Blue Mountains runners Marnie Ponton and Jackson Sharp raced against the world's best in Aarhus, Denmark, proudly wearing the green and gold for Australia at the World Cross Country Championships on March 30.
Competing in the under 20s men, Sharp finished 36th on the 8km course in 26 minutes 33 seconds.
"The course was challenging, but not a complete struggle; somewhat enjoyable," Sharp, from Wentworth Falls, said.
"There was almost no flat ground to gain momentum and rhythm, which evidently broke a lot of runners. So while 36th isn't as high a place as I was hoping for, I'm still pleased with the placing and that it contributed to a top 10 team finish," Sharp said.
Competing in the Australian women's senior team, Ponton was 44th on the 10km course in 39:43, 3min 30sec behind winner, Hellen Obiri, from Kenya.
The Glenbrook runner was pleased with her result, and also the Australian women's team fifth placing.
"The course was tough, only ups or downs, no flat, and on uneven grass, with a 2km loop of 75 metres elevation. Each loop had a water pit, a mud pit and finally a sand pit. It was a proper grind which I really enjoyed," Ponton said.
"Having the opportunity to compete in a world championships was exiting. It has provided me with further motivation to keep training hard and work toward achieving my goals in the marathon."
She's now in training for the Christchurch Marathon in June, hoping to complete the course in 2 hours 35 minutes or less.
Sharp is focused on a 10km road debut at the Sydney 10 on May 4.