WITH 100 metres to go in the 1600m final on Maryborough Gift day, Glenn McMillan knew he’d done enough to seal the biggest win of his running career.
The 25-year-old, 18 months after starting running, had won at his home track, and taken another step in his promising career.
Now an Echuca resident and working as a teacher in Gunbower, McMillan said with a 20-metre lead he felt comfortable with a little celebration — one that didn’t escape the eye of officials.
‘‘I was celebrating, but I was exhausted, and overcome by the feeling of relief and the lactic acid,’’ he said.
‘‘It was like an out of body experience. I didn’t really expect much and I was just sort of hoping to finish top six.
‘‘I’d been visualising it for 15 months of professional running, and it was just fantastic, that feeling of crossing the line.
‘‘There was a lot of emotion for me, in that last 100 metres when I knew I was going to win — there were a couple of tears and it was great to share the moment with everyone.’’
Starting off a handicap of 170m, McMillan felt strong throughout the race and picked runners off one by one to sit third with a lap to go.
‘‘I upped the ante, and I caught the leader with 200 metres to go. I sat with him around the bend when he tried to kick, but when his kick was over I just went over the top of him,’’ he said.
McMillan grew up in Maryborough and lived there until he was 23. He said winning an event he’d grown up watching was particularly meaningful.
And his journey to professional running is particularly interesting — McMillan took up running in July 2016 simply to lose weight, but has made more out of it than first expected.
‘‘I started running when I weighed 100kg and it was just to lose weight,’’ he said.
‘‘My coach Paul Ford took me through a few sessions and said I had a bit of speed.
‘‘I’ve absolutely loved it, outside of work it’s great to have this huge thing to focus and set your own goals for.
‘‘I’ve really loved being able to better myself and I look forward to the next stage. I love running and I’m training five days a week.’’
Now down at 80kg, McMillan’s goal for the rest of the season is to hit the Stawell Gift in top form, where he will tackle the same distance.
And now an Echuca resident, he said he loved his new town.
‘‘Running on Scenic Drive around Victoria Park, and on the banks of the Murray and Campaspe Rivers — nothing beats it,’’ he said.
‘‘My favourite thing to do is just say hi to people when I’m running by; in some places no one says it back but here everyone is so friendly.’’