Ipswich athlete Jude Thomas leads the pack on his way to smashing a state under-20 record in the Queensland 3km open championships race.
WHEN you break two 40 year records just weeks apart, you have every right to savour both.
However, Ipswich’s unstoppable athlete Jude Thomas was most delighted with his latest achievement ― a massive personal best and World Junior qualifying run.
Thomas continued his exceptional progress by breaking a 42-year-old state under-20 record at Saturday night’s Queensland 3km championships.
Competing in the open event at Runaway Bay, Thomas ran 8:00:07, finishing second and bettering his previous best by 19 seconds.
That came after he broke the state under-20 1500 record on January 23. That record had stood since 1980.
Heading to USQ Ipswich for orientation this morning, the Karalee sensation was thrilled with his record-breaking double.
However, he said Saturday night’s success meant the most, smashing the record (8:13:6) set by Jock Given in 1978.
“I definitely feel like I got more out of the 3km,” Thomas said.
“I felt I ran a pretty good race.
“I didn’t win . . . but I still ran tactically really well and I ran pretty hard from the start so I’m happy with that.”
Jude Thomas sets a fast pace in the Queensland 3km championships race.
After Thomas decided to set the pace for seven laps, the more experienced Callum Davies found the lead and held on to win in 7:59:51.
However, Thomas was pleased to have taken the initiative on his way to becoming the second fastest all-time under-20 3km runner in Australia.
“I was looking to go a fast run the other night because I knew the field was strong,” the former St Edmund’s College student said.
“A couple of the big names dropped out or just couldn’t make it so I decided to set the pace myself and see how it goes leading a fast race for the first time, and it went all right.”
The humble athlete learnt from watching Davies take over and secure victory late in the race.
“He’s a bit stronger than me at the moment,” said Thomas, who turns 19 in March.
“He has come off a pretty good off-season and he’s been training pretty hard.
“It came down to experience as well because he (Davies) has been in a lot of elite races.”
The Ipswich and District Athletic Club runner’s previous best 3km time of 8:19 was at the same state 3km championships a year earlier.
His latest time would earn him a spot on an Australian team competing at the World Junior titles, should that competition be staged in the foreseeable future.
Thomas’ earlier under-20 1500m record was an incredible 3:42.95 (electronic) feat.
Former elite runner Michael Hilliard had set the under-20 record of 3:43.4 (hand timed) four decades earlier at Queensland’s athletic headquarters.
After that achievement, coach Peter Reeves tipped Thomas would break the 3km record as well.
The NANCI Running Squad talent did in true professional style.
“He is absolute elite,” Reeves said before the 3km championships.
“I just can’t believe how much he is improving.
“His training, what I would say, well within himself.
“He’s not smashing himself. He’s very, very good at what he’s doing and he’s just improving in staggering amounts.”
Having switched from QUT to USQ Ipswich campus to be closer to home, the Sport and Exercise Science student was undecided about what to contest at the upcoming state titles.
However, he would like to go under one minute 50 at a future 800m event.
Given his record-breaking form, Thomas is on target to achieve that as well.