She's come a long way: Marlie Campton, 12, of Binna Burra.
She's come a long way: Marlie Campton, 12, of Binna Burra. Jay Cronan

Marlie's big test

TWELVE-year-old Marlie Campton has come a long way.

And she intends to go even further.

Marlie is a long-distance runner – covering ground is what she does.

Today the girl from Binna Burra lines up for her biggest test yet – the Australian championships of cross-country.

The Bangalow Public School student won through to the nationals after landing the silver medal at the NSW championships last month, but the challenge in Brisbane today takes her to a whole new level.

Three kilometres through undulating bushland against 30 of the best junior distance runners from across Australia – young Campton certainly has her work cut out.

But as was alluded too, regardless of her result today Marlie has come a long way.

In 2008 she was a distant 48th at the State championships, and in 2009 she failed to advance past her regional meet.

Her mum, Janene, can’t say exactly where the improvement has come from, but just as her daugther has, mum has been putting inthe miles to make it all happen.

“We travel to the Gold Coast three days a week to train with Brian Chapman,” Janene Campton said this week.

“It’s a fair mission but it is all worthwhile in the end.”

A keen tennis player, Marlie has also given up on the racquet sport for now in order to concentrate on her running.

“It’s tough to give 100 per cent focus to too many different things, so maybe that has helped her kick on,” Janene Campton said.

A few weeks ago, at a zone athletics carnival, Marlie pulled out a day of performances that startled even her number one fan.

Marlie won the 800m, 200m and 100m – breaking the zone record in the 100m – to the disbelief of her mum.

“She’s a distance runner, so the 800, yeah, even the 200, but to break the record in the100 blew me away,” Janene Campton said.

“I was wondering ‘Where did that come from’.”

And while Marlie might be one to jot down in the little black book of future athletics stars, there is another rising from the Campton production line.

Nine-year-old Brianna finished fourth in her division at the State cross-country championships.

Only the rules – which stipulate that runners at nationals must be at least 10 years old – stopped her from making the trip to Brisbane with big sis.



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