Matthew Rankin is staying on track, following a gruelling training program from home in the South Burnett. (Picture: Contributed)
Matthew Rankin is staying on track, following a gruelling training program from home in the South Burnett. (Picture: Contributed)

South Burnett runner escapes American virus epicentre

FORMER Nanango State High School student Matthew Rankin is back on home soil after flying back from New York where he was training as part of the Iona College track and field team.

Rankin has been back running on the trails in the South Burnett for eight weeks after managing to fly home when the coronavirus outbreak first hit New York.

Rankin said he was lucky to get out early as the situation worsened in the United States.

“Being situated in the same suburb as America’s epicentre outbreak and with the restrictions and the situation, it was simply not worth staying there,” Rankin said.

“Local food stores were closing and our coaches were legally not allowed to take us training and therefore we had to organise our own training.

“This is all before I left so I’m only assuming the restrictions were hardened from there on out.”

Despite having hundreds of cases in the district, Rankin’s school was still operating while others were all closed.

Rankin said it was pretty strange how everything was still carrying on at Iona College.

“Most schools around us were closed by the time our school announced our early spring break,” Rankin said.

“At first they were hoping to get us back on campus after spring break, but before we commenced the second half of the semester they made a decision to continue the rest of the semester online and were moving students out of on-campus housing.

“Once we got this update I had booked a flight out in the next three days, did the two weeks quarantine and have now been home for eight weeks.”

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Rankin is still following an intense training schedule that he said was sent to him by his coaches in New York.

“Since I have been back I have been sticking with the training programs to ideally build up into the cross country season starting in August,” Rankin said.

“At the moment I’m focusing on around 90-100 kilometres a week and then I will build up to 110 kilometres before cross country season in September.

“My week is composed of two workout sessions and on the other days, long easy runs ranging from 45-70 minutes at a light-moderate paced jog.”

Rankin said the biggest challenge has been trying to attend online classes with the different time zone, as one of his classes is at 11pm each week.

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