Nervous battle in the lead-up to big race

TO say that Cassie Hopkins is suffering from nerves heading into this Saturday’s Queanbeyan Women’s Gift is something of an understatement.

 “I’m just worried about whether I’ll fall over during the race or die or something like that,” Cassie told The Queanbeyan Age in the lead-up to tomorrow’s race.

This year will mark Cassie’s first time competing in Australia’s richest women’s footrace where she will be one of just three 14-year-olds to take to the starting line.

One of the region’s most talented junior middle distance runners, Cassie is a multiple ACT state and NSW All Schools representative and Queanbeyan Little Athletics record holder.

But despite her previous experience on the national stage, the teenager said it was always a struggle to get the better of her nerves at any level of competition.

“I get nervous even before [Queanbeyan] club races,” she said. “Even when it’s not a big deal and just for fun, I still get really nervous about it and I don’t know why.

“Once the gun goes off though, the nerves are gone and you’ve just got to do what you need to do to win and hopefully it all goes well from there.”

Cassie said she had been inspired to enter this year’s event after the efforts of fellow Queanbeyan Little A’s club member and Gift semi-finalist Kayla Sadler in 2011. 

“I saw last year how well Kayla went and it got me exited to think maybe I could go in it as well and do ok.”

As well as the Women’s Gift, Cassie will also line up as the backmarker (4.5m) in the Little Athletics Senior Girls Gift where she’ll come up against her three sisters Karina, Courtney and Emily.

Cassie’s brother Thomas meanwhile, will be attempting to take out the Little Athletics Senior Boys Gift ensuring the Hopkins family will be well represented over the course of tomorrow’s race-day program.

Saturday’s other junior events will include the Mini Girl’s and Boy’s handicaps (finals from 3.25pm) and the Junior Girl’s and Boy’s handicaps (finals from 3.50pm). 

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