A passionate swimmer all her life, Atlanta Day never had running on her radar until she decided to enter a school cross-country competition.
Now, the 10-year-old is on her way to compete at the National Titles in Canberra.
Atlanta’s competition journey started when she placed first in her age group at this year’s St Marys Catholic Primary School cross-country event.
“This led to being eligible to compete in the try outs for the Bundaberg team,” Atlanta said.
“I placed first at this event and was super excited to hear that I had earnt a day off school to attend the district carnival in Hervey Bay.”
At this carnival, Atlanta placed second behind her new friend and running buddy, Starla.
“We were both selected for the Wide Bay team to compete at the State Cross Country championships on 15 July,” she said.
After this selection, Atlanta officially commenced training with the Next Jenneration Coaching Squad.
The squad is led by local athlete Rebecca Jenner and supports young athletes to qualify for state and national teams.
“On the last day of training, I thanked my running coach Bec Jenner for coaching me for the State tiles as I wasn’t expecting to return the following week,” Atlanta said.
During the State Championships, Atlanta joked with her Mum and Dad about making it to the Canberra nationals.
“They all laughed it off thinking I had no chance,” she said.
“Some of the words being thrown around were, ‘Atlanta’s a swimmer just having a run, good luck, try your best and have fun’.
“When I crossed the line in sixth place, I was shocked to realise I had made the cut off for the Queensland team to compete at Nationals in Canberra.”
Currently Atlanta is training two days a week with the Next Jenneration Coaching Squad and continues her swimming coaching as well.
For fun she runs with the Elliott Heads Surf Club or with her family at the Saturday morning Parkrun.
“I love sport so much,” Atlanta said.
“I have grown up watching my brother compete across a variety of sports from swimming, surf lifesaving to triathlons.”
Atlanta’s parents have also participated in various sports, encouraging her to be involved in sport, make new friends and have fun.
Atlanta will compete at the National Cross Country Championships in Canberra on Saturday 26 August.