The Limestone Coast is littered with up-and-coming track and field stars and one of the latest to arrive on the scene is Josh Cameron.
The 14-year-old only started taking running seriously around 12 months ago and in that short space of time he has risen from the local Little Athletics scene to the national stage.
In March, Cameron represented South Australia at the Australian Little Athletics Championships in Melbourne and recorded a top-10 finish in the 800 metre event.
Then last month he found himself wearing state colours in a completely different event – the Australian Cross Country Championships.
But according to Cameron, the highlight occurred at the start of the month when he raced alongside Australian long-distance runner Riley Cox and Naracoorte born Australian Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jess Stenson.
In front of some running royalty, the youngster stole the show by winning the 5km Road State Championships Under 14’s race with a personal best time, and Cameron said it rated at the top of his long list of achievements.
“I am probably most proud of the state 5km race not that long ago,” he said.
“I was very happy with the time which was a 17:97 and it felt pretty good.”
Cameron only introduced himself into the running world in 2020/21 having a crack at Mount Gambier Little Athletics.
But this only proved to be a brief stint completing half a season – and he did not hit top gear until the following season when he fell in love with running.
By 2021/22 Cameron was completely devoted to the activity, never missing a Little Athletics session and even started completing specialised training sessions with revered Mount Gambier running coach Sally Taylor.
Cameron said the personal challenge of pushing the boundaries just became “all encompassing”.
“I guess I just liked the challenge of it,” he said.
“I did play football and sort of still wanted to play, but I guess I just like running more.
“With Sally we sometimes do fast paced activities like 10 x 400m.
“She has given me lots of tips about my form.”
Since joining Taylor’s running group, Cameron has taken his expertise to a whole new level.
Not only has he been enjoying coaching from Taylor he has also been pushed by his running colleagues in the supportive environment.
Since then Cameron has enjoyed a stunning 2022.
It started at the Port Fairy Marathon where he won the Under 14 male 10km race before he smashed records at the St Martins Lutheran College sports day.
More records were slashed at the Lower South East District Sports Day where he won both the 800 and 1500 metre races.
These efforts paved the way for success at the State Individual Little Athletics Championships where he was crowned as the 800 metre state champion.
More victories followed at the Run the Gap 12km, 3km Little Athletics Cross Country, 3km Lower South East District Cross Country and 5km Tower Trail events, while he was also named as the Under 13 boys and senior male award winners at the conclusion of the Mount Gambier District Little Athletics season.
To be in a position to achieve all of this Cameron said he has adopted a rigorous training schedule.
“I train with Sally on Monday’s Wednesday’s and Thursday’s every week,” he said.
“I then go for runs on the road on the days when I do not have a session.
“On Tuesday’s it is normally a 30 minute jog and then on Sunday’s I go for a long run like 10 to 20km.
“I normally probably run around 40km each week.
“I try and drink a lot of water and eat healthy foods as well.”
In addition to the weekly sessions with Taylor Cameron has also been a regular face at Mount Gambier and Naracoorte Parkrun sessions every Saturday morning and currently holds the Under 14’s record.
Looking ahead Cameron has his sights set on the upcoming Mount Gambier District Little Athletics season where he looks forward to rejoining his mates as they have a crack at a variety of track and field events.
Anyone can have a go at replicating their Olympics and Commonwealth Games heroes when the season starts on Friday, October 14 at Mount Gambier High School.