Rheed McCracken back on the track in Bundaberg after the Rio Olympics.
Rheed McCracken back on the track in Bundaberg after the Rio Olympics. Mike Knott BUN240916ATHLETICS13

CRACKEN START TO THE YEAR: Rheed beats his own Oceania record

ATHLETICS: When Rheed McCracken wanted a great start to the year, he didn't expect it would include a record-breaking run in Canberra.

Competing in his first meeting for the year at the Summer Down Under, the 20-year-old broke his own Oceania record he set during last year's Rio Paralympics.

He set a time of 15.29s in the 100m in the T34 class, 0.05s faster than the time that got him silver at the Games.

"It was the start we were hoping for to the year," McCracken said.

"We were not sure if we were going to get it but the time certainly surprised myself and coach Andrew Dawes."

The good news didn't end there.

His times in the 100m and 400m gave him A qualifying times for this year's IPC World Championships in London.

While they don't automatically qualify him for the event, the times puts McCracken in a strong position to compete at the championships for the third time in his career.

"The times definitely gives us extra confidence," he said.

"We are where we need to be right now.

"The goal for my 100m is to now get the times to a low 15 seconds."

And McCracken feels he can do that.

"I hope so," he said.

"I feel like I've done what I can to get there and I know that time is what it will take to win in London."

This year McCracken enters his seventh year of wheelchair racing.

Despite winning medals at the Paralympics and having records to his name, the athlete wants more.

"The drive is still there and I still continue to have the same feelings as I felt when I competed at my first Paralympics in London," he said.

"I want to win gold at the Paralmypics in Tokyo."

For now though the focus is on this week.

After competing last night in the second leg of the Summer Down Under series in Blacktown, McCracken turns his attention to the Oz Day 10km event around the streets of Sydney.

He wants to do better in this year's Australia Day race after finishing fifth in last year's event.

"Getting in the top five and higher is the ultimate goal," he said.

"It will all come down to fitness and how I'm feeling on the day."

McCracken said the race was getting bigger each year as it is shown live around the nation on Sky News on Foxtel.

"It's a fun race and people get right behind it," he said.

"It will be my first 10k since the Ring Road Run so I'm looking forward to it."

McCracken will race in the event tomorrow at 8am local time.



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