Q&A with Grant and Ella

Exclusive tips for the upcoming RACT City to Casino fun run and walk.

With one week to go until the RACT City to Casino Fun Run and Walk, we sat down with Grant Page and Ella Atkins to find out how they are preparing for the race on 19 May.

Grant, an RACT Patrolman is a well-known athlete on the Tasmanian running scene. His favourite fun run is the City to Casino, and he has some impressive statistics to back it up. Grant has participated in every race since he was eight, except for in 2014 due to being sidelined with an injury. His personal best on the 11km course is 33minutes and 15 seconds although he modestly notes there was "a bit of a tailwind that year". He has stood on the podium 14 times including 11 wins. This year Grant is returning to running after another injury, but he still hopes to make the podium in the 11km event.

Ella the daughter of Zambrero’s General Manager Richard Atkins is a rising star who at a 13 is keen to make her mark.  She has just returned from the national championships where she placed second in the steeplechase event. Running the City to Casino for the third time and her first as a competitive runner, she is looking to beat a time of 26 minutes in the Zambrero 7km race putting her in contention for a place on the podium.

When and how did you start running?

G: I started running when I was six years old. My older sister took up Little Athletics and I was dragged along to compete as well. I certainly wasn’t a natural at it, but once I turned 10 and started running distance events, my natural ability became more apparent.

E: I started running when I was around the age of nine. I won a race in grade two and it really sparked my interest. 

Where is your favourite place to train and run in Tasmania?

G: I like a long training run along a coastal route and even enjoy running around my local eastern shore area. You’ve got Howrah and Bellerive beaches, with nice bluffs linking to two, plus nice paths around the water.

E: I enjoy running at the Domain and in sight of the beach or nice views.

Can you recommend any running groups for people to join?

G: There are lots of social and serious running groups around Hobart. There is a winter cross country season for anyone who wants to compete, whether serious or not. The four Park runs held on a Saturday mornings around Hobart are also a great way to enter the sport.

E: When I was developing into more of a competitive athlete, as I am now, I ran with Yvette Edwards. This is a small welcoming group that was at the Domain on Wednesday’s. I also recommend Little Athletics!

Do you have any tips for those who are starting in their first fun run?

G: For any first time runners, be realistic about your current fitness, form and ability. Starting off too hard in the event will cause you to blow up early and the event won’t be enjoyable at all. You can always finish harder over the last few kilometres if you’ve got plenty of fuel left in the tank.

E: Have fun and soak up the atmosphere. Look forward to the medal at the end that you can cherish forever!

What does pre and post-race nutrition look like for you?

G: I actually don’t put too much emphasis on pre-race diet, I’ve found there to be little benefit in carb loading. Instead, I make sure I eat something light that I know won't disagree with me during the race.

The morning of the event, I have just enough breakfast to take away any hunger pains, usually a couple of pieces of toast. I also make sure I’m hydrated.

Post-race is a completely different story. I'll usually meet up with my other running friends and pig out or sit back and have a beer or two with my coach and reflect on the race and plan the next event.

E: Eating a lot pre-race has always been a struggle for me because of nerves. Usually for breakfast I will have oats and depending on the time of the race maybe lunch or a protein bar of some type.

Post-race meals are the best! I enjoy pizza but I stick to a healthy diet the rest of the time. Nutrition is very important for me and I don't eat anything that is bad for my body.

Finally, can you tell us the best piece of running advice you've ever received?

G: A piece of advice that I give to other runners is that its takes a lot of time and patience to become a fit and fast distance runner. The quote is “passion, patience and persistence”. My coach always used to say to me before starting a race “don’t die wondering”. By that I guess he meant don’t leave anything on the table and give it your all.

E: The best advice I have received is “trust the process”. It is advice that I live by.

It's not too late to enter the City to Casio Fun Run and Walk RACT members also save 10% on their entry with the code RACTKK44.