ULTRA-MARATHON runner Natasha Fraser is set to run in the streets of Italy at the world championships in October.
Fraser said the chance to represent Australia was greater than she had ever dreamed.
The 24-year-old claimed her spot by taking out the Athletics Australia 50-kilometre road title, which doubled as the Canberra ultra-marathon at the weekend.
She returned home to Ballarat with a trophy, national gold medal and a spot in Italy.
“I’m still in shock,” Fraser said.
“I never even dreamed one day I could represent Australia.
“(Pre-race) I was thinking maybe in a couple of years I might be able to win this race, when I’m stronger – most competitors are at their peak in their 30s – not me this year when I’m 24.”
Fraser has taken up ultra-marathon running within the past two years.
She says running with Steve Moneghetti’s stable on Sunday mornings keeps her competitive, trying to chase down her training partners.
Fraser juggles training with jobs at McCain Foods, SportzBiz and Body and Soul gym, which she says helps with cross-training and core conditioning.
Endurance sport appealed to Fraser, who worked hard to rid herself of niggling injuries and show she could persist with her running discipline.
The result was a 17-personal best in Canberra.
Fraser crossed the line in three hours, 41 minutes, 35 seconds.
“I haven’t got much in the way of speed. If a course is tough, I tend to shine a bit more because I can take a bit more pain,” Fraser said.
“Canberra is a very hilly course, very undulating.”
The Canberra ultra-marathon was part of the capital’s running festival and run simultaneously with the marathon.
So when Fraser crossed the marathon finish line, most competitors about her started celebrating and she said it was funny, in a way, that she had to dig deep and keep running for another 7.8km.
Fraser completed a light jog in Ballarat last night as part of her recovery.
She will take a couple of weeks to ease back into full training and from there, her complete focus is on Italy.
Running unknown roads in a foreign country is an exciting prospect for Fraser, who has never been overseas.
For now, she is enjoying post-race glory and the honour of being an Australian champion.