Ipswich cross country athlete Glen Yarham will have to rebuild his international career after a sporting mishap.
Ipswich cross country athlete Glen Yarham will have to rebuild his international career after a sporting mishap. David Nielsen

Body blow to rising runner

FIVE minutes of fun has turned into a year of setbacks for Ipswich cross country runner Glen Yarham.

The 19-year old athlete has spent the past three months away from training after injuring ligaments in his knee during a light-hearted game of touch football in September.

While not requiring surgery, the injury has forced the 2010-11 QT City of Ipswich Senior Sportstar of the Year to take a three-month break from running.

That has massive implications.

"With running, if you have three months off, it takes you 12 months to get back to where you were," Yarham said.

"All the goals I had set for this summer have been blown out now."

Perhaps worse than the injury is the circumstances in which it occurred.

Yarham had spent most of his first year at university, where he studies human movement, avoiding practical work for fear of developing an injury prior to the national cross country titles.

After he returned from his successful trip to Canberra, Yarham decided to enjoy a game of touch football with his university class mates.

"I decided to play because I'd done months of hard work and I just wanted to have a bit of fun," he said.

"We get told all the time that once you get to a certain point, you have to live, breathe and do everything right for running.

"A five-minute lapse in that attitude has resulted in me ruining my entire summer season."

Prior to the injury, Yarham and coach Pat Clohessy had set their sights on a change of focus to the track.

Yarham said he had hoped to do enough to secure some sponsorship to help him get to America next year for some summer track competitions.

That plan has now been shelved.

"The injury has blown my chances of track this year," he said.

"We'll go back to square one.

"I'll do nine months of hard training till next year then have a go at track.

"It's really frustrating because it was something really simple that's taken a really long time to heal."

Yarham is set to have a follow-up MRI in coming weeks and return to training as soon as possible.

If he manages to get back into training, he will contest another season of cross country before refocusing his goals on the track events.

"Fingers crossed I can get over this injury in the next couple of months," he said.

"My long-term goals are Rio (de Janeiro) and the Commonwealth Games.

"We'll be aiming at the five kilometres and the steeplechase."

In the meantime, one thing is certain.

Touch football won't be part of his new training schedule.



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