Wheelchair track star Sam Rizzo has a plan when he approaches the starting line of Run for a Cause.
Don’t go too hard too early.
Over the past few years Rizzo has become a bit of an expert at fun runs, but he still remembers the mistake he made at one of his first Ballarat events, what was then known as Run Ballarat.
He was competing with his coach Richard Colman.
“I went out pretty hard at the start and blew up half way through the race,” Rizzo said. “I tried to plan it a bit smarter last year and managed to get the win. But we will see how we can go this year.”
This time Rizzo will be without his coach Colman, who is participating in Run for Geelong’s Kids, which will be held on the same day.
But he said he had a few other athletes from his squad willing to join him and give the community run a shot.
Rizzo said the 10km course was the perfect condition for a wheelchair athlete, starting at Victoria Park and also covering Lake Wendouree.
“It’s a nice, long flat course,” Rizzo said.
“We do a few longer things during the week, just to build up endurance on track because it does help. I actually train here at Vic Park, and I’ve trained at Lake Wendouree throughout the winter, so I should be used to it.”
Along with participating in the Ballarat events, Rizzo has previously won the wheelchair categories in both the City2Surf event in Sydney and the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.
“Run Ballarat has been going for a few years, and we’ve always pushed with it,” Rizzo said. “Now that it has been taken over with Run for a Cause, we thought we would try to give this one a shot as well. The spot was taken up pretty quick so it shows they are keen to continue the cause and also to have so many great causes that they are promoting.”
Rizzo said participating in the community runs was a completely different experience compared to his usual T54 category track events.
The Buninyong teenager is now working towards his summer season, where he will compete in Summer Down Under to try and qualify for next year’s events.
Run for a Cause takes place on Sunday, November 18.