ELLA Heeney admits she has tried almost every sport in the book, but it was running that got her vote as the one to pursue.
And the 18-year-old Mackillop College student has benefited from sticking with it after being selected in the Australian national school’s team to race in France next month.
A strong performance in Hobart at the national titles earlier in the year secured her a place on the plane to Paris.
Heeney will fly out on March 27 to represent Australia at the World School’s Cross Country Championships which will be her first trip out of the country.
“I’ve never been overseas before so I can’t wait,” the teenager said.
“I was over the moon when I was selected because it’s just another step up and another level I haven’t raced in yet.
“I got first reserve (in Tasmania) and got the call up.”
The team will fly straight to London for a week-long training camp before Heeney races in the individual 5000-kilometre event on April 4.
I was over the moon when I was selected because it’s just another step up and another level I haven’t raced in yet.Ella Heeney
“I’ve never been to a full-on training camp before either, so this will be an experience especially over there and being able to see part of the world will be pretty cool,” she said.
Heeney said there was some trepidation about travelling to other side of the world by herself, but it was one she was also excited about.
“I’m so nervous because it’s going to be crazy, but it’ll be a good experience too,” she said.
“I’ve played pretty much every sport, but when I hit about 12 and 13 I decided to stick to running and give it a real crack.”
She will, however, head to the other side of the world without her parents and family.
“This is the highest level I’ve gone for sure and it’s my first major race without my mum there so it’s going to be interesting,” she said.
“Mum usually goes to every single race, but the rest of the family usually stay at home so she had some trouble with letting me go by myself, but it’s going to be a good experience.”
The cross country star has had to overcome some challenges and also had parts of her body put back together after years of wear and tear.
“I came back from some pretty bad injuries like stress fractures,” she said.
“It’s from everything because I had lots going on with my right side, but it all came from the left glute so it’s crazy how connected everything is.
I came back from some pretty bad injuries like stress fractures.Ella Heeney
“You’ve got to work something to fix the other side.”
The teenager didn’t want to set the bar too high when asked about what result she would be satisfied with.
“I have no idea what to expect at the moment and don’t even know how many are in the race, so I’ll just go out there and give it a crack,” she said.
Heeney will prepare for the Paris adventure with an appearance at the Australian Junior Athletics Titles next weekend.
“I’ll do the 1500 there which will be interesting because I’m not training for the speed stuff at the moment,” she said.
“I’ll have a hit out before Paris and see how it goes.”