Stawell's Gift to Courtney Hill

16 Apr 2015

I (202)

Queensland fire quick Courtney Hill has traded in her cricket spikes for running spikes this off-season, living out a childhood dream by taking part in Australia's premiere handicap sprint, the Stawell Gift.

Courtney had been on the track for just over a month when, with some encouragement from her athletics coach, she decided to fly down to Stawell over the Easter Weekend and sign up for the 120m heats.

The 28-year-old was tackling her first real competitive race, after joining her local surf life saving club at the track 18 months ago, as away to help supplement her cricket training.

"I hadn't done a whole lot of racing before and didn't have many times to submit, so given my handicap and my preparation, what was there to lose?" she said.

"I've watched it on TV every year and it's such an iconic event, so it was definitely on the bucket list. My coach encourages me to race whenever I can and given it was Easter and I was due for a holiday, it worked out well!"

She managed to finish fifth in her heat with 14.284, a time that didn't see her go through to the next stage but one she was very proud of.

"It was thrill just to say I was a part of the Stawell Gift. I'll definitely return in 2016. I absolutely loved it," she said.

"I'll continue to train over the winter so I'm well prepared for both the cricket and the track seasons over the summer."

Reflecting on season 2014/15 on the cricket field, she was satisfied with how things panned out.

"I had lots of fun this season. We didn't finish as well as we would have liked, being knocked out in run rate in the T20, before falling apart in that major WNCL semi-final, but given the two or three seasons prior to this one I think I've overcome a few mental barriers. Athletics or track will always come second to cricket, " she said.