MELBOURNE-BOUND: Caleb Dalton, 13, and Ashley Kempson, 17, will run at the Australian Cross Country Championships in Melbourne on Saturday.
MELBOURNE-BOUND: Caleb Dalton, 13, and Ashley Kempson, 17, will run at the Australian Cross Country Championships in Melbourne on Saturday. Keagan Elder

Boys run with nation’s best in cross country competition

ASHLEY Kempson, 17, and Caleb Dalton, 13, will set foot in Melbourne for their first time and race against the country's top cross country runners.

Three years of competitive training and running have pushed Ashley nearer to his goal of competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.

With slicked back hair, he has done nearly everything he can to be in the most aerodynamic shape possible.

But Ashley said country runners were disadvantaged due to a lack of coaches and facilities.

"We have to train ourselves," he said.

"I've been given a training program, but I run the show."

This program had him train seven times a week in the cross country pre-season and six times in the season.

Ashley hopes all this training will allow him to finish his 6km track run in under 20 minutes.

Caleb has also put the hard yards in training as he sets out to tackle his 3km course.

He was hooked on the sport after he won his very first race comfortably by a minute or two.

Caleb said he let his mind guide him as he caught up with the runners in front of him.

"I try to catch the person in front of me, and I try to break their spirits by passing them," he said.

Caleb hopes to finish in less than 10 minutes.

"I want to become national champion or at least get a podium finish," he said.

South Burnett

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