his three team-mates then went on to win the 400m men's relay in 3.03.67 at the Queensland Track Classic on March 23, qualifying them for the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Relays in Japan in May.
"I was pretty happy," Halpin said. "The team were awesome. Everyone pulled their weight."
The chef from Leura Garage, says he's excited to represent Australia, but runners from the US will be hard to beat.
"All their runners will be running 43 [seconds] - it will be tight to chase them down," Halpin said.
And on Sunday at the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney Halpin was part of the NSW men's 4x400m relay team which won gold. He was also seventh in the men's individual 400m final in 46.94.
"Having some extremely experienced runners in the race and being my first national final, I felt I threw my game plan off a bit. I found myself getting carried away running everyone else's race and didn't run my own and in my opinion it cost me a placing on the podium," Halpin said.
"Still I'm extremely happy in my success and the effort my coach [Mike Hurst] has put in for this season. I had awesome support from my friends and family who came down to cheer me on."
Next it's on to Arizona in the US for 12 days of high-performance training with Dan Pfaff, who's coached countless Olympians.