JARED Tallent admitted to a touch of nerves ahead of yesterday’s Australian 20km Race Walking Championship race in Hobart.
But that didn’t prevent the three-time Olympic medallist from winning his sixth consecutive national title.
Tallent completed the 20km course in a time of one hour, 22 minutes and 10 seconds, winning by just 17 seconds from Queenslander Dane Bird-Smith (1:22:27), with Luke Adams third (1:23:48).
He said before the race that he wondered what impact an extended break from competition might have on his performance.
“I was more nervous than normal,” Tallent admitted yesterday. “Training has been going well but having a lot of time off after London with a hamstring injury, I did not know what to expect.
“It was my first race for a while, since September actually. It’s my longest break I can remember for a while, but training pointed to a good time.”
Tallent’s personal best on the course is 1:19:15. He said the winning time from yesterday was good, given the conditions and race tactics.
“It was windy and the conditions were pretty tough,” he said.
“It was a more tactical race, and slower right from the start. So we were behind on times from the very beginning.”
Tallent said his sixth 20km national title victory was at least as satisfying as any of the others.
“They get better as they go along,” he said.
Despite scoring yet another victory at the distance, Tallent said he would still focus his energy on the 50km walk at the world championships in Moscow in August.
“In Moscow there are only two and a half days between the (20km and 50km) races. The 50km is always my better chance to win a medal and, with the timing of the events, it is impossible to do both,” he said.
Originally from Newlyn, Tallent had based himself in Canberra but has since shifted to Adelaide with wife Claire, who is now his coach.
Tallent will fly out of Australia on Wednesday to compete in China at the IAAF World Race Walking Challenge in Shanghai on Friday.