Ipswich teacher keeps running through barriers
HIGHLY successful runner Clay Dawson welcomes some wise advice after achieving another marathon milestone preparing for Ipswich's fast-approaching Park2Park event.
Dawson, 35, clocked a personal best time of two hours 26.54 minutes to win the Australian and Queensland Masters titles double for the first time on the recent 42.195km Gold Coast Marathon course.
Those who train with, know and who follow Dawson would be hardly surprised to see the popular Rosewood State High school teacher setting new standards.
However, most pleasing for Dawson at his second Gold Coast Marathon was the confidence his well-regarded coach Peter Reeves showed in him before the race.
"I was blown away,'' Karalee-based Dawson said of his recent performance.
"I've been working with Peter Reeves . . . and he's been sort of a mentor coach this year.
"All our training was leading up to trying to set a sub 2:30 (two hours, 30 minutes), just getting that monkey off the back.
"He (Reeves) said the Thursday before the race - the last time I saw him before the race: 'I reckon you are in 2:27 territory'.
"I had that in the back of my mind when I was running. It kind of worked out really fortuitously.''
In addition to his masters success, Dawson was the third Queenslander overall to finish.
The modest achiever said the ideal running conditions assisted him with his super time.
However, another factor in his run made Dawson's achievement even more satisfying. His GPS watch that he runs with was giving him an inaccurate pace.
"So I had no idea how fast or slow I was running,'' he said. "So I just kind of run to feel and I could roughly work out with mathematics once I got to halfway whether I was on target or not. And I hit halfway and I was two minutes under target.
"I thought I might actually give this 2:27 a show.''
As a marathon enthusiast, Dawson explained why breaking the 2:30 barrier was important.
"It's not Olympic standard or Commonwealth Games standard even. It's one of those benchmarks you are running,'' he said.
"You've got the three hour marathon for every man, which is kind of a goal, then the one that sort of steps separate for those who are slightly better I guess is that 2:30.''
His previous best was in the Brisbane Marathon at two hours, 30 minutes and 44 seconds.
Dawson was happy to heed the wisdom of Reeves before plotting his next major running goal.
"My coach's advice was basically to enjoy it because far too often we don't take the time to appreciate it when we get our goals,'' Dawson said.
"He said 'survive the next six weeks and then we'll sit down and work out what our next goal is'.''
Those six weeks feature a number of events Dawson has run before or is excited about.
They include a 20km run in Brisbane this weekend, the 10km event at the July 30 Park2Park in Ipswich, the Brisbane Marathon a week later and the Sunshine Coast Marathon after that.
Dawson has won or placed in the 10km Park2Park event every year since 2011.
Buoyed by his additional training and support from Reeves, Dawson also won the Ipswich One Mile Gift for the first time in May.
That was another remarkable effort in the handicap event on the sand track at the Ipswich Turf Club.
Dawson hopes to continue his fine form at the Brisbane Marathon, where he's also enjoyed a win and two seconds from three starts.
In the meantime, it's more regular training at Limestone Park with Reeves and other quality regional runners like Paul Shard and Andrew Willey.