Sarah Schiffman selected to run for Australia at IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Sarah Schiffmann was presented with a cheque for $500 from the volunteers at the Gloucester Community Shop. Photo Anne Keen
Sarah Schiffmann was presented with a cheque for $500 from the volunteers at the Gloucester Community Shop. Photo Anne Keen

SARAH Schiffman loves to run.

And she she's also good at it.

So good, in fact, that she is the second youngest person ever to be selected in the Australian cross country team.

At just 15-years-old, Sarah is set to fly to Denmark this month to compete in the under 20s IAAF World Cross Country Championships as part of the Athletics Australia team. 

She was selected after winning the six kilometre race by 15 seconds at the competition's trials held on Sunday January 27 in Canberra. 

"I'm really excited," Sarah said. "I'm so young, I didn't think I'd get picked."

According to Sarah, winning at the trials doesn't automatically guarantee selection, and as she is at the younger end of the scale, it's a pretty big deal to be picked.

"I was the first one selected," she smiled.

Sarah isn't new to the sport, having starting running in primary school, making it to nationals for the first time while in year five. 

"It wasn't until two years ago, when I met my coach that my results started to improve," Sarah explained.

Living in Booral, it can be difficult to get access to coaching, however, Sarah gets her training from her Sydney coach, Guy Creber remotely, diligently following the training regime he provides her with.

"I usually train six days a week," Sarah explained.

"I do all my training alone at the athletics track in Gloucester or on the gravel road at home." 

Sarah has chalked up a list of cross country achievements. Last year alone she won gold in the under 16s national cross country championships, the Athletics Australia under 16s 3000m and the National All Schools 1500m, as well as bronze in the National All Schools 3000m.

Heading to Aarhus, Denmark on March 25, Sarah will not only be representing Australia for the first time, but it's her first time travelling overseas.

"I'm nervous," Sarah said about both the travel and the race. "Very nervous."

But her nerves are laced with excitement.

"I'm looking forward to the experience," she added.

In order to take part in the competition, Sarah needs to cover some of the costs, which meant she sent out letters to community groups and businesses asking for financial support. 

On Thursday February 28, the Gloucester Community Shop presented Sarah with a donation of $500 to help toward her $3000 goal.

She has already received funds from the Bulahdelah Show Society and the Macquarie Hunter Athletics Club.