Ipswich coach's amazing commitment
GIVEN the incredible contribution Vic Pascoe makes to regional athletics, he appreciates all the help he receives.
Apart from being the first person to encourage and recognise his many club competitors, Pascoe regularly praises the loyal band of coaches who dedicate so much time to training.
But when it comes to leading the way, Ipswich's 2011 Citizen of the Year Pascoe is still a proverbial frontrunner.
As many athletes and coaches prepare for a Christmas break, Pascoe continues to work with those keen to get some additional training in before next year's state and national championships.
Athletes like newcomer Ben Thomas, club regular Caleb Law and seasoned runner Liz Melrose have been doing sprint and hurdling work on the tartan runway and the top oval at Limestone Park.
Lanes at Bill Paterson Oval are currently closed due to recent top dressing at the grass track.
About 30 Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors are expected to contest the 2017 Queensland track and field championships at QSAC Stadium at Nathan.
"It's only seven weeks away now,'' Pascoe said, already counting down the days to the February 23-26 titles where Ipswich regional athletes regularly impress.
Ipswich born and bred Pascoe said the recent upgrade work at Bill Paterson Oval was most welcome.
"It's looking good and that rain the other day helped it a lot,'' Pascoe said.
The oval will be closed until the new year to allow the top dressing to settle.
That Ipswich City Council improvement followed installation of new lights at the well-used sporting venue.
However, Pascoe is keen to secure a grant to acquire a hammer and discus cage for club and regional school use.
Ipswich has Australia's number one ranked under-18 hammer thrower Rochelle Vidler working with supportive coach Mick Moore.
Vidler's rise has been staggering as she doesn't turn 16 until next year.
A new cage would enhance the pair's ability to continue Vidler's progress through to future Commonwealth Games and possible Olympic selection.
Another club achiever this year was focused athlete Claire Keefer, who won a bronze medal in F41 shotput at the Rio Paralympics. She threw a personal best 8.16m.
Keefer regularly travels from the bottom of the Toowoomba range to train with the Ipswich club.
Vidler and Keefer train together, helping each other in their international pursuits.
Former national sprinter and highly respected coach Pascoe rates the efforts of Vidler and Keefer among the highlights of the season so far.
He was also pleased to see regional cousins Nicholas Grant and Larissa Chambers win their respective Ipswich Lightning Handicap and Ipswich Ladies Gift handicap finals at the Ipswich Winter Carnival in August.
It was a rare feat for Redbank Plains-based Grant and Bellbird Park sprinter Chambers to finish first ahead of visiting athletes at the city's major athletics carnival, which is rich in tradition.
Pascoe was also delighted to see the Ipswich One Mile Gift, Open 300m Gift and Junior Gift foot races attract a strong following at the Ipswich Turf Club in May.
The prestigious $5000 Ipswich One Mile Gift, another handicap event, has been run for a decade.
Forest Lake runner Caleb Sadler won this year's major race on the character-testing sand track.
The foot race is following in the footsteps of the Ipswich Winter Carnival, which has been staged for 27 years at Bill Paterson Oval - the past two years as a twilight meet.
As some athletes continue training to stay fit, others are taking a break.
Pascoe expects to see everyone back at the club from January 4, completing preparations for the state championships.