Sarah Schiffman smashes two Gloucester High School athletics records

Ahead of the pack: It didn't take Sarah Schiffman long to pull out in front of the rest of the group during the 1500m race at the athletics carnival. Photo: Anne Keen

Ahead of the pack: It didn't take Sarah Schiffman long to pull out in front of the rest of the group during the 1500m race at the athletics carnival. Photo: Anne Keen

It's been 15 years since Gloucester High School held the long distance track events at its annual athletics carnival, mainly due to time restraints, but this year it was full steam ahead.

GHS teacher Adam Cameron decided to run the 800 metre and 1500 metre events for the first time since 2004, and he's sure glad he did, as Sarah Schiffman shattered both of the school's records.

Long distance is definitely her forté, having already racked up a long list of cross country achievements, including being chosen for the Athletics Australia team to compete in the under 20s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.

The competition was held in Denmark and the 15 year old was up against 110 runners.

"I got really, really nervous," Sarah said. "It makes you feel like you're already beaten."

But she did it, and she finished 42nd; not bad for one of the youngest runners Australia has taken to the competition.

On Wednesday May 8, she took part in a few short races at the Gloucester High School athletics carnival alongside her fellow classmates.

In the morning, she competed in the 800 metre race, smashing the school's existing record. She finished in 2.21.56 shaving over 30 seconds off D Holstein's senior girls 1986 record of 2.57.26.

At lunch time, she ran the 1500 metre race, along with 15 other competitors across all age groups. She finished with a time of 4.53.28, once again smashing a school record, but this time by almost a full minute. A Smith held a record time of 5.42.00 in 1987.

For Sarah, it was a bit slow, knowing her personal best is 4.24.00.

"It's a grass track and it's a bit uneven," Sarah said. "A synthetic track makes a difference."

As does the pressure of competing against other runners all vying for a world cross country title.

"It's different running on your own," she said.

But overall she's quite happy she got to compete, as the events weren't held at the carnival last year. Knowing she could run, made her smile.

For the others in the race, many gave it a red hot go, some having very little idea of how long 1500 metre actually was.